MIKEY DID IT (Guest Post by Paul Curran)

The doctor says I need to rest, take my antibiotics, and drink lots of fluids.  I’m all for sleeping all day whenever I can.  While I head off for my next power nap, please enjoy another of Paul Curran’s wonderful stories.

Paul Curran, we want to hear from you again.

MIKEY DID IT

By Paul Curran

Mike came to us from a Truck Driver Training School. He was one of their best teachers and he wanted to drive with the best.

And that was us – a small boutique tanker company that did contract and on-demand work for all the oil companies. I was their Regional Safety Director and did all the hiring, training and much of the disciplinary action including termination.

Mike had all the paper credentials, experience and records that it took to open the door. He stood about 5 foot 6 inches and had a round friendly face with round spectacles and a round body to match, His interview went well, and he demonstrated a good knowledge of all the required topics along with a positive  cheerful demeanor.

And so we scheduled a test drive – a route that I had determined for the specific purpose of checking driver skills on as many different road types and in as many traffic conditions as possible. I took a lot of ribbing from the management about my test drives as they often lasted more than 3 hours and the drivers came back worn out. They used to laugh about the applicants being “run hard and put away wet”, a reference to a horse being driven to its limits while having the rider on his back the whole time.

 

Test Drive with a Super B Tanker

 

When Mike and I set out on the test drive, I first had him stop and I bought each of us a coffee. I went over the route and explained what I expected in each section, and I gave him a copy of the rating sheets that I would be using to determine his mark. We used a highway tanker that was empty. His skills with a loaded trailer – which he had on paper – would be rated by his assigned trainer if he passed the driving test.

Mike started off well, and I felt comfortable with his driving. When we entered Chinatown where the streets were narrow, the traffic slow and the pedestrians many, a young man on a bicycle passed us on the inside while we waited at a stop light. When we got going we caught up to him but there wasn’t room to pass safely so Mike had to wait until there was a break in the oncoming traffic in order to move over and go by carefully. We hit another stop light red and the cyclist passed again on the inside. Again we caught him and again Mike had to wait for a break to go by. We stopped at the next light and sure enough the cyclist went by again. And once more we had to wait behind him to get by. Mike was getting very frustrated and started to mutter. I turned to him and said: “That cyclist that I paid $10 to annoy you is doing a good job isn’t he?” He looked at me with wide eyes and a dropped jaw. I grinned and told him I was just kidding and he settled down.

 

Ottawa Chinatown

 

When I looked back on this, I realized that it was an omen – bad things happened to Mike and he inevitably came out OK of situations that were very challenging. The problem was that Mike knew this and to a certain extent he became paranoid. As so often became the case, Mike had a gut-wrenching problem to share with me when we had finished the test drive. He must have gotten to trust me during our 3 hours together and chose to bare his soul. Apparently he had had a dream a few nights before in which his 5 year old daughter fell off the balcony of their apartment to her death. He told me he was going to move. I said that he could lock the balcony door or install fencing from the railing to the top of the balcony or any number of solutions. He asked if I had ever had a premonition as a dream, that had come true and I had to admit that I had but I added that I had also avoided accidents by changing behavior. Dreams were only warnings to my mind, they may be premonitions but they could be changed by the dreamer so it did not happen in real life. He said that if there was even a miniscule chance that it could come true, he had to move, for how would he feel if it happened?

And so Mike made his way through 4 weeks of tanker training and passed his government tests and the oil companies tests and the hazardous goods tests and the defensive driving tests and so on. He was rated high by his trainers and it came the day he would go out on his own. We put him on a local run working hauling within the city with a 4-axle, 5 compartment tanker. This was the smallest we had as most of our trailers were doubles – two trailers hooked together. He loaded gas and diesel in separate compartments and went to his first delivery. In short order he was calling and he was very upset. When I calmed him down he said he had smelled diesel in the gas storage of the station during his delivery. He did all the right things – shut down the delivery, went onto the station and had them close down the pumps (diesel in a gas engine and vice versa will destroy it) and he called me. I notified our customer’s head office, reported to my boss and the corporate safety director and set out to the site with clean up material.

