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Rivethead by Ben Hamper

Rivethead by Ben Hamper

Author:Ben Hamper
Language: eng
Format: mobi, epub
Tags: Autobiography
ISBN: 9780446554039
Publisher: Warner Books
Published: 1991-08-15T10:00:00+00:00


7

ANOTHER LAYOFF SWALLOWED ME UP, THIS TIME, THE GRAND-pappy of ‘em all. I was out of work for nearly a year, far too long a span when you stopped to consider Reagan was now in power. Ron wasn't nearly as charitable as our old pal Jimmy Carter. He had his own designs on what he wanted to do with the budget and they surely didn't include funneling any of it into the frayed pocket lining of Joe Lunch-pail. No more safety nets for the urchins of fickle industry.

On the verge of poverty, Dave Steel and I were really beginning to sweat it. We began calling up co-workers who were still clinging to their jobs in the plant. We started hittin’ them up for every two-bit rumor they could hustle down. Bob-A-Lou informed me that there was some heavy chatter making the rounds regarding a new product being introduced at our plant. No one was sure what this mystery vehicle would be, but the grapevine was practically smoldering. Dave was receiving the same scuttlebutt from his sources.

We'd both been fortunate up until then. Each time we'd been shelved, GM reeled us back in just before our benefits were set to dissolve, so our layoffs seemed more like paid vacations. But this was before Reaganomics, before the merry-go-round rusted to a standstill. We weren't carefree spuds anymore. We were thirtyfuckin'something and we had budgets that had entwined themselves around those hefty blue-checkered pay stubs.

All we could do was wait. Wait, wait, wait and pray that the simmering rumors were true. Once again, Richard Dawson's eyes began boring tiny little holes in my skull. I'd jump into my Camaro and drive around aimlessly. It wasn't fair. Eleven months of lame luck for a five foot six and a half meat loaf with red eyes and a soul in need of one colossal enema. Seventh Heaven closed for repairs, please proceed to 7-Eleven for as much overpriced beer as you can lug to your car and drive seven miles outta town, plow ‘em all down and vomit out the T-top as the crows all scream your name. I was experiencing shoprat withdrawal. From thoroughbred to sawhorse. I became the third-base coach for my brother's Little League baseball team. I volunteered to take retards to the zoo. I conned my way into my own radio show on the city's Public Broadcasting station, playing Black Flag and Annette Funicello records for a small cult of adolescent skinheads.

And then…finally…it was HIM! The date: July 26, 1983. The time: 10:00 A.M. EST. The place: General Motors Executive Headquarters, Top Dog Suite, Detroit, Michigan.

In one fluid motion, GM Chairman Roger Smith reared back in his leather chair, cocked his arm high above his head, and hurled the half-eaten remainder of a lemon-filled jelly doughnut out his fourteenth-story window.

A decision had been reached. A nervous smile crept through and replaced the morning-long grimace. Roger Smith—Chairman of the Bored, honcho of a thousand wretched levers—tapped the intercom button for his secretary.

“Miss Henderson, it is time to place the call.



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