Dear Editor,

I recently attended a surprise dinner for a close colleague who attained the status of what I fondly refer to as senior citizen first class (NIS pension at 60 is 2nd class). During the speeches it suddenly dawned on me that in a few months, God permit, I will be like him.

Upon reflection, I have been blessed by the Almighty in countless ways. This Bartica and West Berbice boy has been privileged to enjoy almost five decades of public service within the cooperative, private and public sectors of my beautiful country. And since I’m not about to start writing my memoirs as suggested by some, I will instead share a few rules that help me dance between the raindrops:

Some of Derrick Cummings’ Rules

1. Before you conclude that the decision of a superior is illogical, remember he may have factored in information of which you are unaware

2. Though desirable to set your sights on meritocracy, who you know is equally important.

3.  When you prevail don’t gloat! Subtly proffer a face-saving gesture

4.  Be ever mindful of the power of: the mighty “fluff” (adult Guyanese parlance); clannishness of squaddies, Alumni, sects, membership of social organizations; the Lodge takes the cake.

5.  Without being wholly  intrusive, know who is family to who, and who may be sleeping with who

6.  Strike a delicate balance between applying the mantra “why speak to the angels when you could whisper to god” alongside  that of the influence of the informal organization within the formal 

7.  In adjudicating a conflict, remember the complainant may make a stronger case, and may also be the better liar

8.  (Borrowed from Gen. Powell): When someone hands you a dirty stick don’t complain, sharpen it and turn it into a useful tool

I am currently saddling up to ride into the sunset with peace of mind and a content heart.

Yours faithfully

Derrick Cummings

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