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Most Excellent Cummins Adventure

From the time I was a teenager growing up in Vancouver, in almost every instance of me performing Stupid Man Tricks, whether doing a solo act or within an ensemble, alcohol was involved (well there was the odd occasion that other substances may have been in play, but only for sound medical and journalistic experimentation purposes). Getting tossed in jail and being bailed out by an uncle twice, two different uncles, each time in a different province (Alberta) and territory (Northwest) were a couple, embarking on pugilistic endeavours - with and without the Marquess of Queensberry Rules in effect or simply acting out the asshole persona that I worked so hard to perfect and according to many, perfect it I did.

Looking back on the escapades, if I can remember them at all, I am simultaneously shamed, humiliated and oddly surprised at the antics. Shamed and humiliated speak for themselves, surprised simply by the fact I am alive in my 50's and not rendered inanimate by accident, abuse or other untoward event that could have befallen an idiot such as myself. I did not grow up until I was in my 40's but alive I am and stories my addled brain has captured to be told in a private forum such as this.

As I mentioned in a previous posting, Japan offered up a few stories and of course alcohol was involved, and some stories will never, or can never be retold fearing penalty of death from the other co-conspirators. Months in Europe swilling beer and wine offered up many stories and as much as I would love to retell them, it is best I do not, fearing the wrath of some disembodied entity for misdeeds executed with glee and wild abandon as I traipsed around the Continent. There is a chance however that I may be over served one evening at home (I know, that's hard to believe) and giddy with red wine I might take up the keyboard and spill my soul on the screen about that summer in Europe, confessing to sins that only a Thai hooker could commiserate with and no doubt destroy the saintly cherub-like view you hold about me today.

I will wax poetic about events that either the protagonists involved are now dead or describe events that while stupid in the extreme will not result in excommunications from various religious institutions, firing from current employers or being served papers from an over zealous attorney because the spouse decided she would rather live alone after reading my soul emptying ramblings. Some stories such as the one to follow happened long ago, enough time has elapsed to render the story less damaging to careers and souls and I doubt I will ever work with or for those companies again. If that last assumption turns out to be wrong, I ask for humble forgiveness for whatever offense I conjure up with my half witted attempt at humour.

I have had the good fortune to travel great distances for work, to work and because of work - with customers, coworkers, suppliers and hangers-on. Asia and many places throughout North America have granted me great meals, beverages, sights and of course stories. On a trip to the good 'ol US of A with coworkers some stories developed and while I wish I could recite them all, I can't, and not because of fear or common sense, I just can't remember the details clearly and it is hard to spin a yarn with shadows from the mind. On this particular trip we traveled from Central British Columbia to the east side of the States to the west coast of the States and then back home again. What a great trip.

As a Western Star truck salesman and traveling a territory that was both geographically large and character rich I had plenty of opportunity to perform Stupid Man Tricks in the course of socializing and entertaining with friends and customers. Not to mention the cast of characters I worked with that were/are colourful, funny and played (drank) as hard as they/we worked. Why our wives stuck with us I'll never know, but we're grateful they did none the less.

Our escapades were legendary and the amount of booze that we would consume was insane. Not only the amount of booze was legendary but the duration of the consumption festival and the laughs supplied and received. It was with this group that I traveled first to Columbus Indiana, with a stop in Indianapolis then flying cross country to Pomona California to take in 3 days at the Winter Nationals NHRA Event. From the top of the Bible Belt to a Swearing-300-MPH-John-Force extravaganza, all in 1 week, accompanied by 2 Cummins BC sales representatives, Dave and John who both were fearing for their jobs since it was them that had to explain to their bosses back home about "those Western Star guys" and how they failed to control the chaos "those guys" unleashed. I will explain...

There were 2 groups of us Western Star guys, one from Prince George and one from Kamloops BC.  We met up in Vancouver the night before and proceed to enjoy the sights and sounds of the Big Smoke and Bright Lights that is Vancouver at night. We did manage to act like big boys that night since the wake up call was for 3:30 am and we had a 5:30 am flight to Indianapolis via Denver. So after a tame night we retired to our rooms for a quick 2 hour power nap, and when the alarm went off only one of us was AWOL and after a quick flurry of activity to find the lost soul (he was destined to be a real pain in the ass for the duration it turned out) it was off to the Vancouver International Airport and our ride to Denver on Air Canada.

