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A Big Mistake

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Old 06-02-2007, 07:58 AM
Join Date: Apr 2006
Posts: 841
Default A Big Mistake

Just beforethe Mississippi Queen's trial runs Captain Carl Shelton dropped by my office to ask if I would make the first trip to New Orleans on the boat. At the time I was busy at my architectural practice and doing very well, thank you.
I had two questions: "What does a mate do?" His reply was, "He wears a uniform and keeps the passengers happy." The uniform part was easy, in my estimation, but I already knew that keeping passengers happy for four hours on an excursion boat was nothing like keeping them happy for a week in a floating hotel.
My second question was, "What does the job pay?" His reply was $40.00 per day." I was charging $60.00 per hour at my profession and told him so. We parted on good terms and with mutual respect.
My refusal was a terrible mistake. That first voyage was plagued with every problem a steamboat could have and the Mississippi Queen contrived a number of brand-new irritations. Toilets erupted. The bow thruster switch failed. The elevator got stuck with people in it. Even though the boat was owned by a Coca-Cola subsidiary, the soft drink machines broke down. The badly-designed paddlewheel was terribly inefficient. Every department from cookhouse to pilothouse, via the engineroom, gave the crew fits.
Why was my refusal a mistake? I wasted the opportunity for hundreds of hours of popping off, enough to last the rest of my life!
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