Monday, August 06, 2007

Art Scott and the Flying Refrigerator

First of all I want to say I had a total blast this last weekend hanging out with some old friends- (Scott, Andrea)- even though I was violently and randomly attacked by a case of Newcastle that decided to lunge at me from the top of a towering stack at Costco. I had my priorities in order, though, and saved the beer by catching the corner of the box with my thigh. And how did said beer show it's thankfulness(see an older post on thankfulness) when I saved it from itself by halting it's suicide attack and at the same time sacrificed my right thigh (and have the puffy purple leg to prove it)? By sending me into an eight hour puke-a-thon (just can't drink like I used to-but I did lose three pounds). But even with all that it was still the best time I have had in years and was well worth it.

We haven't seen our old friends in about six years and we were seriously considering that it was about time to hire a private investigator to track them down. -Scott is also a member a very very small club along with Stewart-The Waking,Talking-been shot in the head club. Unlike Stewart, Scott still has his .380 artifact in his forehead.

But once again blogging saved the day when Scott found my blog and knew no one
but me could go on and on about guns and breastfeeding and the search for god all in one, way too long and running out of breathe just reading it sentence.

I also want to say to any other old pals who may be lurking in the cyber world but just haven't emailed yet, that Scott is doing awesome. He and Andrea were married and had a second baby. Andrea is a very cool, stay at home mom with a squeaky clean house and is a total babe. And Scott now knows how to cook! He's like a Spanish rice guru, he says the magic ingredient is the "huskier" flavor of the basmati brown rice. He cooked for us all weekend.

Getting back together with our old closest friends made us all think back a bit to the rest of our old crowd. I lovingly recall them as the 3AM milkshake crew because after an evening shooting bowling pins we would all go out and glutinously order chocolate milkshakes with the whipped cream blended into the mix.

We hope to track down the rest of the gang eventually but, in the mean time, I'd like to tell one of my favorite stories from those days. It is a story on why you should never underestimate a person. And why just because you are an arrogant assholish boss, who likes to pick on employees, who work their asses off just trying to make you happy, is no reason to brow beat those employee endlessly.

This is a tale of resistance-

and how the
little guy can sometimes win or at least

make a really big point.

Art Scott and the Flying Refrigerator

Back around 1994-1995 my husband managed a gun store called Nevada Pistol Academy (NPA). It was owned, in part, by the same person who owned The Gun Store (ownership of both has since changed hands). The other half of NPA was owned by Dave. I'd love to out his assholishness in this tale, but I can't remember his last name. When Dave and Rick (owner of The Gun Store at the time) bought NPA together, Rick began parsing out employees from The Gun Store over to NPA.

NPA was in a great building, with a living room like environment, flavored coffee always brewing, a great range and women loved the place (no dead deer or naked women on the walls).

At the time my husband and pal Scott (mentioned above) were the only two guys working there certified to teach the very popular, gun store staple; concealed carry classes. So while Scott co-managed the very booming and crowded The GUN Store, hubby took over management of NPA, out in the desert.

The potential was there for this place but it was pretty vacant. So hubby made use of the homey environment to make the place a hang-out for shooters. He had weekly bowling pin shoots and people would show up early in the day to practice ahead of time and just hang out. The place went from a ghost town to everyone's living room.

One of the "perks" Stewart requested when he was sent out there was he wanted Gun Store employee, Art Scott to work with him. Art is an awesome guy and he is also a very very hard worker. He'll do anything for anyone. Both Stewart and Art were on salary which, as you know if you've ever been on one, in terms of hours worked and pay received, has always been the biggest scam running. Art and Stewart were often up till early in the morning tallying and logging and whatever else there is to do that is excruciatingly boring. Sometimes, Scott would drive over to help just so we could all go out for milkshakes before dawn. As Stewart got more and more serious with school the managing job became too time consuming. He was at a point where he really couldn't do both. So he handed his hat to Art. Stewart continued to help with the bowling pin shoots and also continued teaching concealed carry classes.

Now Stewart has a pretty assertive personality- he never gets pushed around by anyone. Whenever I need to take something back to the store I have Stewart do it (I think it's the jingle jangle of his spurs ; ) .So this owner guy, Dave, pretty much never showed up or even said much of anything while Stewart was running the place. Except to occasionally mutter about the amount of gourmet coffee that the hordes of people spending the entire day in his gun store, buying ammo and range time were consuming. So this is the level of intelligence that we're dealing with here. But indicative of coward modus operandi this Dave guy wormed his way out of the woodwork when Stewart left.

Art did a very meticulous job of managing- he was always friendly, always took the time to talk and teach the customers, never talked down to anyone or tried tell women to only shoot tiny little guns that they could "handle." Art was pretty much like everyone's favorite brother.

