Back in the day, I was a thermographer.
At’s right, a thermographer.
I took photos of heat patterns when there wasn’t much call for photos of heat patterns.
“Thermography,” I said.
“Infrared imaging,” I said just a wee bit louder – for effect…
“You know, taking pictures of heat…”
“Uh okay,” the tire shop assistant manager replied haltingly.
“You can make it so we won’t drill into our in-floor heat lines?”
“Yes Sir! Sure can!” I answered a little too Gomer Pylishly.
“Better come do it tomorrow morning before we open up then,” were the most memorable words tumbling out of the tire store assistant manager’s mouth because they signified the first sale in my tremendous new field of thermography!
Course, thermography had no street cred but Me Mister Man was about to change all that. Oh ya…
I’d put the lime of “zero street cred thermography” into the very same coconut drink of “automatic respect for authority ignited by uniforms” and shake ’em boat up into a night out called “Respect For Themography.” Hah!
This mission required Tremondant Thermography to dress up like an underpaid, over ego-ed security guard complete with shoulder epaulets, black clip on tie, white shirt, dark blue cop pants, black cop boots and sprinkled on top, a big ‘ol jet black cop hat.
(Thank you Robert Cialdini! Hah hah!)
Next morning at the crack of entrepreneurship, I scoot over to the tire shop all decked out in my authoritarian gear and carrying my infrared camera in the very authoritarian looking FLIR briefcase.
Soon as I entered the lobby, the tire shop assistant manager stopped and stared at General Gumby striding confidently through the tire store mine field.
“Morning Robert!” marched straight out of my Snappy Cappy mouth as I now a wee bit more awkwardly approached his reinforced tire order desk.
Suspicious assistant tire store manager Robert eyed my Sargent Strange outfit for a long second before replying.
“You the camera guy or the fire chief?”
I heard a hidden someone somewhere snicker.
“I fucking heard that!” I wanted to say but as I was obviously in uniform I ignored the ignorant and not as confidently as the first time repeated my salutation “Morning Robert!” while looking him straight in the eye.
(Thank you emotional disparity!)
“So you’re the camera guy then…” he pointed toward a door across the lobby. “Shop’s right there, boiler’s been off for two hours so make it as quick as you can.”
“You bet, thanks,” I said to no one there because Robert had already gone to that place where parts guys go when shit gets too busy.
I could see through the glass door that I already had an audience.
Four mechanics, three whom I immediately identified as suspects, watched me intently as I maneuvered my cop hat, etc. into the room.
As I began to set up my equipment, I noticed that I held the complete attention of the tire handlin’ yahoos and that attention was causing me to respond to something I had previously come to know as the Hawthorne Effect. Lord I tried not to think of it.
But, their eyes, their attention, did something to my epaulets. Heavied them up.
Maybe it was the clumps of morphogenic energy they were slamming into the brim of my coppy cop cop hat but that sucker got so heavy and so warm that try as I might, I could not keep it from slipping into my eyes!
Those damn tire placement engineers then somehow got that sandpaper cop shirt to start poly scratching my body-head joint to the point where I was certain the band of dermis pimples would forever ring my neck and end my beloved t-shirt wearing days.
Today I barely recall yelling the order to Asst. Mgr. Robert to “start the boiler!” while simultaneously arming my FLIR 360 and unholstering my nickle plated double blunt chalk holder.
The next few minutes are a blur…
I squeezed off as many shots as I could but the 360 doesn’t have an internal memory so it was me, the 360’s laser pointer and me, me, me with my nickle plated double blunt chalk holder because chalk dries out your hands and easily marks up cop pants.
And that cop hat…
I must have finished the job because I came to with money in my pocket later as I was driving down the road but I still am haunted by memories of being on my knees, swinging the 360’s laser around menacingly and drawing lines on the floor and …
Struggling to get up! Get up if it’s the last thing you do! Under the weight of that damn hat!
And all the while those awful, guttural chuckles…
I hope I said goodbye to the assistant tire store manager Robert and I’m sure I did, but by now my head was punching the roof out of my cop hat as it had sweat locked over my ears, one which was bent painfully over like my uncle could roll his tongue, but… such is war.
I could not find the strength to lift that weighty lid off what was likely a useless appendage now anyway but I knew full well that it’s power had possessed me for the last time.
The rest of the uniform did it’s trick admirably and I continued to employ it’s power for two more years but never again did I fool with the power of hats.
They’re which craft man!
(Thank you Five)