After checking in and getting to our departure gate we took our seats and had a wee rest. Just prior to the boarding call the flight crew showed up and as I watched them enter the gate I glanced around the departure lounge to see how full it was and there were about 5 other people in addition to my group and no one else. The boarding call came and the 15 or so passengers walked on board and took our seats. Once the perfunctory announcements were made and we were airborne the lovely ladies, nurses I think, came to us slightly hung-over souls and asked if we would like coffee, responding that yes indeed, we would love some, as long as it had Bailey's in it, they conversed with each other then said yes, that they would love to serve us Bailey's in our coffee and it was on the house, or wing as it were. So out came the bar cart at 6:00 am.

It turns out that the week were we flying was the inaugural week for Air Canada to offer the Vancouver-Denver route and it seemed no one but a few of us knew about it so the plane was empty, the crew was bored and they drinks were complimentary. Imagine our collective delight when told that the bar was open, and it was free and they simply rolled the cart to the middle of the plane where we sat and began the inflight service. At that point the Captain walked down and offered up tours of the flight deck (that was a different era than what we see now on-board the planes) and since there were only 15 passengers on the Airbus 320 everyone who wanted to sit in the cockpit was able to.

The Captain explained the lack of passengers as "growing" the route and welcomed us heartily.  He was a very funny guy with red hair and a rusty freckled complexion who told great dirty jokes (a dirty joke telling airline Captain! Who'd a thunk it?) And talked with us for a great deal of time.

As we enjoyed the complimentary bar service we started to succumb to some sort of altitude induced euphoria and time passed quickly and as we staggered back to our seats we promised to send the nurses post cards from the edge and then thanked them for medicating us so thoroughly on this leg of our journey.

We landed in Denver with a 2 1/2 hour layover so being the good clean cut guys we were, we searched out a bar that offered us the opportunity to partake another of our enjoyments, cigarette smoking. Finding the bar and ordering up drinks all around we took on another pail-full of liquor and as we did our chaperones and hosts for the trip looked on, aghast at what they were witnessing, and I could tell they were now somewhat distraught, fearful even, it showed on their furrowed brows and pale sweating complexions.

I can't say that we regaled anyone in attendance at that Denver airport bar with our wit, charm or intellect, but when we went to leave, the attending nurse hugged each of us and thanked us for coming into her section, and then she offered a prayer of redemption for us as we walked away. Why? I do not know. We boarded our flight to Indianapolis and traveled there subdued and detached from our normally sharp senses.

Arriving at Indy, our hosts gathered us and our luggage and loaded us into the cargo van, well, not a cargo van really, but I prefer calling it that than to call it THE "Short Bus", but I can assure you that the passengers did indeed deserve a "short bus". The only things that John and Dave did not think of for our van ride to Columbus were hockey helmets and foam gloves to be taped to our hands and that is where they went wrong. They did not prepare fully it turns out and at that point I knew they had now performed a CLM - Career Limiting Move by organizing this possibly career ending trip. As I sat in the back row I looked at them as they drove down the highway trying to ignore the antics of the passengers but as they looked at each other I saw the look of recognition cross their faces as they had the CLM epiphany. They were well and truly fucked now. They knew it, I knew it. Ross (Their boss) would soon know it since we were meeting him in Pomona and there would be a debriefing to be sure.

We toured the Columbus Works Cummins diesel engine factory the next day after we arrived in Columbus and it was a very interesting if not eventful day. Dining with company executives in a private dining area at a local country club was a wonderful evening pastime and food and conversation was most delightful, following the country club dinner it was back to town and a search for distractions to the staid and formal evening we were enjoying up to that point. Close to our hotel was a small building that had a sign "Sports Bar" on the front, so being sports fans we agreed to sample the hospitality of the publican and entered the front door.

Now Columbus Indiana is not a big city and is not a hubbub of cosmopolitan activity by any means. It is a town filled with very nice and hard working people and is more or less like any other blue collar town in the heartland of America; it is also very close to, if not straddling the Bible Belt. So while we weren’t expecting much in the way of nightlife I am happy to admit, we were not wrong in our expectations.

The sports bar it turns out was a peeler bar, a strip joint and one that was not up to what some of the professional strip bar goers in the group called - Al Bundy standard. It was a dive but not a bad dive, just a dive, like thousands of others across the map of the world. A little seedy, a little cheesy and a lot rustic.

