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Following the salesman's pointed remark, I saw a blank, hollow look creep over my boss' face. But he didn't say anything, and I turned around and left the room. Later I thought about what the salesman had said, and I suppose he was right, or at the very least he had a good point. If dummies were what we had, or would eventually have, then what did that say about me? Now, all these years later, I'm sitting at my desk contemplating my demise or separation from any future conflict or circumstance of a similar nature, thinking it would be best to leave it all behind and chart a new course. A path without the rapids, perhaps, certainly not the rabid sharks that populate the deep water, the fire coral that inhabits the reefs, the competition for a tasty morsel that could be there for the taking - or snatched away at the last moment by some greedy power hungry bastard or someone more deserving. When the last batch of managers came on board, I remember going down in the plant to a meeting in the maintenance office at 6:30 a.m. I had just walked into the room when Herb Leeman, the Maintenance Supervisor conducting the meeting, asked me what I was doing there. The people expected to be there were the Production Shift Foreman, the Maintenance Foreman, the Electrical Supervisor and possibly the Maintenance Manager, if there were some extenuating circumstances such as a major piece of equipment scheduled down or had been down for some time. Then there was Herb Leeman, seated at his desk like it was a piece of him, or one of the hundreds of tattoos that covered most of the skin surfaces of his body. I was there because the plant was computerized to the point of being automated 90 percent. I filled in for the Electrical Supervisor at times, and I felt my position as the computer guru was an important cog in the plant's machinery. I felt that I needed to be there. I wanted to know what equipment was down, if anything, and what was being planned for the day. But obviously the Maintenance Supervisor didn't think so, or he would not have made such an uninspiring remark at least that was my thinking at that moment. He said, "What are you doing here?" I don't remember my response but it would not have been what was on my mind. His point was well taken and there was no reason for me to try and make a case for anything to the contrary. Thinking that, I tried to put the incident out of my mind and say it wasn't a big deal. But it was. He was trying to push me into a corner or out the door, and it bothered me. But I didn't let it show. One day some time later, the same person called me on my cell phone and screamed into my ear - something about me not answering my phone quickly enough. Hell, I didn't think I was that important to be missed by him or anyone. Still later I learned he was diabetic and was changing to a new prescription. I suppose he was having withdrawal symptoms and might not have been the total asshole I had envisioned him to be. Well, I could go on and on with situation after situation that would have contributed to my thinking at the time - my thoughts contemplating leaving or staying. However, the incidents described in the

Understanding Annuities For Dummies  

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