 

Fuel Delivery to Station

 

When I arrived, I sniffed the gas storage tank and it reeked of diesel. He had only been delivering gas when he noticed the smell. I checked everything he had done and the compartment levels and determined we had put about 2,000 gallons of diesel in the gas storage but had caught it before it got into any vehicles. I ordered a tanker with only 5,000 gallons of fresh gas aboard plus a pump truck. While we were waiting I called my boss as Mike stood nearby. My boss went ballistic – this would cost about $30,000 to put right and he was livid, He was screaming at me so loud that I had to hold the phone away from my ear. He blamed the driver and called him stupid and incompetent and terminated. There were many, many swear words in there as well. With every passing minute Mike was turning paler and paler. I told my boss that I had reviewed all of Mike’s actions and could find no flaw in his procedure – that I suspected a valve failure. This just set my boss off again and I became incompetent and stupid and lousy at my job – although I did not get terminated. This did not rattle me as he was a very passionate boss for better or worse. I felt comfortable that we had covered all the bases.

EDITOR’S NOTE:  Truck depicted in the above photo did not belong to the company referred to in this post.  It’s a really good photo, though, isn’t it?

We pumped out the affected tank into the arriving truck, replaced the product with the 5,000 gallons of fresh gas and convoyed the two tankers, the pump truck and myself back to the yard. Our boss had checked with head office and they wanted all the product, even the mixed, loaded back into one tanker and taken to our head office where they could use it for heating. We chose to transfer the product into the replacement truck as it was bigger and could go on to load once empty at the head office. As we were doing this, I climbed up on the top of the offending tanker, opened all the hatches and watched. Sure enough, the pump operator was hooked to a gas compartment and the diesel was draining out. I hollered for him to stop and I raced into the office and grabbed the boss by the arm and told him he had to see this. I dragged him out to the tankers hooked together by hoses and cables and showed him the diesel valve switch was closed, and then made him climb up on top even though he complained that he was afraid of heights. I ordered the pump operator to restart and as he did I showed the boss that the diesel was going down while the valve was closed. Mystery solved – this trailer that was less than a year old had had a valve failure on a part that was rated for life. Not only was the driver blameless, but his sensitive nose and quick actions had saved the company a fortune because none of the mixed product got into cars.

Mike not only got to keep his job, but he got a commendation for his actions put into his file for professional work. And so it was with Mike. He would call regularly in some of the most obscure and unheard of situations and he would always come out smelling like roses regardless of how dark and serious the situation seemed.

 

Black Ice

 

Then one cold winter night he was driving a full load of gas on a rural road when he crested a hill and hit black ice. The tanker went sideways when he tried to slow down and he was travelling 40 mph sideways, with the tractor bumper plowing snow on the right side and the rear of the two trailers, plowing snow on the left side. With 15,000 gallons of gasoline aboard the truck had a huge amount of inertia, weighing about 140,000 pounds. Before Mike could get the rig straight, a car came over a facing hill traveling the opposite direction. When he saw the tanker coming sideways, the car driver drove into the snowbank. The tanker missed the car by inches, covering it with snow from the bank. Mike got the truck stopped and when he had caught his breath and parked on the side, he went back to check the car. He had to dig out the driver’s side door to ascertain that everyone was OK. They attached a chain from the car to the tanker and pulled it out of the snowbank. Upon inspection it was determined that there was not one single mark on either vehicle. Incredible and unheard of but 100% Mike.

 

Safety Meeting

 

We had a mandatory semi-yearly safety meeting the following week and Mike came to see me. I was presenting and running the meeting so I arranged to see him afterwards. We sat in my car for privacy and he told his story. He said that the black ice had scared him too much. He was no longer feeling comfortable hauling gas. I pointed out that he had done all the right things and there had been no damage. It was a lesson about being more aware of black ice and that he had learned the lesson and could move on. He said that he had a 5 year old daughter and did not want her to grow up without a father. I pointed out that we had never had anyone killed and personal harm was very rare. Mike insisted that his luck was not good enough for this job and that he would rather flip burgers knowing he would be home safely every night. I asked him to remember that his daughter learned from his behavior and did he really want her working at partial potential when she grew up because she had learned from him that no risk was acceptable. I also pointed out that there had recently been a man in Florida who had been asleep in his own bed – the lowest risk scenario possible – when a sink hole swallowed his bedroom and killed him.

It was not possible to reduce risk to zero and he was well trained and smart and competent and aware of all the risks and how to minimize them. But he was too badly scared and my arguments just ran off without any impact. I felt that regardless of his apparent ability to get into strange situations, he had always done a good job for us. He tendered his resignation that day and I wished him the very best. I heard later that he went back to training drivers.

