The Book - Bart Beck

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About Bart Beck

THE NEGOTIATOR

It was customary for us, during the construction of a Steel Tower or an H-Frame Transmission Line, to keep a mechanic on the job most all of the time. In the early 1950's we were building a 132,000 volt H-Frame line in central Indiana and Dan Riley was the mechanic on that one. In fact, Dan took care of the equipment on most of the bigger jobs.

Now Dan was not only a top flight mechanic, he was also a top flight practical joker. Quite often, right after work, some of the crew members would gather at the storage yard and discuss world affairs over a case of beer. Such a conference was in progress, one evening, when it was discovered that they were getting dangerously low on beer and there was still much conferring to be done.

Dan had noticed, during the course of the conference, that one of the linemen had lost a wheel cover from his Studebaker Pickup. Dan suggested to the lineman that he thought that he knew where he could get another cover to replace the lost one, and in as much as he was going to town to get more beer, he could just as well pick it up, for him. He thought that he could get the replacement for about $5.00. This suited the lineman and he gave Dan $5.00. Dan took off for town, but not before he had, very quietly, removed one of the covers from the opposite side of the pickup. Beer, at that time, was $4.50 a case and in due time Dan returned with a wheel cover, a case of beer, and 50 cents in change, which he gave to the lineman, telling him that he had been able to negotiate a better deal than he had first thought.

The next day the lineman asked Dan if he thought that he could get him another cover, because he had just discovered that he had lost one, on the other side.

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