After I left the power plant and went to work for Dell on August 20, 2001, I wrote letters back to my friends at the plant letting them know how things were going. This is the twenty fourth letter I wrote.
03/01/02 – Old man at Dell
Hello friends from the Arctic Tundra of Oklahoma,
I just wanted to fill you guys in on the oldest and ricketiest old man on our team. Last week I told you guys that we had received two new people on our crew and that I am no longer the “New Guy”. This week I wanted to tell you about the “oldest guy” on our team. He is quite a character, and I don’t think he would mind tooooo much if I talked about him. As a matter of fact, I told him I was going to write to you guys about him, and he didn’t seem to mind. At least he didn’t tell me not to, so I took that as a “yes”.
I asked this old guy what he thought about being the oldest guy on our team and this is what he had to say: “I don’t know what all the hubbub is about being the oldest guy on the team. I don’t look all that old,” he said, as he checked to make sure his dentures were in straight, and his pants weren’t pulled up too high on his chest.
This guy dresses about the same as everyone else, but he does have a few indicators that he may be getting on in years. — Understand that when I say that he is old, I’m not saying that he was born back in the same era when Gene Day was a youngster. — In fact, he’s probably young enough to have Gene Day as his daddy (though, let’s not condemn him to that doom, even in our imagination. — Gene knows that we all love him, and we understand that his alzheimer’s has gotten a little out of hand these past few decades, so we tend to overlook some of his — well, his blatant errors in judgement, as well as his drooling while he eats). — I only say those things about Gene so that he will write more often.
Anyway. Like I said, there are a few things that this old man does that indicates that he is getting a little on in years. For one thing, he reminisces a lot. — That means that he talks about all the things he used to do. — This brings to mind an old man that worked as a contract helper at Sooner Plant once named “Bill Boyd”.
I’m sure those from the electric shop remember him well. One day Bill was telling us about one of the many jobs that he had worked on, and Andy Tubbs said, “I don’t believe you did that!” Bill Boyd was so taken aback that he asked Andy, “What did you say? What do you mean you don’t believe me?” Andy said, “If you did all the things you say you did, you would have to be 150 years old!”
To tell you the truth. He did look close to 150 years old to me. I remember walking in the electric shop office one morning and hearing a ticking sound. I said, “Bill. I think you’re ticking.” — He said, “Oh. You can hear that too? That’s my pacemaker.” It sounded like his pacemaker was made of a little wind-up hammer constantly doing CPR on his chest.
Note to Reader: To learn more about Bill Boyd, read this Power Plant Man Post: Power Plant Raven Comes Home to Roost
Anyway. I heard this old man on our team telling the new hires the other day that for years and years he used to be the youngest guy on his crew, then one day he looked around, and everyone was younger than him. What a thought.
There is another thing that this old man does that tells me that he’s not the spring chicken he might suppose. He drives a fairly old, kind of grungy car, and he’s not embarrassed parking it right next to everyone else’s Jaguars and Corvettes and Mercedes in the parking lot. He just pulls up with his loose squealing fan belt and the squeaking struts, and grinding brakes and comes clunking along into the parking lot every morning, just as proud as can be. — A sure sign that this old man has a loose screw somewhere else than just on his car.
Which reminds me. When I have time, I need to get my brakes worked on. When driving on the freeways in Austin, brakes are very important. — I think they call them Freeways because when everyone leaves work at the end of the day, they have this attitude that they have just been freed from prison, and they are all excited to get home as quickly as possible, and nothing is going to stop them. Not even the 400,000 cars in front of them.
It is at times like this where good brakes are essential. — Forget the advertisements about how a car can go from Zero to 60 miles an hour in 5 point 2 seconds. Around here you need one that will go from 80 to Zero in 40 feet!!!
Anyway. What was I talking about? Sometimes I just can’t remember like I used to. Oh yeah. I was talking about this old man on our team. Ok. So you probably have already guessed. Yes you are right. I am the oldest person.
Yes. I found out the other day that the guy that looked like he was about 55 with gray hair and wrinkles was actually only 37 years old. He just smokes a lot. So guess what. I left Sooner Plant as the Youngest electrician for 18 years, to become the oldest programmer on my team at Dell.
I hope everything is going well with all of you guys. How will the place run without the quick thinking determined decisions from Jasper Christensen? I hope he has an enjoyable life — in the “real” world.
Your friend from Dell,
Kevin James Anthony Breazile
Kevin J. Breazile
Programmer Analyst II
Dell Computer Corporation