Security Officer Blues: The morning I let a “bomb” into a chemical plant | Street Jazz

Security Officer Blues: The morning I let a “bomb” into a chemical plant

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Okay, two things you need to understand right off - first, this was way before 9/11, and secondly, that here are sadly, people on this planet who have no sense of humour.

Sadly, not all of hem are sterile.

Anyway, in my life I have worked at a number of jobs, some fascinating, and some boring as hell - all the way from Night Manager at 7-Eleven to quality control at a hosiery plant (not nearly as much fun as you might like to think) to chemical lab to working on alternative newspapers to . . . ah, you name it, dude.

I haven’t tried bar-tending-yet, and I have always thought that might be a fun job. A quiet neighborhood bar sort of joint - not the Tom Cruise tossing bottles in the air type of place.

One of my more interesting jobs was was a Security Officer in a Fayetteville plant. I worked night shift, which is always more interesting than day shift, if only for the reason that you aren’t surrounded by so many anal retentive people on salary.

I wrote a piece about my experience for the Little Rock Free Press some years ago; one day I’ll post it to my blog.

One thing I didn’t write about was the fateful morn that I let the man with the bomb pass through the guard station.

Okay, it really wasn’t a bomb, and you’d have to be really, really stupid, to ever imagine for a second, to think that it was.

But I am getting ahead of myself.

Part of our job was to check lunch boxes and bags as folks came in or left the building. You’d be amazed at the ways folks people can contrive to walk out with power tools - most of them highly unimaginative.

One fellow didn’t actually put it into his lunch box; it fell out of his pants when he punched out for the day. I just smiled at him and held out my hand.

On morning, though, one fellow opened his bag to reveal a small cardboard box with BOMB written in crayon. “Let me see that,” I said.

He opened up the box, which was revealed to be . . . and empty cardboard box.

Laughing, I waved him on through.

A few minutes later I clocked out for the day, having dismissed the fake bomber from my mind.

Returning to work that night, I discovered that all hell had broken loose when one of the day shift guards, a man who would have been right at home in the Red-hunting 1950s, went ballistic when he saw the weapon of whimsical destruction.

The mad bomber was fired and escorted from the building.

Fired? For a stupid cardboard box?

Not for the first time, I wondered what kind of idiots were running this outfit.

I also began to wonder if I might be joining him on the unemployment line. I had quit my job at Mexican Original a few years before over a matter of principle (I haven’t written about that yet, but I will one day) and the idea of suddenly not having a steady paycheck didn’t appeal to me, especially over something so ridiculous.

I spent a long a nervous night.

As it was, though, my boss - who I had never actually met face-to-face - just called me on the phone near the end of my shift the next morning, and we had a short conversation. I apologized - even though I didn’t think I should have to - and told him I had had a “brain fart” - and that is why the “bomb” got through.

I promised to be more vigilant in the future. And that was that. The “bomber” lost his job, but I kept mine.

Nothing about that made any sense, nor was it fair.

I realized that, since the folks in the lab had been strongly suggesting I transfer to that department, it was time I made the move as soon as possible.

******

Quote of the Day

When people tell you how young you look, they are also telling you how old you are. - Cary Grant

rsdrake@cox.net

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