Slinging a smooth Stone

C.F. David

We need to be safe...everywhere

I’ve been on my own, and working at one job or another, (sometimes three at once), for the past 41 years.

Since I am a child of “The 60s” I often use the excuse that I was trying to find myself. In any case I have bounced from job to job often many in one year. Until I went to work for the government, where I worked for not quite 23 years, the longest I had held one job was just over 12 months.

Being a man with a family to feed, quite often I worked one full-time job while holding down one or two part-time jobs.

Jobswise, I have been “reincarnated” as a variety of things; I’ve been a pipeliner, truckdriver, gasoline plant operator, a helium plant operator, a fast food worker and manager, and criminal background researcher, among a myriad of other things.

Sometimes I took the job solely because I needed the money, sometimes because I needed the money and the job interested me, and sometimes for where it would take me.

One type of job that “interested me and was going to take me to interesting places” was that of security guard. I first applied to the Pinkerton Security Agency because they were looking for guards at the old Amarillo, Texas Dragstrip and I wanted to get paid to watch the drags. Up to that time the background search that I underwent for Pinkerton was as rigorous as anything I’d have until I applied to work for the government. Not many companies are so thorough however.

While at the drags, I got to see several of the 60s and 70s superstars of drag racing, Shirley Muldowny, The Hawaiian, Don Garlits and Caroll Caudle among others. But much of the time I was on the fringes making sure that kids didn’t climb the fence.

But once the Pinkerton money had me, I worked at lot less exciting places baby-sitting card punching computers and beef and hogs awaiting slaughter at an East Third slaughter house in Amarillo.

We weren’t supposed to be armed, but quite often, especially at the slaughter house, some of the guards clandestinely armed themselves. One loved to “mace” hobos off the fence as they climbed looking for the smoked meat they could smell from the tracks.

I used my security experience in a couple of other places including what is now the Swift Plant in Cactus, Texas. Times have changed since then, but I’m afraid the job probably hasn’t. We now have a constant threat of a variety of terrorist targets be it a plane into a building or some sort of agricultural or medical threat. Let’s face it, we now have men and women, young and old standing in for us on what might be the front lines of the war on terror. They are underpaid, undertrained and probably underutilized, and nothing will change until someone dies.