In the center of the bar was a raised stage with a wooden floor and the obligatory brass pole in the center. Scattered around the room were a few other lonely men in varying states of alcohol induced disrepair/despair so we had the pick of the "best seats in the house." Taking our seats and placing our drink orders we sat front and center waiting on the arrival of a feature performer and shortly after the bartender delivered the round the entertainment began, or at least for some it was entertainment, for me and a couple of others it was painful in the extreme.

Now I'm not a strip club fan, never have been, which puts me at risk of being tossed out of the man club I suppose and it isn't because of a high moral road I travel, nor is it because of the objectification of women that some learned people suggest is at play in those places, nope, it is more basic or pedestrian than that. Quite frankly I have never understood the joy in going to a place to watch naked women, sometimes attractive ones, and merely be a spectator. To me that is just as frustration inducing as going to a world class restaurant to sit in the center of the room and watch everyone else but me eat.  What's the point? Fortunately there was a pool table and Izzy and I played pool and drank. A lot.

I will admit that after drinking, a lot, my indignation at being in such a frustration inducing place lowered to a level that put me on the same base and depraved level as the rest of the crew. And with the arrival of the next performer I got interested in the act on stage. It was for no other reason than the lady on the stage, one we named "Bacon Strips" was quite unattractive and had a number of scars running across her midsection, thigh and back side. Her facial features were not Vogue cover model quality as I recall, but it was her chest that was the most remarkable facet of her physique, in fact we were all enthralled by the twins. For the first time in my life I witnessed live in person that which I had only seen in the pages of a National Geographic displaying pictures of Ubangi tribeswomen walking about the savannah. Bacon strips were in reference to those items, as that were their size and is the way they drooped. Our hosts were right there with us trying to protect us from ourselves and failing miserably. Another CLM was notched on the scorecard.

So we drank and cheered, for reasons known only to drunken men after the herd mentality takes over. She was quite adept at lifting folded paper money without the aid of hands and did twirl about the brass pole like the veteran that she was. We drank some more. A lot more. Soon the bartender told us it was time to leave and as we staggered up and out, one of us geniuses suggested we purchase a couple dozen beers for the walk home and we all agreed that he had a very good idea.

 Walking and drinking in the Bible Belt at 2:00 am is not a good idea and I am sure it is illegal, and as we walked and drank we tired and finally we decided it best to call a cab because none of us had any idea where the hell we were going, let alone where we were at that very moment, so we flagged a cab as he fortuitously drove by and as bad luck would have it, our cabbie turned out to be a wigged out Vietnam Vet (according to him) who hated all manner of people that were not; white, Christian, American or white (according to us). We told him we were all from Wisconsin and by God we were Christians on a revival tour, eh.  The beer the cabbie had stuck between his legs as he drove did not demean his faith in a Creator nor his love of his country, it just kept him calm he said and he would never drive drunk because that would be Un-American.

After being regaled by stories of his exploits in Nam and getting his point of view on politics, religion, immigrants and goddamn Democrats he dropped us off at the hotel and by that time it was nearly 4:00 am and we were 5 hours past pissed. I doubt he had ever been out of the county, let alone overseas, but I was glad to be safe in the hotel, away from him and looking forward to going to bed for the 2 hour nap that I had available. So we said our good nights and went to bed. The wigged out cabbie drove off with a fresh beer we had given him.

I no sooner laid my head on the pillow than the phone rang announcing that, a - it was time to get up, b - take some pain pills, c - get dressed and d - pray I will die before the really bad skull cramps arrive. As we gathered in the lobby we took role call and then had the desk clerk get help to open doors to the rooms of the MIA's. Once we had the crew assembled we boarded the short bus and off to just above the Kentucky border, a short drive away they said. Fucking liars...

None of us were able to eat. None of us were able to speak in anything resembling English.  None of us looked as though we were going to survive. None of us wanted to live. Looking around at the sleeping, drooling and farting men in that short bus, all I can remember is I hope whatever trucks hits us ends this misery quickly, then I went to sleep and napped for the balance of the trip. Sleep of the dead kind of sleep.

We arrived at the factory and it was a marvel of technology, pristine architecture, squeaky clean window glass and spit polish. This was the place they assembled Cummins engines for the Dodge pickup trucks. Diesel engines. Loud diesel engines! Gathering in the lobby and awaiting our tour guide a few of us were searching out water fountains to quench the unquenchable thirst that befell us. Drinking copious amount of water and not finding relief the agony just multiplied.

Our tour guide arrived and outfitted us with the required PPE and off on foot we went, following the nice gentleman as he explained to us what we were witnessing as we looked into rooms and through the windows that line the hallway on both sides.

