To Do The Impossible


26 years ago i was standing at the door of the neon room at my father in laws sign business, inside the room was an ex employee of my father in law that had quit some 15 or 20 years earlier to go setup his own shop , and by the way was doing very good , his son is now managing the business,but at that time he was doing my father in law a favor because he was making the neon that needed to be made, the glass bender that used to be there quit to pursue his own dream of establishing his own sign business , that by the way is doing very well also. In the 40 years that my father in law had been in business he

had seen how glass bender after glass bender as soon as they managed to dominate the glass they left to find a better salary in a bigger sign company, or to open their own neon shop , so that is why he insisted that i learned to bend glass , his thinking was that i wouldn’t go anywhere because i was part of the family, but that was not my main concern, what i was worried about more than anything was that i wasn’t going to be able to learn , it looked very difficult and impossible.
So i stood at the door of the neon room watching this guy bend the glass , and he asked me “Well are you or aren’t you going to learn to do the neon?”

I don’t know yet ,i said , I don’t know if i can.
Well he said, this is an opportunity that does not come every day, right now i have the time because we are kinda slow at my shop but as soon as it picks up i won’t be able to teach you anymore , plus if you don’t accept your father in law will eventually find a glass bender and that’s it , the opportunity door will close plus he said , think of it like this , once you learn, whatever happens you take your skill with you where ever you go , and as you can see there are very few glass benders in the city , you will have work all the time.
We also talked about how much a glass bender made as an employee or as a self employed with his own neon shop, what i liked was the part of being self employed because you could make more money.
So i took the plunge into the fires of the glass bending world.
Three months later he told me”Sorry i won’t be coming anymore i have to much work at my place”
I said “Your kidding right, sorry he said, keep on practicing and do the best you can.
Of course i was not ready to be left on my own , so i started to do the simple stuff and some block letters , the block letters were coming out very slowly and some letters bigger than others , one installer always liked to give me hell , he would say “This is the worst neon that this company has ever made ” and left laughing, ” He would say”Were you drunk when you did this?” he was one of those guys that liked to give you a bad time.
I once read a quote from St Francis of Assisi that said :

“Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible”
Francis of Assisi

And that is very true , you start a step at a time and suddenly you will be doing what you thought was impossible, that is exactly what happened to me with Neon , i never thought i would be doing all types of neon signs.
They say that life made of a series of choices, and i believe that is true because since that day back in 1988 when i decided to start learning i haven’t stopped bending glass , sometimes as an employee and some times as self employed, the next choice i took that also was a good one was to be self employed , thanks to that decision i am a very happy glass bender.