I kept those two pieces of paper, thinking they might come in handy later and survived that little debacle along with a few others that cropped up over the years - some that could have been avoided, others that were inevitable. Another, although nonrelated, incident occurred when I gave my notice to leave the 2-way shop in Dallas. Sometime after he learned I was leaving, one of the salesmen came by. We talked a while without anything of a substantive nature being discussed. And, had the conversation ended in that manner, I most likely would not have remembered the brief encounter at all. But, before we parted, the salesman ended our casual conversation with an unusual comment. I suppose it would be more accurate to describe the salesman's remarks as more philosophical or a scientific statement of fact, rather than "It's been nice knowing you; I'll see you later" sort of remark. What he said was this. "When a person comes to work for a company, it's like sticking your finger in a bucket of water. There are a few ripples at first, but if you and the company are a good match, the ripples quickly diminish and there is no sign that you are even there." He paused a moment to exchange glances with me before continuing. "Then, when you leave the company," he went on, "it's the same thing but in reverse. You remove your finger from the bucket and the ripples return, but just as quickly they fade away, and there is no real evidence that you were ever there." I scratched my head and starred in puzzlement as the salesman walked away. What was he trying to tell me; that I was a good employee and would be missed; that I was a bad employee and wouldn't be missed; or that my time there didn't matter, regardless? Then there was the incident at the steel mill in Sand Springs a few weeks before I left for Pryor Creek. I had not fully made up my mind to leave when a salesman came into the office and my boss, who was Frank Weigle at the time, was bragging about the work we had done to automate the mill. Weigle was sitting behind his desk; I was standing by the door; and the salesman was seated across from my boss where he could see the both of us. Frank said, "Anyone can run this mill!" The salesman countered, "You mean to tell me that any Tom, Dick or Harry could come in here and do any job out there?" "You damn right," my boss shot back, proudly. "I could bring any swinging dick in here off the street, and he could do any job I've got." The salesman just sat there a moment, switching his gaze from my boss to me without moving his head. Finally, he said, "Well, Frank, if the mill is automated to the point where any dummy can run it...guess who you will have running it soon?"
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