I was in the yard playing with the dog when the phone rang in the kitchen. I ran in to catch it—this was pre answering machine. It was Ernie, sounding a little nervous. First the good news—the Op Manager had been fired. Then-and I’ll never know how this was worked out-- he said that my back pay would include severance pay, but that I really wasn’t being fired, I could just call it a leave of absence and after a year or so I should call him and he’d fix me up with something. “Finish school, travel, have fun. Hell, you’re not even twenty-one yet. Why work full time?” I decided in a second that I’d had it with the airlines. I must have been mad at Ernie but that’s not what I remember most—I remember feeling relief, and a funny kind of pride. I’d been blacklisted. A real revolutionary!
I decided to drop out of school and travel until the money ran out.
My last act as a lame duck was to call people and strongly suggest that my friend the Brit anarchist be elected the next steward. She was, and she raised hell, from what I heard.
The crew threw a nice goodbye party for me and I was presented with something that I kept for years—God, I wish I could find it now. Why didn’t I frame it? Someone in middle management—I think I know who, but she never copped to it—had broken into the personnel files and found my application for employment. Scrawled across the front, in red letters: DO NOT REHIRE! UNION TROUBLEMAKER!