Does this fact of life scare you?

Discussion in 'Et Cetera, Et Cetera' started by midlifebear, Jan 31, 2009.

  1. midlifebear

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    Recently, the kid I spent a great deal of time in high school sucking and fucking with contacted me. I wasn't afraid to see him after more than 40+ years. I was actually very curious. So I invited him to stay with me and The Squeeze while he visited Argentina and Uruguay. And this is what I discover.

    When I was kicked out of high school for being gay he ended up dropping out a year later and joining the Air Force. He was never better than a D+ C- student anyway and his parents thought the discipline would do him good. Instead of becoming meat for the grind during Viet Nam the bright ones running the Air Force led him into the field of aerospace mechanics. Basically, they trained him how to fix broken jets -- all parts, and some helicopters. He left the military after 5 years, married, found work as an automechanic and then finally work with a major US Airline as a mechanic. After 12 years he divorced and married two more times. He's now divorced and taking a combination of some very heavy anti-depressents. He still works for the same airline as a mechanic.

    OK, here's the problem. He still doesn't show any newfound intelligence. In fact, he seems dumber than when he was 16. His stint in the Air Force, in addition to training him how to yank or repair a jet engine, also lent itself for him to develop a serious drug dependence. Now he claims he OK because it's limited to just alcohol and a little marijuana. Trust me, I'm no stranger to ALL illicit drugs, but I sort of grew out of that stage in my life. Plus, I don't practice medicine or work on the Space Shuttle.

    When my friend from my teen age years left yesterday The Squeeze (who speaks no English) asked me what my old friend did for a job. "Hes a jet mechanic," I said. The Squeeze's face froze in horror. "Him?!" he asked with a not too subtle expression of disbelief.

    Although my old friend and I didn't get into the specifics of his work, I still wouldn't trust him changing a light bulb in my house. The idea of him be a mechanic on jet engines, hydraulic motors, and electrical devices on commercial jets doesn't exactly inspire confidence in me. But maybe he is a good mechanic? However, judging from the lapses in his memory during the few days he stayed with us, I doubt it.

    I often fly on the airline for which my old friend works. He did mention that he tends to specialize in 767's and 777's, but works on all air equipment. This scares me. The only way out of here (Buenos Aires) is on a 767 or the occasional 747 to Europe -- but mostly 767's launch out of here. Knowing that my old high school drop out friend has probably had his fingers on every nut and bolt on the aircraft I climb aboard to travel sort of gives me pause.

    Does this fact of life scare you? :confused:
     
  2. B_Nick4444

    B_Nick4444 New Member

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    yup! :yup:
     
  3. B_hardasarokkk

    B_hardasarokkk New Member

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    not at all. just cause the guys a mental midget or a fuckwit in your mind doesnt mean he's not good at what he does. 40 years is a long time and people can change . you may be seeing him as he was and he may be reflecting what you expect to see/hear, but we all move on. When old friends meet its not uncommon for each to revert back to when you each left off.

    P.S. ...get a life.
     
  4. vince

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    Gee thanks midlife... I just got home from a trip on BA that involved 2 777's and a 767. :yikes:

    On the other hand.. my nephew trained as an aircraft mechanic in the Marines and is one of the most intelligent guys I know. He doesn't work for an airline, but he did have offers to.

    Which airline?
     
  5. nudeyorker

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    I'm on the fence with this one. I feel that people are not the same on vacation as on the job. On the other hand, I naively believed that airline employees had random drug screening!
     
  6. Mem

    Mem
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    The fact that he is not a rocket scientist does not scare me. Some people are naturally good at mechanics.

    What are the examples that lead you to conclude that he is dumb?

    I grew up with a friend who dropped out of high school in the ninth grade. I never considered him dumb, (maybe lazy and stupid)I think he may have had some kind of dyslexia or something that was never diagnosed.
     
  7. midlifebear

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    I'm scared, but still on the fence. My worst moment on a plane (there have been more frightening experiences in the air, but this is about those moments of pre-reflection) was getting on a 737 in Las Vegas and having to wait for some mechanical work. I looked out my window and watched two mechanics open a cover over the engine outside my window and pour in four separate quarts of oil. Fifteen minutes later we took off. Four quarts?

    As for my friend being some sort of idiot savant regarding mechanics -- nope. He's a nice enough guy, but obviously bad at making life decisions. Three wives? how many do you need to burn through before you figure it out? And judging from his social skills, if he were a light bulb, you'd have a hard time reading from the illumination.

