It was 1980. A new decade. A new hope. Hopefully a new job. I was 20 years old and a Junior in college when the planets cosmically aligned thus setting me on a strange and bizarre sojourn as a newly hired employee at a little red pole barn in Columbiana. This sojourn is titled, “My Office Has A Window” even though in reality, there were no windows at all.
Chapter Twenty Four – Ventura Highway
Chewin on a piece of grass walkin down the road
Tell me, how long you gonna stay here Joe?
Some people say this town don’t look good in snow
You don’t care, I know.
Ventura Highway, in the sunshine
Where the days are longer
The nights are stronger than moonshine
You’re gonna go I know
The Columbiana warehouse where I was stationed was desolate. The Akron warehouse, the hotbed of activity for our company at the time was where everyone else was at. We were combining both warehouses, Columbiana and Akron to the new big warehouse in Youngstown, Ohio. Columbiana was now empty and we switched to Akron to complete the move. I was waiting patiently by the phone for the call from corporate to finally join them. There was nothing left to do but wait. And wait, and wait. Several weeks passed until the phone rang. Yes, it was the governor, and I had received my pardon. Onward to Akron I was to go to help in the move.
The next day I arrived at the rendezvous point and I was once again reunited with the old crew plus a new guy, Rick. Rick was a funny guy, and his famous line was. (Sung to the tune of the Steve Perry song, “Sherry”) Instead of singing shoulda been gone, Rick changed the lyrics to “Shoulda smoked a bong” in a screeching falsetto voice. (Think Tiny Tim on steroids) He also had us in stitches comparing his nose to other famous noses in history. Jimmy Durante didn’t have anything on him.
We all jumped in the van and drove to the Akron warehouse. Our job there was basic. We were to load all the merchandise we could and jam it into the semi trucks at the loading docks. Everyone knew what to do but me. This was my first day away from the red pole barn and I was a little bit out of my element. (And no, I don’t mean the symbol for boron!) I soon caught on very fast. I just stuffed everything in sight into the semi trailers backed up to the docks.
Then I saw them. Forklifts! Two of them. Guy and Hessie jumped on them and away they went. They would pick up all the pallets of merchandise that we had stacked and load them into the trucks. I wanted to drive the forklifts but Guy informed me that only he and Hessie knew how to operate them. (Bullshit!!)
I let that explanation satisfy me until Guy started getting a little too cocky and having a little too much fun on the forklifts. Guy would spin in little circles and do figure eight’s and all sorts of neat things. Then he made a crucial error. Guy started to load an empty trailer and drove the forklift all the way to the nose of the trailer. Seconds later the trailer started to tip and lift off the dock plate. In a heartbeat the trailer was fully tilted with guy still on the forklift. We used the other forklift to get the trailer righted and there was no injury to Guy except his ego. He also let out a little secret that he and Hessie didn’t know diddley squat about driving forklifts and everyone else was just as qualified to drive them as they were.
Soon we were all running the forklift obstacle course sometimes coming dangerously close to tipping them over on very tight corners. This lasted several days but alas, as all good things, it was now completed. The Akron warehouse was empty. That evening we were all told to report to the new Youngstown complex the following day.
LURKING, I NEED SOME WINDEX ON THE GRASSY KNOLL