As I leaned inwards to peer into the room through the window my face came into contact with the glass and to my delight I found it very cool to the touch and feeling like I was burning up like a log in a fireplace I pressed my face to the glass. I turned my head to offer the opposite side of my face a cool refresher and it felt wonderful.  As I pulled back, I looked down the hall and noticed other members of my monkey tribe were refreshing themselves just as I had been, and on every pane of crystal clear glass were the face prints of the hung-over and boorish – oily Canuck truck salesmen. It was not one of our more professional impressions being left behind I admit. But at least none of us was flicking poo as is common in a monkey tribe when the tribe is anxious and stressed. We weren't that hung over, well Ron was, but then again, that's Ron...

The tour guide and all the employees we met were very professional and very, very proud of what they did and well they should, they did wonderful work. Unfortunately we were in a bad mental and physical condition and braved the onslaught of nice all those people offered us by offering our pained smiles to them and leaving mementos of our visit on every pane of glass we encountered.

We walked forever through that very large building, learning lots as we walked, I just did not retain all that knowledge but I know it was illuminating and interesting because our hosts told us so. At one point our hosts looked at each other and one asked the other as he was trying to clean a window with his shirt sleeve, "Do you think Ross will find out about this?" The other one answered, "You think? They have probably already called him with a report for Christ sakes!" Another CLM was in the offing.  It was not looking good for our hosts.

Finally the tour ended and we thanked our tour guide and we left that place to allow them time to fumigate the hallways of the stale booze odour that no doubt plagued our visit and to clean the windows before the next tour arrived on a short bus. Back into our own short bus we went and headed for the Indianapolis Raceway museum and then to the airport with stops along the way for pain pills, beer and chicken wings because hangovers are best cured by ingestion of all those items in large amounts.

The flight to Los Angeles from Indy is forgotten, erased from my memory banks, and recollection of any event is not available until we landed in LA. This time fortunately there was not short bus, just a couple of mini vans being chauffeured by our hosts who while being professional businessmen and company guys, were not drivers up to the strain of manoeuvring mini vans through very heavy LA freeway traffic while being insulted by hung-over redneck truck salesmen from the hinterlands.  Nay. They were not up to that challenge at all.

I was in Johns van with a few others and Dave drove the other mom-mobile and as we tried to get out of the LAX parking lot it became concernedly obvious that the chauffeurs were not up to the challenge, but I sat back, buckled up and shut the fuck up since I did not want to tax the drivers ability any more than the traffic signs were already.

By good luck and perhaps providence we ended up on the freeway heading east to Pomona. Traveling at 85 miles per hour 3 1/2 feet off the read bumper of a semi truck we all sat motionless and scared witless as John rocketed along the freeway,  occasionally turning around to look at the back of the bus to talk with us and every time he moved his head to peer back the van would swerve. We all screamed like school girls at those moments, at which point John now alerted to the impending rollover would yank the steering wheel hard and get us back into our lane.  After jostling the steering wheel a bit more the van would fall back onto all four wheels and rocketing ahead we would go. This, swerve-scream-wheel yank-scream routine was to happen a number of times before we arrived at the hotel in Pomona. I needed to change my underclothes by that time.

At one point in the journey as the traffic in front of us came to a screeching halt and our driver being turned around talking to us did not see the stopping truck in front of us until I screamed out "We're all going to die on this freeway!”  John being the observant guy he is could tell by my screaming and crying that time to look forward had come.

I screamed "We're going to die on this freeway!!!" once again and the guy beside me grabbed my hand and also began to weep. John made a very firm brake application and our van screeched to a halt just before impaling us onto the trailer in front of us. As I began a repetitious chant repeating over and over, "We're all going to die on this freeway", John now having stopped the van, turned to look at us crying ladies and now totally exasperated by our crying, screaming, cajoling and our berating his driving abilities said, “You’re not going to die on the freeway! Death is on the inside!!!" He meant it too!

Having been put in our place by that frothing and maniacal Dutchman the rest of the trip was made in silence save for the sound of a beer bottle or two being opened up. We arrived in Pomona, took our bags to our rooms then met up to make a plan. I should have stayed in my room.

