Dr. Olson’s jokes always generated loud laughter from those around him. They were funny and he had a knack for timing. But they were the type of jokes that most people preferred to listen to rather than to tell. That’s because Dr. Olson’s jokes were mostly about the anatomical aspect of his work. He was a urologist. As he neared retirement Dr. Olson’s favorite and often repeated statement was – “When you’ve been in my line of work, and you get to be my age, nothing embarrasses you anymore.”
Later in his life Dr. Olson went to a family reunion in Muskegon, Michigan. It was the trip that would cause him to change direction completely. Dr. Olson was drawn to some large, welded stainless steel sculptures done by an artist named Richard Hunt. He had never heard of Richard Hunt but he thought the guy’s work was fantastic. Dr. Olson tracked down the artist who had a workshop in Chicago. He was fascinated by the interplay of materials, rough v. smooth, hard v. soft and the way all sorts of materials could be incorporated into sculpture.
There was something powerful about the way a mere human could use heat to bend and shape the hard metal. Suddenly, Dr. Olson wanted to make his own metal sculptures. His wife, who was not at all thrilled about the idea, reminded him that they lived in rural Minnesota for crying out loud. Not exactly a hotbed of sculpture. And didn’t Dr. Olson notice the raised eyebrows all around when he told his off-center jokes? What would the neighbors think? Shouldn’t he join a country club and golf or hunt pheasant like the other surgeons?
But Dr. Olson was not easily discouraged and off he went, buying welding equipment and sourcing Cor-Ten steel. His wife eyed the growing piles of stuff that overflowed the garage and spilled out into the yard. She worried that this was all getting out of hand. Dr. Olson was oblivious. He welded large angular pieces, giving them urological names that he thought were funny.
Then Dr. Olson’s grown kids came to the rescue. They loved seeing their dad so happy and enthusiastic over his new hobby. He had always marched to the beat of a different drummer. What he needed was a building. A retreat where he could stash his supplies and create his masterpieces. Mrs. Olson mumbled something about the misuse of the word masterpieces but she agreed with the kids. And that’s where the folks at Sherman Pole Buildings got involved. Yep. They could help Dr. Olson with a building for his new hobby. And though they sometimes blushed, they thought his jokes were funny.