 

Women Drivers

Nadine Gauthier, a former truck driver, is working on behalf of Quebec’s trucking association to encourage more women and girls to consider careers as truck drivers. (Web Site: http://www.torontosun.com/2016/05/18/trucking-industry-struggles-to-attract-next-generation-of-drivers)

Women Drivers: Good To Have, Hard to Get

What would you, my reader, do in such a situation? Would you choose a less risky job or would you take the close call as a learning experience and continue on? Do tell!

 

2016 International with US Tanker

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Paul Curran and I love to hear from our readers.  You may comment on this post, comment on my Facebook or Twitter pages, or email me at cordeliasmom2012@yahoo.com

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Images are linked back to original source (source identified below image).

 

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61 Responses to MIKEY DID IT (Guest Post by Paul Curran)

  1. Paul says:

    Thank you so very much for the opportunity to guest post CM. I am honored.

    Like

  2. Ah, what a fun post! Somewhat amusing, I cannot think of anything more risky and terrifying than training new truck drivers! That sounds almost as bad as being a drivers ed teacher in a high school, except with a much larger vehicle. The worst job I can think of is to work for the DOL giving people driving tests. I had the opportunity to become a school bus driver once, but I turned it down. Driving a bus and listening to children all day is not my idea of a good time. My nerves shudder just thinking about it. Once again, personal perception is everything. Generally truck driving if relatively safe, whereas working as a clerk in a convenience store is actually rather dangerous. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Paul says:

      Hi IB! Thank you so much for dropping by. I am honored. You are right, risk is a matter of awareness and preparation. Personally I’d rather control my destiny by driving than be a sitting duck in a convenience store, waiting for a robbery. When it comes to training, we only trained fuel hauling – the drivers had to have 5 years experience with 3 years on multi axle trailers, with a clean record before we would even interview them. I’m pleased that you enjoyed the post. Please drop by again

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Glad Mike decided to continue training drivers.
    Thinking along the lines of dreams and changing outcomes, Hubby used to have nightmares about me and the dog being attacked by rats and being unable to protect us. I told him to teach me how to shoot (air rifle, and bottle tops don’t stand a chance now) and the dreams stopped.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Paul says:

      Hi Pensitivity! Thank you so much for dropping by for a read. i am honored. Yes, what you said about your dream is exactly the way I see them as well. What we do in our daily life affects our dreams and vice versa – they are not two separate worlds. I had a recurring dream about driving a tractor-trailer and realizing I didn’t have sufficient brakes when descending a mountain. In the dream I went off the side of the mountain to my death. It made me more aware of truck brakes and I now check them carefully before moving any truck. i have caught numerous malfunctions that way and the dream went away.

      Thanks again for the visit Please come again.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Thanks for your response Paul. Have a great weekend. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Archon's Den says:

        I remember driving in the mountains in Kentucky and Tennessee, and seeing the run-out lanes with sand piles, carved back up the sides. A few had tracks that showed someone had needed them, and been towed out. 😯

        Liked by 1 person

        • Paul says:

          Oh yeah – if you need to use one of those, your problems are just beginning. First, the driver is charged with losing control of his/her vehicle. Then the truck is pulled out – at driver cost. Then it is inspected and if there is a mechanical reason for the loss of control- like poorly adjusted brakes, you receive a fine for that. Quite often, if the truck is loaded heavy, it will sink into the sand/gravel and the bottom drags on the ground, stopping the vehicle but also causing lot of damage – sometimes $10,000 or more. It is indeed a last choice but when you are desperate the run-offs will save your life.

          Liked by 1 person

  4. Victo Dolore says:

    I have always told myself that the second I get sued, I am quitting medicine. The anxiety builds each year. When is my luck going to run out? Sometimes I think about quitting before that happens….

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Great story! I’ve dealt with brake failure driving my 34 foot aged Winnibego. Thankfully after choosing where I should hit- tree, fence, parked car or busy T intersection, the vigorous reapplication of brake succeeded in stopping us. Inches to spare. Still driving, but I pay very close attention to my brake health!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Hi moonwatcher51! Great to see you dropping by for a visit. I am honored. Yes, brakes are the most critical for operation. There are many other factors but for sure brakes are number 1. Thanks so much for reading and I am pleased that you enjoyed the story. Please drop in again.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. 1jaded1 says:

    Hi Paul. I’m glad Mike is doing well the last time you heard. This can apply to life as well. When I started to drive in earnest, I was hit 3 times in 5 years. I also hydroplaned on the freeway. Later, on one trip home, i somehow sneaked through a white out nightmare that ensnared 52 vehicles. I could hear the crunch of collisions and waited for my turn. People asked if I was afraid to drive. I really didn’t think about it and years later, I’m still driving. Snow and ice freak me out though. That young coworker from my post recently had 2 accidents. She is now taking public transpo and refuses to drive. Sometimes you gotta do what you think is best. Always good to read you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Thanks so much for dropping by 1Jaded1. It is a pleasure to have you comment. It can be scary sometimes -I guess that is one of the reasons why I believe in a higher power – I quite often cannot see what is coming and I’ll take any help I can get. 😀 Indeed you are right, we should only do what we feel safe doing. When i drive, I drive that way and if the situation does not seem safe at any speed I get off the road. I’m glad you enjoyed the post and I hope you’ll visit again. I have a guest post over at Mark Bialczak’s tomorrow as well. I’d be honored if you had the time to drop by https://markbialczak.com/ Thank You.

      Liked by 1 person

  7. Elyse says:

    I wouldn’t ever consider driving a truck filled with gasoline or diesel. That’s a risk I won’t take. But other risks I do and have taken. Life is full of risks and benefits, and different people react differently just as they choose differently.

    The biggest risk I ever took was my 1982 surgery which was brand spankin’ new. 100 had been done in the world and I was my doctor’s 7th. Now it’s relatively commonplace!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      It’s true, we all have a different risk profile. Thanks for coming by Elyse. It’s a pleasure to have you here. That was a serious risk you took with the operation = I’m glad it worked out. Most of the risks associated with hauling gas and diesel have been discovered – one accident at a time. Our tankers were manufactured in Toronto and every time there was an accident the manufacturers showed up to take pictures and see how their tank did. Even though they were made of aluminum, they were engineered very strong. We actually had a fully loaded tanker rear ended at highway speeds (he was stopped in a construction zone) and there was not one drop of gas spilled. The truck doing the hitting was demolished and the driver sent to hospital. It crushed the wheel assembly on our trailer and drove it forward under the trailer. But the tank itself did not have a scratch. Amazing. We trained our drivers carefully and thoroughly and constantly and we rarely had incidents – most of our problems came from unforeseeable problems, like Mike’s valve problem.

      So we covered risks as much as possible and constantly updated. Some drivers could not tolerate the thought of all that fuel behind them and they couldn’t do the job. Some driver – like me – loved it. Thanks again Elyse – please drop by again.

      Liked by 1 person

  8. Dan Antion says:

    Great stories Paul. I look at it and think of all the people that were lucky Mike was driving. There’s lots of ways to look at things. I always tend to look for the bright side.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Thanks so much for dropping by Dan. i am honored. Yes,Mike was a skilled and careful driver – it was sad that he lost hos confidence but it happens. I’m pleased you enjoyed the post. Please come by again.

      Liked by 1 person

  9. ksbeth says:

    that sounds like a nightmare to me –

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Well,there are those who do have nightmares about hauling fuel. I did a rough poll once and found that only 1 in 5 truck drivers was willing to haul fuel. That limited our potential; employee base considerably. The drivers were well trained and had to have at least 5 years accident free to even apply. They were paid by the hour and told to take the time they needed to do their work safely.

      There is only one way to stop a slide like Mike had – and that is to speed up and pull the trailers straight. That seems counter intuitive until you experience what happens when you try to slow down in the situation. Drivers seldom make that mistake twice. The key is to always drive a bit slower than conditions allow.That leaves you a speed buffer to deal with jackknives if they occur. If you are driving as fast as you can and the truck jackknifes, you are screwed.

      This and much more is expected knowledge for a professional fuel hauler. The drivers can be told over and over but until they experience it it doesn’t sink in- it is emotional and motor control learning. Mike would have been fine after that. The problem was that he didn’t know what else awaited him out there. To be quite honest with you most fuel haulers are very safety conscious, are well trained and informed of any new skills or techniques they need AND believe in God. Few are religious but most believe there is a higher power that will keep them safe if they are diligent.

      Like

  10. List of X says:

    “He went back to training drivers” – you mean he got a bicycle to pass trucks on the inside to see how they react? 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Bwahaha! There is quite a difference in perspective from one seat to the other – funny how that 2 feet can make things look so much more serious. Teaching new drivers is all about spatial awareness and forming good habits. Think of it as laying down a concrete foundation on which the house will be built. It takes a different set of skills and attitudes than doing the final trim work. Mike’s dedication to routine and his patience would be excellent skills to impart to new drivers. Learning how to handle loaded double trailers on black ice is a skill best absorbed after many years of experience and practice with smaller units.