We went out for a less than memorable dinner to some meat serving dive and then returned to our hotel for a nightcap and then an early bedtime to get ready for the drag races the next day. As we walked to the lounge we could hear the sounds of farm animals being slaughtered followed by screeching and caterwauling and then more sounds of doomed creatures being dispatched in the abattoir.  As we inched further into the hotel the awful sounds increased in volume and we were all feeling queasy by the disturbing sounds and were preparing to make a run for it to escape lest the sounds were coming from people involved in some Helter Skelter massacre. Finally the sounds subsided and at that point we heard applause.  Applause?  Killing farm animals in Pomona rates applause I was thinking; now I got very scared. What kind of satanic hell hole was Pomona anyway?

Well, my fears of meeting Satan earlier than I was planning were allayed when as we walked into the lounge the sounds of the next farm animal being tortured and killed began again, except this time the sounds were accompanied by rhythmic clapping and shouts of yahoo or other such pedestrian shouts of support. It wasn't an abattoir at all, it was karaoke! I hate karaoke and here we were in the center of a karaoke shitstorm. Of all the gin joints in all the towns in the world, we had to walk into this karaoke joint. Damn our luck anyway, so we took a seat.

After the waitress brought us our drink order some guy in an ill fitting leisure suit, powder blue polyester as I recall, came by our table and handed a piece of paper and pencil to one of our leaders and then fearless leader listened to something the leisure suit boy was telling him and nodded his head in understanding. Since I can't hear well in a loud environment especially a loud karaoke environment I did not know what he was being told, but the others did.

Fearless leader was telling the others in our group what leisure suit told him and they too nodded their heads in understanding, all except me, the deaf one.  After a few more drinks were served leisure suit boy announced to the crowd that by special arrangements Canada's favourite boy group was going to come up to the stage for their inaugural Pomona performance and, "Would everyone please put their hands together and welcome Buster Hyman and the Penetrators to the stage!" At that point a bunch of my group stood and walked to the stage being egged on by applause, catcalls and drunken laughter. I sat on my hands and tried to look like I was not part of such a sordid display of talentless drunken stupidity. I failed.

Leisure suit boy then asked Dave, aka Buster, what song the group was going to sing and Buster replied, "One of Canada's favourite anthems, I Am Woman!" So at that point the DJ struck up the record and the music track to I Am Woman began.

Now I have to say right here and now that none of them could sing, they were all drunk and I don't believe any of them, except for one or possibly two, guys in my group were sporting a vagina. So the choice of song was all wrong. A proper song for the talentless singers would have been The Rodeo Song because even drunk men well past their prime can be entertaining when they scream;

Well it's 40 below and I don't give a fuck
Got a heater in my truck and I'm off to the rodeo
And it's allemande left and allemande right
Come on ya fuckin' dummy get your right step right
Get off the stage ya god damn goof,y'know (you know)
piss me off, fuckin' jerk, get on my nerves

I could have given them passing marks had they done that song, but I Am Woman only scored them a 2 from all judges, except for the Russian judge who seemed to fancy Dave, he gave a 9.5.

After what seemed like hours the music died and the bartender told us the night is over and we headed to our rooms for a quick 4 hour power nap and then into the vans and off to the races for us it would be in the morning.

Meeting for breakfast the lot of us were barely able to swallow and keep down some coffee and not much else. Finally our hosts came by to round us up and it was off to the races we went. Arriving in one piece, hoarse from screaming about dying young and crying, but in one piece, we were ushered to our parking stall and from there it was into a private area for the moneyed elite to watch the races. On the way to our seats we bought some Budweiser and headed to our section.

We were met in our section by a couple of senior managers and executives of our host company. The Grand Poobah was there and greeted us warmly; Ross was his name, taking our seats, drinking our beer we waited for shit to happen. Ross was talking with John and Dave and they were looking crestfallen and slowly shook their heads as Ross talked. The rest of us were drinking beer and smoking cigarettes having a grand old time, our hangovers miraculously having been cured. Dave and John finally finished the Ross debriefing/scolding/lecture/court-martial, returned to our area and took their seats also.  John was still crying and Dave looked pale. Gentlemen start yer engines, it race time...

Ross was a great guy. A very professional and proper gentleman who conducted himself with the highest of integrity and self respect and he loved racing of any kind and was our resident expert for the drag racing we were watching that weekend. He taught us bout bracket racing, staging, eliminations, strategy and all other things we were watching on that track and it was a wonderful and fun learning experience. He was not only a perfect gentleman he was a great teacher for us not so easily taught truck salesmen. But it was his misfortune that ended up with him having to be with us, but he accepted his fate and lack of good luck and treated us well. For that I thank him...