    As for getting a life. I've got a damn good one. I want to keep it as long as possible, too. I assumed that all airlines required drug testing for their employees, especially those with sensitive jobs such as repairing jet engines.
     
  8. B_hardasarokkk

    B_hardasarokkk New Member

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    Ahahahahahahhehehehehe!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Midlifebear you break me up.
     
  9. NCbear

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    I'm far more concerned about the dim bulbs in medicine, education, and politics. :eek:

    NCbear (who can in fact choose alternative transportation other than airlines, most of the time)
     
  10. BiItalianBro

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    That is an amusing but SCARY story Midlife...let me just touch on a few points.
    First, taking anti-depressants and working for an airline in this day & age go hand-in-hand...and im only half-kidding lol. A career in aviation is more of a calling than a commitment. Allot of home lives have been impacted with layoffs, trips in and out of BK court, pay cuts, work rule changes, etc. Honestly, lots of us still do what we do because there is nothing like the smell of Jet-A in the morning...but it sure as hell aint the paycheck<what is left of it> or job security. Drug and alcohol abuse is the industries dirty little secret...and yes, some people slip by for a while but it catches up with them. The FAA,JAA, TransportCanada etc. ALL mandate random drug testing, and allot of personnel (management AND line employees) have been highly trained to spot behaviors of OFF duty and on duty chemical abuse.

    The other thing is that I also know people who are damn good at what they do...but are totally up their own ass when it comes to common sense. Take my exwife (please) LOL. She is an OB-GYN and knows her shit...enuding years of intellectual and physical hell to get where she is today. Does she have any idea what she makes annually? Does she know how to read a contract? Does she know what kind of water temp you wash whites in? God love her...NO. Your buddy may be one of those folks who has mastered one aspect of his life (his trade) while flunking the rest. On the flip side, I am sure you know people who are very bright but have never held a job for more than 18 months. I sure do LOL.

    Finally, lets assume your buddy is a total squirrel fuck, even on the job. Despite sensational news stories about aviation safety, there are globally practiced processes in place to make sure that no one person has sign-off on safety related items; lots of checks and balances are in place. The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), a UN directorate, polices standards & practices at mx repair shops around the world. Even the outsourced ones. When countries fail to bring safety standards within their sovereignty up to par...they face very stiff sanctions...up to and including being banned from other nations airspace. About ten days ago Israel, of all places, was put on notice to clean it up or face a no-fly ban in the EU and USA. They publish weekly updates on their website (icao.int).

    So next time you fly up north on a 767-300...look for me (i fly EZE allot) and rest assured...we do not want to harm you, since we need you business, and your money, on future flights :wink:
     
  11. midlifebear

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    Dear BiItalianBro:

    Thanks for the input. I've had an uneasy feeling in my gut for the last few years about flying, especially when EZEIZA went two years, off and on, without working RADAR. The Argentine Government assures everyone that it works now. But I haven't believed anything from my OWN government for decades so why believe the Kirchners?

    I hear you about the layoffs, decrease in pay, and the way ground and in-the-air employees are suffering. It breaks my heart to have a woman five years older than me kneel down next to my business-class seat and say "Hi, I'm your in-flight leader for this evening." and have to rattle off a bunch of sales pitch crap when I'd rather she take that "personal" time to talk about "in the event . . . " safety stuff. You know the woman has been working for 30+ years in the business being treated like shit and people still treat her like she's a waitress. Not.

    But in these days of layoffs and "great decisions by guys in gray suits" who seem to just blow air in the tunnel of the winds (corporate headquarters) one would think that safety and keeping employees happy and productive on the job would be more important that what colors to repaint the entire fleet this year. Possibly you lucked out in Kentucky getting a job with Air Canada? :wink: That's a decent outfit for escaping the faded, hot and humid elegance of BsAs when the need arises, on a 12-hour joint-paralyzing non-stop flight. The other two northern airlines are American and Delta. Delta does a fair job, but if they are not deep-cleaning their planes every 30 days one wonders what else they may be skimping on. I remember reading last year that US-based airlines were recommending only flying with the amount of fuel necessary to get from A to B, and to Hell with the potential that the plane might need to get to C in an emergency.

