I have to get some things off my chest. Some are personal, some, maybe not so much.
I've thought about this a lot, but I am typing this as I think of it now. It's not so much prepared as overdue.
First, the personal.
I've been visiting a poetry site called Arcanum Cafe since 2000. As I was 50 years old at the time, I'd never seen anything like it before. The internet had only been at the fingertips of a large portion of Americans for a short time then, but there were people born in 1980 and a little after who couldn't even imagine what life was like without a TV on a desk and a typewriter keyboard in front of it. Of course, there's the mouse. Personal computers. What a wonderful invention the military finally decided to share with the rest of us.
So, I started to visit AC. I wrote a lot of what I called poetry from 1964 until about 1974. Unfortunately, in order to leave my parents' home, I had to meet a woman and marry her. Well, at least that's what they told me and, by the time I was 21 or 22, they had me believing everything they said. I guess I was too stupid to know that I could have left and they couldn't have done a thing about it.
By the way, I don't want this to seem like a woe is me article and I've already started down that road. So, I'll swerve back.
I got married and gave my parents their first grandchildren. Obviously, as I had a degree in nothing, I had to get a job which didn't require one. So, I worked for The Dow Chemical Company for 25 years. I was no more ready to be a husband than a father and I didn't love the woman to whom I was married and she never loved me. So, after we had two daughters, we divorced.
I won't go into details about the next three attempts at marriage, but one more daughter was one of the results.
My point, of course, is I worked for a chemical manufacturer. I worked rotating shift work and I didn't touch my guitar nor did I write verse nor prose until The Dow Chemical Company delayered me in 1997.
Actually, that's wrong.
First, I now know and probably knew then that The Dow Chemical Company fought every attempt by the government and environmental groups to advance the cause of environmental integrity. However, I worked in a small plant with a bunch of wonderful people. When I drove through the gate I actually became an adult. When I left, I went home to someone or another who knew that I thought of myself as a child and treated me as such.
I did well making the chemicals that Dow wanted me to make. I worked my way up through the ranks, as they say. I actually became a front line supervisor. I supervised anywhere from 25 to 60 adults. Amazing!
The small site at which I worked busted the union in 1972 and I used to say, "Good, I'd never work for a union."
I heard stories of having to call an electrician in at 2 AM to change a light bulb which, believe or not, was essential to keeping the process running. Our process was not computer controlled at the time, so we had to determine the level of this or that by actually looking into the tank with our eyes. The light bulb burns out; we can't proceed until we know that the level is correct.
I'm talking about batches of 4500 gallons of material, of which we produced anywhere from 10-12 a day; lots of money waiting for an electrician.
Well, the main thing was I became emotionally tied to The Dow Chemical Company and it treated me well. I probably wasn't treating the environment too well and, once I became a supervisor, as much as I tried to use positive reinforcement to improve the productivity of my reports, the company had a very defined pay for performance policy and, without a union to help them, my reports needed to be "rated" by us supervisors. We had to have so many "Seldom Meets Job Requirements" and so many "Exceeds Job Requirements", whether they existed in reality or not. So, I helped Dow Chemical screw my former workmates.