As the races took place below us and we moved around for food, beer and bathroom breaks I would look over to where John and Dave were sitting and what a woe betide look and posture they had assumed. They went from hugging and clinging to each other, crying and shaking their heads in unison, acknowledging agreement of some observations they shared between each other and looked generally shitty. Finally, the tide of despair had lowered and they came to, and joined the rest of use. Eyes swollen from tears they sipped beer and eventually began to liven up; It seemed the debrief with their boss did not go so well. And we hadn't even been that bad, or so we thought...

The races went on for 3 days and we had a blast.  One evening we decided to go to Universal CityWalk to have dinner and after wandering around we settled on a country barbeque joint and entered and took our seats in a private area. The waiter was a younger guy and kind of a pain in the ass in a pompous and paternalist way, he annoyed me.

As we dined I found it difficult to hear much of the table-talk over the loud country music playing on the public address system.  Not that it was country music, which I liked; it was really lousy and loud country music, which I didn't like. Now, I am the type of asshole that when things or people annoy me or do something stupid or rude to others in my presence, I will often times say something and this time was not exception.

Our waiter came by with some drinks for us and as he was placing the drinks he chatted with some of our group, at one point in the conversation he made a comment about how much he liked country music and in particular, the music that was playing loudly throughout the restaurant at that moment. As he was standing close to my area of the table, and I was now full of rum and annoyance at the loud music I couldn't contain myself. A Bart Burst was about to be unleashed, a few at the table had experienced these observational vocalizations, many had not....

Just as the song that was playing ended and silence finally arrived, albeit brief no doubt, I interrupted our annoying waiter and as he was extolling the virtue of country music and his love for it I piped up, "Ya know, country music is the BEST music to listen to when you're fuckin' your sister!", I was looking him right in the eyes as I spoke that statement.

No sooner had I spoken those words than a few guys at the table spewed out whatever they were sipping on at the time I said that, another one chocked on a taco chip and a few others went into shock induced convulsions. Izzy laughed. The waiter, at hearing my statement paused and then an excited look of appreciation and acknowledgment swept over his face and he replied," I know!!! Isn't it the best!!!"

As soon as he spoke that reply 2 of our guys choked on their dinner, one swallowed his tongue, one needed the Heimlich Maneuver to dislodge the chicken wing he inhaled and Izzy roared with laughter again. The waiter looked perplexed at hearing the cacophony of sounds of choking and hysterical laughter, spun on his heels and left the scene of the chaos that had become our dinner. I had another shot of Johnny Walker and then began to utter more pithy and profound prose for the rest of the night.  I was in fine form...

From that moment on, one of the members of our group, a senior manager for the host company would repeat that line to me every time we met for years. Not only that, but I became known far and wide as that sibling fornicator across a very large geographic area of this land. It was funny and a moment that can not be recreated. Vulgar indeed. Rife with disturbing mental images to be sure. But funny...

The week long tour ended and it was time for us to grow up, sober up and return home. We boarded the plane for the trip home, changed planes in Vancouver and at that point said goodbye to most of the members of our group; company hosts and my coworkers from Kamloops. The four of us that remained boarded our plane for Prince George and once seated I began to reflect on the trip and the conduct of my coworkers and myself, and upon review I determined that everything and everyone was fine and no harm done. I passed out only to be awoken 10 minutes from landing.

Once we landed I was eager to leave that plane, and as I walked down the stairs of the plane to the concrete apron, unsteadily I admit, and then into the airport to collect my luggage I was met by my wife who came to pick me up. She looked at me as I walked in and then came to me as I stood beside the baggage carousel, staring at me the whole time, intently. Finally as I grabbed my suitcase, said my goodbyes to the others in my group we headed to our car. Susan was behind the wheel and I was sprawled out in the passenger seat.  She sat there after starting the car then finally she turned to me and asked, "Do I take you home or to the hospital?" I guess I did not look well. I told her let’s just go home and hope for the best, off we went.

I slept for days after I got home and as I lay there healing I reflected once again on the trip and the conduct of myself and my group and running through the instant replays I determined we did pretty well for the ne'er-do-wells that we were. It became obvious to me years later however that perhaps the conduct displayed during that trip was less than stellar since I have never had the opportunity to work for Cummins BC (the host company), even after applying a few times, as recently as 8 months ago in fact and other diesel engine companies like Detroit Diesel have refuse to entertain employment tenure with me as well, no doubt at the behest of Cummins I am sure.  Oh well, not hiring me was entirely their loss I can assure you.

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