    One of my first big-paying jobs out of the white tower world of academics was as a technical writer for Boeing where we constantly redeveloped and refined the FOMM style (functionally oriented maintenance manual) for the engineers and mechanics who built the planes. Essentially, we laid out manuals so a mechanic could look down with his greasy or otherwise occupied hands up in the guts of a plane and not have to worry about turning pages to follow all or most of the steps in a maintenance procedure. We did a lot of field testing of those manuals and most amusing of all is that the Military finally changed their manual specs (originally requiring they be written for someone with an 8th grade education) so someone with a 10th grade reading level could follow the lettered procedures. (Note: Numbered procedures would get mixed up with numbered parts, so letters worked better.) MILSPECS (last I checked) are still following our original FOMM style format. Plus, imagine what a boon adding color was with the advent of color photocopy printers. Talk about Buck Rogers and the 21st Century!

    During that same time my best friend worked in a re-fabrication section of McDonnel/Douglas in Long Beach, CA. When I asked him what it was that he did he gave me a frightened look and said "Whatever it takes. Sometimes we receive aircraft parts that have been tooled so poorly we simply put them on the floor and jump up and down on them until we can get them to fit." And he was not kidding. One wonders what the original machinists were smoking?

    I actually hope the best for my old high school friend. He was pleasant enough. But I'm quite certain I could see the fear of his need to make it to retirement in his eyes. It gave me pause. :redface:

    There are other airlines with newer fleets that I can fly. LAN Chile, for example. Or Panama's newly outfitted fleet. Only Argentines are loyal to Aerolineas Argentina, primarily because the government gives Argentine citizens a discount. Aerolineas Argentina is famous for two things: 1. having one of the best safety records of any airline and 2. the oldest original equipment of any fleet. They still fly a couple of original 747s from the early 1970's and have a special arrangement with Boeing employees to keep those aging ladies alive. Still, like the natives say, "Un día, solo un día." :rolleyes:
     
    #11 midlifebear, Jan 31, 2009
    Last edited: Jan 31, 2009
  12. BiItalianBro

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    WOW so you do have a good idea of what goes on "under the hood" so to speak. And yes, we share allot of the same concerns. Trust me. I work for the 3rd North American airline serving EZE that is based in Chicago (where I live mostly) btw. You know...the one that proudly ranks last in everything now :mad: thanks to all that expensive "talent" that came from the oil industry and other failed airlines. Hmmmmm. I keep a house in Louisville KY because my ex and kids live there, and its just a 50 min flight to go 'home'.

    And why would you not believe everything the Kirchners & Justicialistas say?? :eek::rolleyes::smile: LOL jejejejeje

    I have deep family ties to Argentina (my people are those crazy italians...speaking spanish who wish they were british but act like they're french) , so trust me...I totally 'get it'.
     
  13. Not_Punny

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    Love ya, Bear, but I think you're being a little harsh. I don't know ANYONE older than 40 who is completely free of alcohol and/or drugs.

    Trust me, pot is a saint compared to some prescription drugs that people take.

    And to doubt his performance because he's been married three times? At least he had good intentions towards those women, unlike other men who bang up women and then brag about it.

    * scratches head *
     
  14. midlifebear

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    Oh . . . my . . . gawd! Your Alberto, The Squeeze's younger brother who married a Southern Belle, had kids, divorced, and "says" he's studying in Boston but is actually working somewhere in the USA? My long lost brother-in-law. We MISS YOU!! LOL!

    Seriously, you understand the different world of the porteños. They are either happy or angry: no levels of gray. You always know where you stand with them, whether you like it or not. LOL! And the inmigration of so many Itialians (over 10 million in a population of about 48 million) has definitely had a positive effect upon the general size of the mens folk penises.

    Quite honestly, I'm amazed at the finesse of the air controllers down here who, despite all of the manisfestaciones y rechazas del gobierno do a remarkable job with probably a 10th of the resources available to men and women with the same jobs in the USA. And I definitely feel for you if your working for that "one" airline from the north keeps reinventing itself, giving bonuses to the corporate dickheads while everyone under them suffers.

    Some folks think I'm being too harsh and snobbish regarding my old friend. I just have to say that I remember the day (and I have nothing agaist pot smokers, they often make good fact checkers) when I requested for a change at my job as a technical editor for a medical informatics company. That company still makes the de facto lab tracking and patient care software in the USA and I noticed, to my chagrin, that I was letting things slip that if they made it to print had the potential to kill someone; the wrong quantity of a medication, for example. There's a big difference between 10 mgs and 1 cc. But it was also part of my work contract to notify coworkers of their mistakes as well as they notify me of mine. I no longer wanted the responsibility of possibly making a mistake that might have killed someone.

