“Everybody’s been fired. Hell, even I’ve been fired.” ~Gene Hackman as Pete Van Wherry, Reds.
I’ve been fired too, though not recently.
In 1981, when I was a senior in high school, I had a part-tme job at a bowling alley near our house in Lawton, Oklahoma. I worked Friday and Saturday nights from midnight to 8 am. It was my job to clean up the filth left by drunk late-night weekend bowlers. I also did some work as a pin monkey, which only involved fixing malfunctioning machines, since it was mostly automated. From that job I also learned how to oil bowling lanes.
One Friday, “Skip” and I spent the entire day at Oklahoma University, touring campus, signing up for meal plans, buying textbooks, scoping out local eateries, and so on. We got back to Lawton at about 8pm, and I didn’t get a chance to sleep. By the middle of my midnight to 8am shift at the bowling alley, I was exhausted, and fell asleep. Boss called the next day and fired me over the phone. I was pretty unhappy with his lack of sympathy, but I probably would have fired me, too.
In the summer of 1983, I repeated my 1982 photojournalism internship at the Lawton Constitution. I was really starting to get the hang of shooting for newspaper, but I became entangled in a relationship with a receptionist. I was somewhat naîve about workplace romances, including love triangles. That receptionist reads this blog all the time, so I won’t post too many details, except to say that my internship was terminated early because of the situation.
In 1988, I was laid off from the Shawnee News-Star, along with about four other staff members. I have no problem addressing it directly: Managing Editor Jim Bradshaw was a cranky, old-school editor with little talent and even less ability to recognize talent. His main criteria for valuing his staff was political agreement and the classic “good old boy” paradigm. The five of us “laid off” that spring day in 1988 were among the most talented young people in the area at the time, but were almost universally liberals and social misfits.
In my defense, I haven’t been fired for any legitimate reason, like stealing or goldbricking, and I haven’t been fired since 1988.
I thought about all this as I listened to music and worked on my antenna farm. Two of my antennas were crooked, one needed to have its base shored, and I re-installed a magnetic mount 2-meter that spent the last six months stuck on a dead microwave oven in the garage. Growing on Richard’s home antenna farm presently are: a 1/2-wave for 2-meter, two Radio Shack 1/4-wave scanner antennas, a dual-bander for 2-meter/70-cm, a mobile dual-bander on a mount I found at Radio Shack, a 1/2-wave 6-meter, and the mobile from the garage, which I stuck on a large inverted coffee can.