      Like

  11. Hi Paul, this job is too risky for a cat. I think I’ll just stay home and relax on the couch….LOL!
    BTW, get well soon, CM! NBC, ฅ(≚ᄌ≚)

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Wow. I feel for Mike. To have that kind of fear and worry, it sounds like he did the right thing for him. I don’t really know what I would do. I hope I would do what made me feel good at the end of the day. But I just don’t know what that would be….

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Hi Colleen! Yeah, until you try it you never really know. I’ve actually had new drivers who were fine but their families were too worried for them to continue. Sometimes the big tough guys can’t handle it and sometimes the little Caspar Milquetoast is fearless. It’s not predictable. The job itself though is very easy – the heaviest you carry is one end of an empty hose. And, unlike much trucking, you control your own loading and unloading – so no delays or waiting. It is quite peaceful.

      Thanks so much for the visit. Please come by again.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. 1. I like your face…
    2. ‘rode hard and put away wet’ is also a porn term… but we can skip over that for now…
    3. Bosses should back their employees until all the facts are known, there is plenty of time for yelling and swearing and terminating later…
    4. black ice is scary…
    5. Well, I was going to say that you could be killed while flipping burgers too, but you covered that, so I will only say that you could be killed while flipping burgers… by a runaway gas hauler that hit black ice… because… irony…
    6. My life has always been a little like this guy’s life… only with less bad stuff and more good stuff… but still lots of bad stuff… and I always end up okay too… hope he is happy.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Paul says:

      Bwahaha! thanks so much for dropping by Art. Love your list. Ha! imagine flipping burgers and an out of control taker comes through the wall and kills you. Ha! That would be ironic.

      Thanks about the face comment – that’s my writing face – it had a corporation number 2 haircut for 25 years.

      I did know about the porn term but I thought I could slip it past Cordelia’s Mom until someone ratted me out. ha! Much of truckers’ banter has a sexual innuendo. The office meant that many of the drivers were getting F**ked by my driving test and failed.

      Yeah,it seems that there are folks out there whose lives are always like that. Blew me away but I got used to it. ha! He called one day and he was trying to get onto a distribution center in a small town. It was on the side of a hill and the road was very slippery and every time he tried to turn he slid right past. ha! he had been sliding past and going around to slide past again for about 1/2 hour when he called me all cranked up. he was sideways on the road as if he had turned but he was 30 feet past the driveway – slid again. He said he had tried his best and now was stuck and couldn’t get in. I just told him that his game plan was obviously flawed and he needed to come up with another plan and to call me when he was empty. Ha! he pondered that and, it being a small town, he drove the tanker over to the city hall (a two room brick building) that used the heating fuel he was trying to deliver. He told the mayor that of he didn’t want to freeze to death he should get a salt truck over to the distribution center toute suite or Mike was going back to the city with the load. He had a salt truck in 5 minutes. ha!

      Like

    • ~ Sadie ~ says:

      Art – you crack me up!!

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Cordelia, I hope you are on the mend!
    Paul, great stories! I forwarded them to my friend whose husband’s job is driving tankers. Mike did all the right things so I know he will be training the new drivers to do the same 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    • Paul says:

      Thanks so much for dropping by magickmermaid. It is a pleasure to have you visit. I am pleased that you enjoyed the stories and delighted that you chose to share them. One technical note if you are sharing with a tanker driver: I am Canadian and all our tank volumes are in liters. The majority of the readers are Americans so I express volumes in US gallons. We use B-train doubles that can haul about 58,000 liters (depending on temp and season and additives) which I translate as about 15,000 US gallons. We could scale about 43,500 kilos – which is about 95,000 pounds payload. When there were no scales we would load about 100,000 pounds or about 60,500 liters.

      Mike did do all the right things – he was surprised by the black ice but reacted and recovered well and learned a lesson. I am sure he is an excellent teacher and would have learned from his time with us. I really am honored that you chose to drop in. Please come again.

      Liked by 1 person

  15. lbeth1950 says:

    I’d have to stick with it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Hey Ibeth! Awesome to have you visit. I really think it was lack of faith and too much worrying about unknowns that did him in. He had no at-fault accidents,never did any damage,got along well with customers, delivered on time, and always found a way out of every situation. But his nerve cracked. I think his imagination got the best of him – it does no good to ponder the what if’s unless you are strategizing.

