Sunday, April 14, 2013

Do you want to buy a Copier?

Chuck Hofvander is a stroke survivor and fellow camper. Here is one of many essays he wrote outlining his experiences. Some of those he has written deal with his life before his first stroke, some deal with life after. Chuck likes to write essays as therapy while recovering from his strokes. He has had two, his last one very recently after a bicycle accident.  This essay, although written after he had his first stroke, tells about a time before he had that stroke. 

Do you want to buy a Copier?
by Chuck Hofvander

What comes to your mind when someone says “I want a copy of…? “? What do they say next; Canon, HP, Toshiba? No Xerox! I worked for Xerox as a Document Expert; I had been the head of a document management area at CNA Insurance for two years, but I didn’t know anything about printing except I knew about printing was that it came out of a printer.

Our focus was insurance because of my illustrious career. Our mission was to consult on projects that ended in printing. I got the job after an interview in Rochester NY with Brian S and his staff of document experts; none of whom had any insurance experience except as it was required to buy a car.

After consulting on a printing project in Buffalo NY the VP announced that since his whole group had worked so hard as a reward he was going to take us all to Lake Placid. So early one morning me and a colleague flew from Chicago to Albany. In Albany we rented car, picked up a woman; I know what you’re thinking about the woman but she worked with us, and then traveled to Lake Placid; really it’s on Mirror Lake which is a stone's throw from Lake Placid if you're a very good stone-thrower". Just thought you’d like to know

There the VP had arranged a half hour meeting in the morning at the Inn and then unleashed us Xeriod’s on the un-suspecting populace of Lake Placid..

Our insurance group got together to plan our day and we agreed on our plan of attack. We’d drive to the Bob sled run and ski jumping site. Followed by a drive back to Lake Placid to go to the ice hockey arena, relax at the hotel, go to a party arranged by the VP and then finally to sleep. Little did we know there was a really amateur hockey in store for us.

We drove to the Bob Sled run and there three of us backed out using excuses such as "too tall" or "too fat" or "no change of underwear in case we peed our pants,"’ I was too tall to ride in the sled, thank God; and too scared. But a few brave souls were thrilled to ride. Among them was Mister K.

Mister K was born a natural-born leader of other men. He was the type of man that if you wanted something done he asked somebody else to do it. If you asked him a question and if he didn’t know the answer, Mister K would make one up. He was that type of man. He was my hero.

I looked forward to him being stuffed into a sled.

We non-riders went to a club and drank coffee and the others went to the top of the course. There the riders got their turn, started their run, and put their heads and limbs down. They were scared but not Mister K.  

Mister K was the last person in the sled, he stood straight up until the first turn then he realized he should be scared. His first instinct was to jump out of the sled, bad idea. Next he thought of dragging his feet behind the sled, worse idea. In the end he along with the riders sat, scared, crouching in fear until the end of the run.

When the riders came to join us in the coffee shop they were all shaken except Mister K he was petrified.

After Misters K’s recovery we went to the jump. Do you know how high  a ski jump is at the top of the jump, well I’ll tell you it’s 295 feet; just to compare the Great Pyramid of Gaza is 481 feet. We went to the top in a glass enclosed elevator. We like a bunch of frigid robots, got out of the elevator and went outside to face a howling wind and cold.

At the top the angle is very steep as calculated by the following:

Calculate the vertical height h from the starting gate to the bottom of the ramp. The skiers push off hard with their ski poles at the start. They typically have a speed of 2.0 m/s as they reach the gate. The skiers should have a speed of no more than 30.0 m/s when they reach the bottom of the ramp. You determine that for a 80.0 kg skier with good form, friction and air resistance will do total work of magnitude 4000 J on him during his run down the slope.

If you can’t understand that I’ll translate: its [freaking] high!

The others weren’t brave enough to face the frigid temperature and the gale-force wind but yours truly was. They went inside but I stood firm, I took off my shirt and dared the elements to defeat me! Elements one Chuck zero! (Come on, if you believe that I’ve got a copier you might be interested in).

After we thawed out we went back to Lake Placid and went to the hockey arena where in the 1980 Olympics a bunch of amateurs U.S. beat a pro level team from the Soviet Union. There nothing special happened except me crying like a baby. It brought back memories of my wife and I sitting in my parent’s living room watching the victory of the U.S. beat the Soviet Union. Fooled ya, we were at my parents place but I didn’t cry and we didn’t watch the game.

There was nothing unusual at the arena except the usual souvenirs and nothing special at the hotel. Then came the party.   

The party was boring, we sat around like muffins in a pan waiting to be put into the oven then Mister K appeared.  He was dressed in a white vest and pants and a black shirt; think John Travolta in Saturday Night Fever, and a hockey helmet.

He needed the hockey because Mister K had been putting up Christmas lights on the gutters of his home and fell off the ladder. His solution was to wear a hockey helmet to prevent further damage to his cranium, if that was possible.

When Mister K appeared the party came to life. He jumped onto the dance floor and, well he was not Travolta. He jumped, wiggled, drooled like a wild man on the dance floor! People were scared of him. The hotel management was about to have him put away when he collapsed and we took him back to his room. I went back to my room and went to sleep.  

There I dreamed that a beautiful blond woman came into my room, got undressed, climbed into my bed, crawled up next to me, began hugging me and said “Do you want to fool around.” Of course I said yes but then gorgeous blond said “Not before you do you’re chores, get to it!” It was then Brian walked into the room, saw me hugging the pillow and said “what do you think you are doing, I’ve arranged a hockey game with the VP of the financial group and it starts in 10 minutes”.   

Yikes what a nightmare! But it wasn’t a nightmare it was two o’clock in the morning, I’m hung over and tried. I got up, put on whatever clothes I thought would be good for a hockey game at 2:00 o’clock in the morning and joined other sleepy and drunk Xerox’ers. The hotel didn’t have an indoor rink so we went outside to Mirror Lake where it was -8 below zero.

Brian is in an amateur hockey league and knows what to do with a puck but none of us others did.  Brian tried to organize an offense and defense but we were hopeless. I couldn’t move backwards, others couldn’t get on skates, some couldn’t get moving once they had their skates on, some skated forward but couldn’t stop, and some just fell down!

But the other team was worse; they went outside, stood there observing and went back inside. So we played with ourselves for about a half hour, we had a lot of staying power. But eventually it was Brian who gave up just when we were getting the hang of this hockey thing.

In the morning I and Mister K left Lake Placid; he behaved.

This experience left me with some things I’ll never forget Lake Placid is beautiful but it’s on  Mirror Lake,  Ski jumping is hazardous to your health; Ski jumpers have to be crazy, I’m too tall for most of anything except basketball, I’ll cry at anything,  I can’t skate, I’m grateful that Mister K is my friend but you always have to be on the lookout for his drooling.

Good night Chet. Good night David. 

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