Workin’ In A Coal Mine

This classic from Lee Dorsey will forever remind me of upstate New York…

It sure sounded like fun at the conference table…

Talking about Taco’s “Borrow Barba” contest.  Finally paid off last year’s winner – more on that in a bit.  First we need a little back-story.

“Borrow Barba” was the result of a marketing meeting that I missed (now there’s a surprise!). The idea is that some poor sap lucky winner would get me for a day to do whatever work they needed done.  This idea narrowly edged out the “Let’s Use John as a Bottle Rocket” proposal (I gotta stop missing these meetings!).

The first winner was Eric Aune (click here for a write-up).  He won me for a day (2nd place – 2 days), and we had, ummm, fun?

Eric had me wash his truck, mow his lawn, make and serve him lunch (grilled cheese – cut off the crust – and iced tea, extra sweet. He sent it back twice) and, in the ultimate in customer service, auger his water closet (not as much fun as it sounds).

Apparently this little contest caught on, and we had over 850 entries for 2011.

450 of them came from one guy.

Now ordinarily this sort of response would launch a barrage of restraining orders, body guards and the witness protection program, but Terry O’Connell seemed to be a fairly stable and trustworthy dude.  Key word – seemed.

Terry works hydronics for Hulbert Brothers, a first-rate supply house in Plattsburgh, NY.  He had a full day planned.

First, Terry gathered about 45 of his best customers for a full-day hydronics seminar.  There are days when everything comes together – and this was one of them.  When you have a class full of professionals this smart, this inquisitive and this engaging, well, you don’t want the day to end.

But end it did, and that brought us to Part 2 of Terry’s plot.

It started innocently enough – got to look through some blueprints for an upcoming project…

But then the fun started.

Terry’s office needed some, uhhh, shall we say, attention.  Since his office was last straightened out during the Carter administration, it was a bit of a task…

And he needed a couple of jobs laid out using Taco’s FloPro Design software.  As you can see from the picture, Terry was a little behind and needed them done in a hurry. File this one under “the beatings will continue until morale improves..”

Oh, and the break room needed a coat of paint…

Terry also needed some petty cash, so he took advantage of one of my lesser known skills…

And taking a page from the Aune playbook, Terry had one last job for me…

All I can say is someone needs to chew his food better.

And for some reason, this song kept rolling through the frontal lobe with each stroke of the plunger:

A classic from Mr. Zimmerman.  And any similarities between Terry and Maggie are purely coincidental.

All kidding aside, it was great to spend a day with Terry and the folks at Hulbert Brothers — what a class outfit!  If you’re ever up in Plattsburgh, stop by and say hello.

And see if you can’t get that damn safe open!


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