Bob (The Most Interesting Man in Iraq) is my life-long frin…
I miss his dumb ass (and ‘dumb-ass’ is a term of endearment where I come from)
If one is lucky, really lucky, one meets maybe one, two, or three or four people in life that transcend funny.
Bob is one such ‘transcendent’ lucky for me.
He saved my fragile sanity.
My mechanic (Of Parsons Mechanic fame) came by to have some ‘chat’ with me:
“Way’ll… I have a natch’ral disaster on my hands.”
“Ok Bob,” I said, “I’m ‘bout to bust with anticipation.”
“Yep. A natch’ral disaster.”
“You mentioned that already.”
“A real-life natch’ral calamity.”
“Do I have time to go to chow while you go through your preamble?”
Ignoring me, he continued, “That Six Kay (‘6K’ as in six thousand pound lifting capacity) forklift is all a-pieces. hamorr’agin’ parts all over th’ place. The Boys (Filipino mechanics times two) tol’ me it was the fuel injector pump. So, I kin’ly smiled and said ‘Okaaay…,’ and let ‘em go at it. They need ta learn how ta fix thangs without me onct in ah’while. Well, they dun got tha’ forklift tore all ta pieces. Now, I dun give ‘em all mornin’ to dick ‘round with it, an’ I’m gonna give ‘em all this aftr’noon to dick ‘round with it some more. Then first thing tomorra, I’m gonna ask ‘em, ‘Boys, how come that forklift ain’t a-workin’ this fine morning?’”
“I’m hip Let’s keep it real.”
“Your ‘personnel management style’ is showing Bob,” I said.
“Yeah, whatever… An’ tomorra’s Thursday. An’ day after that’s Friday. An’ I ain’t doin’ nothin’ on Friday. Tomorra, we gonna start our dee-cent inta th’ day off.”
“Kinda start slowin’ ‘er down ‘round mid-noon time, eh?” I said. (I can do ‘Southern’ just as slick as you please when I want to.)
“X-actly. We start double-clutchin’ and dee-celeratin’ an’ bring her in nice and slow like.”
“And what about my forklift?” I asked, even though I already knew the answer.
“She’s all ‘In’shalah’d’ out Boss.”
“Dead in the water?”
“Send her saddle home.”
“I need to call Baghdad?”
“She ain’t lookin’ none too fav’erble.”
“Call HQ an’ tell ‘em we need another forklift?”
“Now, jes hol’ on. Doan git ’em all wadded jes yet.”
“Ok. I got it. Thanks.”
“We’re Parsons’ Mechanics an’ jes watch how we roll,” he said on his way out the door.
I love my job.
I have a “Ten Kay” forklift that still works. So I should be alright for now. Besides, Bob just loves the drama and we do this little dance everytime there is a crisis in the motor pool. If I were a betting man (And actually I am) I’d wager two of my pay checks that come Friday if that 6K forklift is still down, he’ll be out there bright and early with his boys working on it until it is repaired even if it means giving up his day off. I’ve seen him do that already too many times over the past year and a half he has worked for me. There is no man made of better stuff. An’ he sure do entertain. Yessir, he certainly does. And I’d never have been able to keep the operation afloat without him.
I love all my crew and wouldn’t trade a single one of them for a pile of cash money or a case of Johnny Walker Black with the authorization to drink it.
Feetnote to this story:
After I had been in Mosul for a month, running that camp, they sent me Bob.
Upon seeing him get off the chopper, I ran over and kissed him (not on-the-lips–he is a disgusting individual) But I needed him! To help me run the Goddamn Camp And I had sorely missed him in my life.
This song is dedicated to Bob, wherever he may be:
OK: Ed. Note:
Y’all gotta love how ‘Texan’ this vid is—look at the ‘ensign‘-Texan Flags-behind the sage, er…stage.
(and if you look really close–for you guitar players out there–you will notice the hole in the guitar. Willie tells some stories ’bout the gee-tar. He tells one about a drunken party with Leon Russell in a hotel room, when Leon almost broke it. Willie, in classic form, invited Leon to stop touching that guitar.)
When I am coherent, I may write about that.
And then there is this:
Willie sang, “At the airport in Milwaukee…”
on that: Milwaukeeeee!
Recently Paul died (Willie’s drummer)
But Y’all know that.