Volume 33, Number 10, October 1998


What Goes Around . . .

by Lyle Hill

I’m sure you’ve heard the expression, "what goes around, comes around." I guess the standard interpretation of this would be something along the lines of "expect whatever you do unto others to be done unto you." And I guess it’s fair to say that I believe that this concept holds true. We do tend to get back pretty much what we dish out.

Of course, there are exceptions. Not everybody "gets what they deserve," and for a lot of us, it’s probably a good thing that we don’t or else we’d be a whole lot worse off than we already are. I do need to confess though, that I’m one of those that firmly believes that I will one day stand before my Creator and have to answer for everything I’ve done, as well as for the things I should have done . . . kind of the ultimate "what goes around, comes around" scenario.

Shortly after my article, "Oh Canada, No Canada," was published a couple of months ago (see USGlass, August 1998, The Business), I received an anonymous letter postmarked from Quebec that contained no return address, no name and only one line. Typed in the exact middle of the page, it simply read, "You’ll get yours in Houston on September 12." At the bottom right corner was an embossed red maple leaf . . . as in the Canadian flag.

Now, only the unenlightened would have taken my August column seriously. Sure, I made fun of some Canadian people and their quirks, but it was all in good humor. However, I was more than a little concerned, for I was scheduled to speak at Glass TEXpoÔ on September 12 . . . in Houston. So I began to wonder. Was there someone out there who actually was offended by my article and who was willing to spend the time and money to track me down in Houston?

Yes, it was true that a certain metal manufacturer had shipped a booby-trapped package to me after I had attacked them in an article. But they repeatedly shipped it to the wrong address and when it finally arrived, several parts were missing so it malfunctioned. We fixed it and returned it to them with a back charge for repairing their defective materials . . . force of habit, I suppose. But you never know what to expect in these turbulent times, so it was with a high degree of anxiety that I traveled to Houston for my scheduled appearance.

But I needn’t have worried. The Canadians are far too civilized for anything to have gotten out of hand. And they also once again proved what a great sense of humor they have. You see, what I got from a group of Canadians in Houston was a cute Beanie Baby®-type black bear dressed in a Royal Canadian mounted police uniform with a little note that read, "all is forgiven." What a class act!

But now they put a bit of a burden on me. You see, I’m Chicago Irish . . . we not only believe in the concept of "what goes around, comes around," but we believe that we were put here on Earth to make sure that it does! And so, I was now obligated to do something in return.

On October 2, the first-ever Glass Expo MidwestÔ belt sander race was held in Grand Rapids, MI, at the Amway Grand Plaza Hotel and Center. And there to represent the New England glass guys was none other than Mr. Belt Sander himself, Mark Daniels from BTB Tools. Mark considers himself a bit of an aficionado when it comes to belt sanders. And while he’s a super nice guy, he does have a bit of that New England stoicism in him. And in keeping with the confident air that Mr. Daniels probably has a right to claim, he had more or less implied . . . at least to me, anyway . . . that no one would stand a chance against him and his New England-manufactured and modified electrical marvel. He was simply bringing the race concept to the Midwest so that we could get into it and maybe one day pose a serious challenge to the New Englanders.

But I had devised a bit of a surprise for my belt-sanding buddy, and with the help of Linda Vos, president of Vos Glass in Grand Rapids, we had a sander waiting that would literally leave the old Markster eating our dust. But why take the glory for myself, I quickly thought. Why not use this opportunity to let my northern friends bask in a little glory? So what did I do, you ask? Well, I made myself "unavailable" and let Canadian Alfie Ogston of the Extractor Company (Calgary) use the "couldn’t lose" sander, which quickly and efficiently blew Mr. Daniels and his inferior entry right out of the convention center.

So you see, "what goes around does always come around" . . . unless it gets unplugged.


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