Tuesday, September 25, 2007

The Marlboro Man

I remember, the computers had gone down and the only two that worked were in his office and in J's who had the office next to his. He looked at me and told me I was going to have the time of my life and chuckled. We had hundreds of alerts going off and only myself and one other person trying to keep up on the computer in the next room. He would pop his head in from time to time just to make sure I hadn't tried to kill myself or worse, smash the computer. He would poke fun at how hard the two of us had to work and usually ended up making us laugh. It made it easier to handle the crisis at hand. He had a certain way about him that let you know he was down to earth and you could always ask him anything. No matter who you were, you respected him and were glad to know him. He always listened to what you had to say and heard you as well. When I first hired in, he made me feel welcome unlike other jobs in the past and since. I was happy to be part of his team and enjoyed the work. The people I worked with were all easy to work with even though it was a job that not many would choose to do. But I'm not here to talk about that.

The first time I was mandated, I was home in bed and the phone rang. It was the lead worker offering overtime. I slept through the call and so did my dogs, Same with the second call from the supervisor. The 3rd call was from Steve stating that I was mandated and required to come to work. The dogs started barking frantically trying to get me up and so I went into work. I told him that he apparently had a voice of authority that even my dogs respected over the phone. He laughed pretty hard. He had a deep gutteral laugh that was a sincere laugh.

I could probably go on with a hundred different anecdotes about Steve but basically what it all comes down to is that he was a good man and I am glad to have known him for the short time I did. He will be missed by all who knew him.

Here's another friends view of him speaking from his heart

Wednesday, September 19, 2007

The stingray

When kids are younger, they do stupid things that, after growing up and looking back, they shouldn't do. Some of the things that come to mind is how I rode my bike. I had wanted this bike for years and had begged and pleaded until one day on my birthday, there it was. The golden-orange colored Stingray with the monkey bars, sissy bar and slick tire on the back. It was a 3 speed with hand brakes. It was the latest and coolest thing back then. The gear shift on the ball breaker bar, as I like to call it, resembled a stick shift in a car. It was sooo cool. I rode that bike everywhere. I was so proud, like a guy driving his 'vette during a mid life crisis, even tho I was only 13. I remember my dad always yelling at me not to pop wheelies and to stay out of the road and blah, blah, blah. It didn't matter. Once out of sight, I did what I wanted. Afterall, I had the coolest bike in the neighborhood and had to look cool riding it. Well, didn't I?

Moving on, about 2 blocks from my house was a softball field, which we used to ride our bikes around the bases after the guy had just finished the chalk lines for that nights game and, without hesitation, he would give us the finger. He was pretty cool about it though. We usually went back and helped him. Behind that, there was a row of trees blocking the view of some train tracks. Beyond the tracks was kind of a woodsy area and then the lime pits. In the lime pits were a bunch of ponds where we used to go catch frogs and snakes. there were little trails barely wide enough to walk on on the top of these hills. One false step either way and you're tumbling down about a 30 foot drop through weeds and pricker bushes and other things that will tear up your skin and make your parents say "What the hell were you thinking?" Beyond the trails there were these woods that were filled with lime. I should go on to explain that lime is like a powdery substance. It kinda looks like sand but if you stomp on it, it makes a cool dust cloud.

So here we are, me and a couple of my friends, feeling like kings of the world after fighting our way through the trees and across the tracks and working our way to the top of the hills, ready to brave these little trails with no fear of wiping out. We were all pros at riding bikes, after all we were 13 . We had mastered the art of cycling. The first time around, we took it kinda of easy to get a feel of the hills and to look for obstacles that would slow us down. After clearing the way, we were off. I got to lead the way because I had the new cool bike "Stingray". We were racing in single file through the hills as fast as our feet could pedal, wind in our face, the thrill of one false move and you could be facing time in the hospital. Yes, were were on top of the world. Well after speeding around the hils a couple times, I decided to take a right and head into the woods. I had seen a path a couple times when passing by and finally had decided to venture into this unchartered territory. At least unchartered to us. As I sped down this new path, the lime got more dense creating a huge cloud of dust as I passed. It looked so cool. I was exhilarated as this had to be the coolest thing I had done on my bike. There were little hills where I could make jumps with my bike and feel like I was dirt racing on a motorcycle. It was then that I made this jump and didn't land right and wiped out. It wouldn't have been so bad but my friends, who were following pretty close, were unable to see me because of all the dust I created going thru the lime. So as each of them made the jump, they landed either on me or my bike. Fortunately, my bike got the worst of it and I only ended up with minor bruises. Still it was pretty cool.

That was the first accident I had had with Stingray. So now she was broken in. I rode that bike into the ground. I popped so many wheelies that one time the goose neck snapped and the handle bars came off in my hands. It was pretty embarrassing considering I was trying to impress the girl down the street at the time. She, at least, got a good laugh out of it. I also wore the brakes out so bad that I had to stop the bike by either leaning back and sliding to a stop, kind of like ice skaters do, or putting my foot on the front wheel and slowing down the tire. Speaking of which, my mom was pretty confused as to how my tennis shoes got wore down. They had a rut going down the center and I couldn't explain to her for fear of not being able to ride my bike again. there's no way she would have let me ride it if she knew. I suppose I could've got new brake pads but decided I didn't need them. At least until the day I was riding down main street during rush hour and I had to stop for the light. The problem was that the cars were too close for me to turn sideways and skid and there wasn't enough room to turn my wheel and put my foot on the tire. I ended up scaling the curb, flipping the bike, which landed on my chest chain first and laying in the grass while the poor old lady in the car next to where I wiped out, looked as if she had just seen something out of a horror movie. I was okay tho and ended up stopping at the store on the way home from school the next day and buying some brake pads. But don't tell anyone, I still rarely used them.
You Are 87% Grown Up, 13% Kid
Your emotional maturity is fully developed, and you have an excellent grasp on your emotions. In fact, you are so emotionally mature - you should consider being a therapist!
How Emotionally Mature Are You?