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From the full version of Sunnyside's Lousy Book

Happy Birthday

A few days before my birthday I wrote in my journal: Happy Birthday Old Man. For some reason I felt God was going to give me some kind of treat. By then he was just about the only friend I could count on so I thought maybe he might surprise me with something.

On May 22, 1998 I was driving up Pine Street between South Tacoma Way and Center Street. In front of me was a small hook-lift and it happened to be without a payload. It turned into the driveway of the Pepsi Cola bottling plant and I chose to pull in behind it to get a chance to watch it operate. It was one of the designs I'd thought to be the better ones because it had a bending elbow instead of a sliding boom that slides on nylon bushings. I'd thought the bending elbow design would maintain a longer life span and wear better than the sliding boom with nylon bushing which would get sloppy with wear. I stopped within good view of the hook-lift as the driver backed up the cardboard recycling container. I found out that there was even less advantage with the bending elbow type hook-lift.

For one thing, the ground wasn't level enough for the hook to reach low enough to grab the loop on the container. The driver kept trying and what I saw happening was just cracking me up. Since the elbow had a bend in it, it only gave it more mass to smack into the front of the container above the pick-up loop. The operator was bashing the hell out of the container trying to get a hold of it. I though, "Gee, I sure wouldn't want to be doing that to a new Grumman Cube. It would tear the heck out of the aluminium sheeting. Then I realized it would also do a number on a camper. Then I thought, camper? No way. The arm of the hook-lift would smash the hell out of the sleeper."
        Then I thought, "Gee, if you can't use a camper on a hook-lift, then you couldn't use a ladder-rack either. Looks like what I take for granted, the hook-lift guys can only wish for." It accrued to me that I had the construction trades all sewn up.

The driver of the hook-lift decided he couldn't pick up his load so he pulled out. I was happy as a lark -- hooting and hollering. What I had just witnessed truly happened and I watched it unfold before my very eyes – on my birthday no less.

The next chapter of Sunnyside's Lousy Book is:

The Underground

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> Lousy Book Condensed
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