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I am back from a conference in Orange County, Crazyfornia, with my sanity, such as it is, intact. The weather was warm, but I only ventured out for dinner, so it hardly mattered. The conference was good, though, and I reconnected with several associates.

Many new vendors attended, some with unique products and ideas. The booth next to mine was manned by a medical doctor who was promoting helminth therapy. Helminths are basically worms. The idea behind the therapy is to introduce certain species of worms into the digestive tracts of humans. The basic hypothesis behind the practice is that humans have become too sanitary. Evidently, it was actually good for humans to eat dirt and not bathe so much, as this allowed helpful worms to get into our guts and commune with our immune system in harmony. I think such conditions also allowed the bubonic plague to occur back in the Dark Ages, but what do I know?

This particular doctor was advocating the use of a rat tapeworm to correct immune system problems. Patients swallow a liquid containing about 60 of the barely visible creatures after paying $100 for the privilege. Now, these particular worms will only live for a certain number of days and don't reproduce. Evidently, once they realize they are not in the gut of a rat, they become despondent and die. So you have to repeat the procedure every few weeks.

I love America. Pay $100 to eat some worms several times a year. I need to change my business model.

I met up with another associate who is also a business owner. I had heard some rumors about him involving a #MeToo situation, so I went directly to the source and asked him. At some other conference, he had playfully spanked one of his new employees on the bottom as she was having a chair massage. Yes, a "she."

Now, you have to know this guy. He is a prankster. He is silly. He is uncouth, rude and arrogant at times. We who do know him just acknowledge him as a jerk. I have had my go-rounds with him, often egged on by use of alcohol. I introduced him to my wife several years ago and he immediately started teasing her based on something I had said. She ended up almost decking him. He is definitely an acquired taste.

The offended employee ended up suing him. He settled out of court for a very hefty sum along with large legal fees. He finds out later she was an ex-stripper, which does not excuse his behavior in any way. Even strippers are allowed their dignity and have the right not to be touched inappropriately. He was in the wrong. But you would think such an action on this guy's part would be rather tame considering what she was subjected to in her earlier line of work. But again, I unequivocally state that he was wrong, and he paid dearly for it.

He lamented how great it used to be back in the days when those kinds of antics were considered funny. Obviously, he was not learning from his mistake. I commiserated with him while urging him to consider counseling. Somehow, I seriously doubt he can control his behavior. He's just that kind of guy.

I have to admit that I am more careful with what I say in mixed company. Even so, my tongue was quite sore from biting it to keep from spouting some obviously sexist, though funny, dialog.

We are all better off in showing more restraint in our conversations, but then again, a lack of restraint or filters seems to work for some people. Maybe Trump is right. "If you're a star, they let you do it; you can do anything." Crude behavior and speech didn't keep him from being elected to the highest office in the land. I guess it just depends on who you are.

-- Devin Houston is the president/CEO of Houston Enzymes. Send comments or questions to devin.houston@gmail.com. Opinions expressed are those of the author.

Editorial on 04/03/2019

Print Headline: Lessons learned?

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