Fayetteville’s Superior Industries - The Smell of Money | Street Jazz

Fayetteville’s Superior Industries - The Smell of Money

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Way back in the 20th Century (and part of the 21st, come to think of it) I worked for Superior Industries in Fayetteville. Though most of my time was spent in the chemical lab, for the first few years I worked in Security, a job which really is more fun than you can shake a stick at, as long as your boss isn’t a jerk.

I worked in the Chrome plant, which is now closed. I actually worked in the plant while construction was going on, so I saw how everything was going in, which I’d never seen before. But finally, the plant was “officially” open for business, even though we had actually been plating wheels for some time before then, and the decision was made to have a sort of Open House, and invite folks from the Casting plant next door to walk around the new facility.

What a bunch of dour faces! Of course, what they knew, and the rest of us didn’t, was that the plant smelled like hell of chemicals; we had just gotten used to the smell, which got into our clothes every night, and probably the pores of our skin, too.

I was sitting back in the Security section as folks were coming through, and one guy stepped up to the counter, glared at me, and proclaimed loudly for all to hear, “Stinks in here!”

Yeah, like I could do anything about that.

I just looked up at him and said pleasantly, “It’s the smell of money, sir.”

He seemed stuck for an answer, and then snarled,” I don’t think so,” before leaving the building.

Turns out we were were both right, and both wrong. The Chrome plant was a money maker for quite a while, before it began not to be. And now, of course, it just isn’t anything anymore, is it?

******

About those Non-Disclosure forms . . .

Sitting in ther break room with a few of my fellow lab mates one day, we overheard one of the consultants from a chemical firm that Superior did business with was holding court in the break room, talking to a group of enraptured lower management folks.

“Well, in this other company that I work with,” he was saying, “their plating process goes like this . . .”

Not once did it occur to those happy fellows who were so  intent on learning another company’s secrets that if he was willing to spill the beans of another company to them, what was he telling other companies about Superior?

*****

Quote of the Day

Fox News went on describing a mission accomplished in a place they called Afghanistan, in a country utterly unlike the one in which we lived. One night, as we sat in the dark to save generator power for the TV set, we heard some no-name right-wing think-tank pro-war neocon talking head explain that America could speedily repair any incidental damage to Iraq's infrastructure, just as it had done in Afghanistan. Security, water, electricity - all those things Kabulis had learned to live without - he said had been restored to Kabul "in no time." Even in the dim glow of the TV, I could see that Helen was weeping. "Please can we go back to the BBC?" she said,, and we never watched Fox News again. - Ann Jones, "Kabul in Winter: Life without Peace in Afghanistan"

****

Bill O’Reilly - I could make him love me

So I had a dream the other night. I was standing outside Community Access Television in Fayetteville, and who should drive up but Mister telesvsion himself, Bill O’Reilly!

He walks over to me and says, “You know, I’ve seen your show and read your stuff over the years, and I think you’d be a good guest on my show. How about it?”

At this point in my dream I obvious come down with something I suspect medical professionals call a case of The Stupids, and merely asked, “How much do you pay your guests?”

“We pay them six hundred and sixty-six dollars,” was his ready reply.

$666? Who could beat that? Plus a plane ticket to New York?

I went inside to the station to tell all the happy news, whereupon everyone tried to convince me that O’Reilly was just going to treat me like all of his other guests, all the way from screaming at me to cutting off  my sound.

“No,” I insisted, “this will be different. This will be a real interview.”

I’m on a variety of medications, for such things as diabetes, high blood pressure, and other things too boring to mention. As a result of which, I have the most entertaining dreams, none of which I would trade for anything.

***

See, God does shop at the mall . . .

I was at the Northwest Arkansas Mall yesterday with a friend of mine, when a disembodied voice suddenly came out of nowhere (over our heads, actually) and said:

“So what have you been up to, Richard?”

We quickly realized that it was one those “interviews” carried on the TVs that are mounted throughout the mall.

I turned to my friend. “See, I’m not psychotic. God does talk to me.”

In “The Scrolls,” (Without Feathers) Woody Allen rewrites the story of Abraham, and has God ultimately upbraiding him for doing whatever some disembodied voice tells him to do - "Some men will follow any order no matter how asinine as long as it comes from a resonant, well-modulated voice.”

Yup.

rsdrake@nwark.com

 

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