He was leaning forward and clutching the steering wheel with both hands as he drove the van down the highway.  It might have looked ominous to some, but that is just the way Eric drove.  He was a mathematician and computer programmer by trade.  I can’t say if such a profession is at all connected with such a driving style, perhaps we just tend to make connections for silly reasons.  Actually, he successfully raced sports cars as a hobby, but I digress.

Rich started it.  The tale unfolded as the miles past under us.  It was from when he was a young man working at a mine in Texas.  “The first day I was there, they told me to load cases of dynamite into a large bucket on the end of a cable” he said.  “When it was full, they would lower it down into the mine. I was afraid that the only thing that they might find was my left ear” he continued.   “Just when I had finished lowering the first one to the bottom of the bucket as gently as I possibly could, another case of dynamite came sailing over my head and joined the first with a crash.  As I turned around and started to breathe again, the old-timer that I was working with said ‘these things never blow up, get a move on’”.  Rich laced it all with well timed cuss words and I was expecting him to spit at the end, just like you would see in a western movie.

Now I don’t know why young males compete and brag for dominance when no females of the species are around, but sometimes we do.

I had to counter his story with one of my ‘alleged’ occurrences, way back in MY past.  As we were slowly making our way across the country, I spun my yarn.  “We were working very high on a building with a 60 foot tall bucket lift”.  I started in full on ‘I’ll match your dynamite story’ mode.  “There was a small part of the job that was significantly above 60 feet up, so I took the lift up as high as it would go, a little bit out from the building, and cut the engine.  Then, I took the 20 foot extension ladder that I had taken up with me, extended it, put it in the bucket and leaned it up against the building above me.”

Just then, Eric, the driver, with his nose pressed close to the steering wheel, blurted out “sometimes at work, my eyeballs get sore!”