Osprey with Fish
Life is cruel. Decisions made while young can ripple through ones life, haunting it in later years. Looking back over my life, I am pleased with my career that has allowed me to now enjoy a comfortable retirement, but it didn’t have to be this way. In college, I was a lackadaisical student and barely graduated. But graduate I did and got a job, a real job, and even got married. So there, Bailey Bombers!
On the road to my success, while I was still languishing in East Lansing, I got a job-job. I clerked at a mom and pop Spartan Foods grocery store. Eventually the call came that lifted me out of this dead-end. The fact that the call came from my advisor’s former babysitter is now only serendipity. Both the mom and the pop were pleased for me when I broke the news to them, although pop less so.
I worked in tech as they now-a-days say. It wasn’t called that back then. One of my early assignments was the automation of the calibration process for crash dummies at Chrysler. The union worker whose job was the calibration of these dummies was less than enthusiastic towards me. I doubt that he still has a job.
I shan’t mourn for truck drivers either. I look forward to the replacement of these over-the-road cowboys, with more dependable robots. Mark me, the robot revolution is coming and Jeff Bezos is leading the charging of the barricades.
We’ve had U-scans for years at our local grocery store. Just recently, their number has doubled. But their automation is primitive compared to that recently demonstrated at the new Amazon Go grocery store, which looks like a prototype for Whole Foods of the future. Speaking of which, while surveying Google maps, I could not find that old Spartan Foods store. Although, nearby, as in its place is a much larger Whole Foods. Like I said, life is cruel.
“Work, work, work, work, work, work, work, work, work. Hello, boys. You have a good night’s rest? I missed you.” – Governor Lepetomane, Blazing Saddles
I bought a new laptop. The old one was getting pretty long in the tooth and while still serviceable, it was becoming more and more difficult to use. After I unboxed the new one and powered it up, the PC launched itself into endless Windows update mode. Eventually, I got to begin personalizing the machine. I loaded some software and photos. Adding everything that I could think of. It almost felt like being back at work, where in the closing months of my career, I lived a gypsy life. Going from one new machine to the next and setting each one up to my tastes, before I could begin working with it.
As background to my activity, the staccato sound of a jack hammer filtered in from outside. MSD has arrived. They are drilling test holes in the street, trying to locate the existing infrastructure, before they begin trenching for the new sewer line. Gotta uncross the streams. Laclede Gas eventually joined the party and they were like that guest that just won’t go home. It looked like they were backhoeing out one of the neighbors’ laterals. MSD packed it in and Laclede was still at it. The streetlights came on and they continued working. The 10 o’clock news finished and the late shows were beginning and we were getting ready for bed, before they finally packed it in and wheeled away. I’m glad that I had a desk job and I’m even more glad that I don’t have to work it any longer.
I Will Make War No More Forever
Today was my last day of employment with the Boeing Company. I am now officially retired. As befits this overly long separation process today’s duties were relatively light. The day began with a donut, courtesy of Paul. I did one more round of goodbyes, before my boss corralled me for my exit interview, the main purpose of which seemed to be to make sure that I had returned all company property in my possession, which I had. I sent out one last email blast that disseminated my personal email address to as many people as I could think of. I visited HR just to make sure that I hadn’t missed anything. Then I visited security and got myself debriefed from the myriad of proprietary programs that I had been given access to. There were way more than I had expected. I must have signed my name fifty times. There were way more forms to sign then there were numbers left on my program badge. I had no idea that there were so many. I know now why some people charge for their autographs, because signing your name time after time is work. It is a good thing that I have a short name. There was only one more thing left to do and that was to turn in my badge. I met my boss again, he walked me out and took my badge and I was done and I was out of the plant by noon. I’m ready now to start this next phase of my life, retirement.
I had my retirement cake today. This is my company sponsored retirement ceremony. Mat had arranged for Jeff to make the pictured plaque. There was a good turnout. Barbara was my non-company guest. The Perma Bear spoke for the company, recounted my career highlights and said a lot of nice things about me. I gave the following speech:
Thank you all for coming. I’m deeply honored. After last week’s retirement luncheon that Carrie and Mat had arranged, I kind of flubbed the speech part. I’ll try to do better now, but don’t get your hopes too high. Although, I’ve only been a Boeing/McDonnell employee for 24 years, it seems much longer – because it has been. I started working here as a contract engineer in 1980. I used to work across the street in flight simulation. Merle, an engineer, who was as old then as I am now, regaled me with his stories of the Mercury space program. He told stories of rubbing shoulders with Alan Sheppard and John Glenn and getting to meet JFK, when he toured the plant. Merle offered me a simple word of advice that I’ve always taken to heart: Always take the stairs, because if you take the stairs then someday you’ll be able to walk out of here, but, if you ride the elevator, you are going to be carried out of here instead. Heart attacks at work were more prevalent back then. Like I said simple advice, but I took it to heart and for more than just roaming the halls. I took from him, the message that if you give this job the extra effort, then someday you’ll get to leave on your own terms.
Unfortunately, I don’t have any overarching project or accomplishment to point to. Instead by the many people present here, I am reminded of the myriad of programs and activities that I have worked over the years. Most of which I cannot talk to anyone about, especially after tomorrow, but apparently I will be able to email you about them, just kidding. People have been telling me that I’ve been smiling too much lately. That is because I’m so looking forward to this next phase of my life. One thing though that I am not looking forward to is not being able to see you all on a regular basis. I will miss you. Before I go, I’ll be sharing my email address and I hope that we can stay in touch. Thanks again for coming. Let’s eat cake!
My New Special Water Bottle and Matching Cage
Yes dear friends it’s come down to this, the day after tomorrow will be my retirement day. If you cannot tell, I’ve been looking forward to this event for quite some time now. Today, the Perma-Bear took me out for a farewell luncheon. We went to Five Guys Burger and Fries, a high-end fast-food burger chain that specializes in its toppings. Interestingly and totally out of character, I played it conservative and only ran my burger through the garden (lettuce, tomato, onion and pickle), while he having been there before, was way more adventurous, dare I say even liberal? It was good food and a good time, but mainly because I behaved myself, until now. Pictured is a retirement gift from my colleague and friend James. It is a flask with a matching bottle cage that is designed to attach under a bike seat. I haven’t used it yet, but I do have a test plan. I’ll first test the “bottle”, which reminds me that it was James that first introduced me to Drunk Cyclist (Two wheels – One Dark Lord). Be careful where you check out this site, because back in the day, it wasn’t always safe for work (NSFW). Although, it looks a lot safer now. Anyway, once I have ascertained the validity of the containment vessel, the next step will be to affix it to my bike. I understand that this unit also doubles as a rear fender, but you might want to wipe it then before each use. I’m going to miss seeing these guys daily, but the day after tomorrow I’ll start my new job, retiree.