The l
ayout of this place was such that the bathrooms were just outside the range. This was convenient to wash hands after shooting (to remove lead dust) but not so great for keeping the floors clean looking. Although the range was a clean as gun range can be; stepping from the range to the restrooms and then washing your hands meant smeary gray lead dust (lead mud?) on the floor.

Dave love to taunt Art about this. No amount of explaining to Dave would stop him from ignoring the hours of care and hard work that Art put into that store. Now this should have been a clue that Dave didn't care if the bathroom was clean or dirty; it was just about picking on someone because he could.

There was also a refrigerator in back. A very heavy, green side by side, broken, leaky, smelly refrigerator. The entire time my husband managed there he never used it, except to throw out all the food and put a 'broken do not use' sign on it. This refrigerator would work great for six hours then quit for six, then work again, allowing time for the now rotten food to get cold again so you could happily eat your salmonella sandwich and never know it was poisoned. Dave never said a word about this refrigerator when Stewart managed the place. But when Dave discovered that people-pleasing Art actually cared about what other people thought about him and thus was labeled as weak, in the eyes this cowardly tyrant, he would not stop harping about the condition of the refrigerator.

So one day Art had enough.

Not the kind of enough that you're thinking of, the kind of enough that someone who will work tirelessly to finally received their deserved accolades, has- when he's had enough

Art decided to make the bathrooms and green frig spotless.

He set a
bout taking time after hours to clean them. His first task was to shine up the range since the lead dust was the true culprit (well, of course, not the true culprit, the true culprit was Dave's inner power trip). He then laid out some rugs outside the range, re-cleaned all the bathrooms, then he headed for the permanently smelly refrigerator.

Stewart was teaching a class on the range by this time and I was hanging out with Art. I was quite impressed by all the work he had done.

He took apart the whole refrigerator and cleaned each piece separately. He soaked the more odorous sections in bleach and shined the glass with Windex, creating a particularly noxious and dangerous chemical cocktail mix that you could actually see-in a room full of gun powder.

He spent a considerable amount of time fitting the various doors and drawers back in.

Soon after, Dave pulled up. Art, made a mad dash for the bathrooms and went over the floors again before Dave could get in the door. Art then raced back to the counter as Dave was walking in.

Seeing Art come back from the hall, Dave said in his demeaning, vacant way, that Art needs to stay at the counter when no on else is up front.

And I could see Art's eyes narrow.

While this particular round of emotional abuse went on, someone walked off the range and used the bathroom, then went back to the range.

Dave then went toward the bathrooms. "Art you have to start cleaning these bathrooms. You know it only takes a few minutes each day."
Now you and I know that Art said something back -I just cleaned them or whatever -that's why I wasn't up front-but w
e also all know about these power type people and how words just disappear at their ears. Even my own memory places Art's comeback as a murmur that I can't quite nail down, while Dave's admonishes remain as clear pronouncements.

Then Dave went in the back.

"Art, you have got to make the time to clean that refrigerator."

Then Dave left.

At this point Art had had that kind of enough.

"So Dave wants a clean refrigerator."

"Well, better do what the boss said."

Art, with his adrenalin soaring, grabbed the refrigerator, pulled it out from it's alcove and started pushing it toward the back door. When he reached the back steps, Art, in an amazing display, usually only reserved for mothers rescuing children trapped under cars, lifted up the refrigerator and hoisted it out the back door. It flew out and down (the building had a four foot drop off in back)
and it landed about ten feet out.

He went over to it and flipped it over so that the doors faced up, then placed the hose inside it and turned it on.

And there the refrigerator sat, for months to come.

As time has passed, the refrigerator story has become lore. If you were to walk into any gun store in Vegas today you could probably find some person there who has heard a version of it.

In most version's Art took an ax to it, or a sledge hammer, sometimes after being fired.

But no, this was not revenge, this was a powerful lesson in respecting the dignity of others.

But mostly, I think, Dave is just lucky that Art is such a reasonable guy.



Becky C. said...

Thanks Tasha,

I have not read your post--but will later--I am uncharacteristically hysterical. This guy started out as just a woman hater. And then he did the bipolarism thing thinking he was cute. And it hit way too close to home. I was preparing a tribute to my big big brother--the anniversary of his death is next week. And it made me into a basket case. Thank god for all the nice people on the Internet.

He was like the most popular guy in high school, did not do drugs or anything, and was the starting quarterback. But he had this disease of BP.

A month before he died, and you know my sexual orientation, he caught me kissing a girl--I was only 13. He promised not to tell my parents and he never did. And he was totally non-judgmental about it.

I do not understand why one day in August he decided to go up in our tree house and put a shot gun in his mouth. I guess he decided it was the day to die. And the platitudes of people only make me more pissed off.

And if I knew where that Kitty Litter Lived I hate to say it, but I would be after him with my Glock

Thank you and a bunch of hugs:)


Josh said...

This sounds nuts, but I actually have heard that story. Years ago at the Survival Store-and yes it was the ax version

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