    After all, it was an ad hoc piece of metal (not even a spec replacement part) that some mechanic had hobbled together to fix a space behind the engine cowling of a Continetal long-haul jet that fell off onto the tarmac in France, punctured the tire of Air France's/British Airways STS causing one of the tires to ignite upon take off and burn a hole through the wing metal that was responsible for the only supersonic passenger jet service in the world to come to a halting stop. After more than thirty years they were going to retire those STS's anyway, but it was a small strip of metal that fell off of another plane that caused the tragedy of a supersonic jet that was otherwise in perfect condition. Of course, it could have been a flock of geese, too, as we all noticed recently when an A300 splashed down near midtown Manhattan.

    Just saying that maybe my old high school friend should be thinking of others instead of his retirement. :frown1:
     
  15. CUBE

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    I would report him...hands down. I think people flying deserve a safe ride
     
  16. BiItalianBro

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    LMAO....good to see you too Midlifebear, but I am not Alberto. Soy Eric jeje
    I have some of the personality traits that typify my heritage but Im a bit more laid back then my porteño brothers. My last trip down a few weeks ago I saw a near riot break out at a Carrefour supermercado over something stupid...i think they were out of buffala queso or something.

    I dont think you are being a snob about your friend...your concerns are valid. I hope (fuck that, i PRAY) that his area of expertese is on non-safety related mx processes & that the system will work and he will be weeded out. When Beverly (my ex) was doing her internship/residency we partied with allot of her colleagues who had rotations starting in a matter of HOURS. That really bothered me.

    Yea, Concorde's tragedy was a major wake up call over mx standards...it was a tragic convergence of events that led to the 'accident chain' <overweight Condorde with inherent design flaw that was well documented long before this accident > unapproved part falling off a DC10 > runway not inspected for FOD > strike occuring past v1 > that killed over a hundred souls and the SST programme. Life is full of what ifs and hypotheticals...like you said it could have been large birds or whatever. IF that A320-200 bird strike had been ten seconds earlier that plane would have gone down in the Bronx, not the Hudson. IF i slip in the shower i might crack my skull open...dosent mean Im going to stop bathing though.

    Es una dia, solo una dia =)
     
  17. D_Bob_Crotchitch

    D_Bob_Crotchitch New Member

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    Whoa come here and let me help you straighten all that out. :wink:
     
  18. midlifebear

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    Thanks everyone, (especially my ersatz brother-in-law who "says" his name is Eric, je je je) for the comments and advice. I don't think I'm willing to ruin my old friend's career by writing a letter to his airline, but I might write a letter to him; inviting him back so I might broach the subject in person. One thing for certain, he is terribly unhappy. He commented during one of his more inebriated moments that he envied me and he probably would have been happier if he were gay. I have no idea if he's so inclined. He didn't show any interest when he was visiting. But who knows? His kids are all grown and his ex wives are paid off. And he certainly had no problem enjoying getting fucked when he was 16. I insist there's plenty of potential to change his otherwise unhappy existence, and I don't mean by just exploring his potential for being gay. Lord knows, we gay seniors have enough problems with twinkies thinking we should be all put in concentration camps so they don't have to see us at the gay nude beaches. But they're young and don't realize we can see the stretch marks around their little butt holes! LOL! But I digress.

    Yup, I think I need to convince my old friend to spend some sky miles and visit again when we're in Barçelona this spring. I'm sure his job skills could be transferred to something else less stressful. From what I could discern, he doesn't really enjoy it and regards it as "just a job." Probably time for a positive change in his life. Maybe he can retire early or take advantage of an early retirement buyout package and take it easy for a while.


    Anyway, thanks everyone.

    Oh, yes . . . and may our skies continue to remain friendly.
     
    #18 midlifebear, Feb 1, 2009
    Last edited: Feb 1, 2009
  19. D_Bob_Crotchitch

    D_Bob_Crotchitch New Member

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    What kind of person comes online and trash talks their friend?
     
  20. Denby

    Denby New Member

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    Doesn't scare me. I realize most people running the world and flying airplanes and doing other things aren't too bright. No use getting scared about it.
     
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