      Thanks so much for the visit Ibeth. Please drop by again.

      Like

  16. kerbey says:

    My heart would have beat out of my chest on that black ice, and I probably would have peed my britches and never gotten back in a truck again. So yes, I would probably flip burgers, too. We drove from Texas to Missouri and back in less than 48 hrs, getting home at 3am this morning. Being sandwiched between those semis going 80mph is always so scary! We passed a rest stop around 1am, and both sides of the highway parking lots were so full that there were over 100 of them parked and dozens on the shoulder of the highway for another half mile. I said to my husband, “I could never sleep soundly on the shoulder of I-35!” Plus, after all that driving, my brain won’t shut off. All I see in my head is yellow lines and highway going by. I guess you get over that pretty quickly, huh?

    So his daughter was okay, right? He does sound a touch neurotic. But you can’t be too careful with gasoline.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Yes Mike’s daughter was healthy and happy the last I saw him.

      There are certain highways that are way overloaded at night. The trucks run too close and it feels like you’re driving in an 80- mph box -trucks ahead,behind and beside – just waiting for someone to make a small mistake to create a conflagration.

      There is a mathematical model of distribution that depends in part on the fact that as trucks bunch up, it increases the resistance to free flow and creates a greater bunch and so on. It grows. The trick is to get out of the bunch by pulling over for a few minutes. Do not just slow down because the disturbance in the flow could easily create an accident. The model predicts and is usually right – empty road between the bunches. So, if you are driving on a heavily traveled road at night, seek out the gaps between the bunches and you will do your nerves a service as well as increasing your fuel mileage and get there just as fast. You can watch the back edge of the group and maintain a steady gap.

      That said, if the traffic is dense enough, the gaps slowly disappear until it is solid traffic.

      The lines will disappear after a while but excessive driving will bring them back regardless of whether you’re driving or not. In the old days the center line was white, not yellow and the effect was called “White Line Fever”. I wouldn’t stop on the shoulder either unless it was an emergency – many drivers are half dozing at 3 am and if they see your lights or reflectors will drive right into the parked vehicle causing death. The trouble is that if you go down a ramp and sleep in a parking lot or such , you are an easy target for thieves. So ,many drivers see sticking together as a security blanket and will accept the risk of being hit to have others close by. in a nutshell, the traffic is far greater than the roads were designed for in places.

      I’m glad you got back safe and sound. Thanks so much for the visit Kerbey. i am honored.

      Liked by 2 people

  17. Often it’s the most knowledgeable and most skill individual who is aware of all the potential that becomes the most frightened. I’m glad Mike went into training others – he probably did a superb job and as a result there were soem extremely safe truck drivers on the road.
    Taking calculated risks is an important skill in life, but if situations become too much, it’s best to switch gears and go a different different direction. Too much worry/fretting/concern can lead to mistakes as much as being too sloppy/casual. There’s a niche for everyone that is comfortable.
    Lovely read, Paul. You craft stories so well – luring a reader in, building to a suspenseful height, then landing with a thought to ponder. Well done

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Hi Phil! Thanks so much for dropping by. indeed I would say that Mike would be an excellent trainer. Thanks so much for the read and compliment Phil. I am honored.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. ~ Sadie ~ says:

    When I was younger, I took a lot of risks, but now that I am older I am pretty risk-averse . . . mostly . . . having said that, when I was in high school, I thought a lot about being a truck driver & seeing the country 🙂 I will admit, before our daughter was born, someone ran me off the road & I flipped our S-10 pick-up, crushing the cab on the driver’s side. Not being a seat belt wearer back then actually saved my life that time, as during the flip, I was thrown onto the passenger’s side of the vehicle, thus sparing a guaranteed head injury, at best. I wouldn’t drive after that for about 2 weeks – was a little slow getting back in the saddle.

    Enjoyed your tale, as I always do, Paul! I’m a little late to this post, but hope CM is feeling better!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Paul says:

      Hey Sadie! Sorry about your accident – it happens to the best. We had only one tanker driver under 30 and most were over 45 – specifically because it required maturity and risk averseness. We didn’t actually plan it that way – it just turned out that way , and for the best. Your curiosity and flexible sleep patterns would have made you a good trucker. Thanks so much for dropping by for a read and comment .Please come again.

      Liked by 1 person

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