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My Brush with Greatness

In 1976, I was assigned by my employer (Kodak) to work press support for the Republican
National Convention in Kansas City.  This was the day of Black and White, and we provided
free processing and film for accredited press.

A couple of things come to mind

There were about a dozen of us, Some from Rochester, and some field support reps;  We were to
meet in the hotel for drinks.  Some I had talked to on the phone, but never met in person.  The deal
was to meet at 4 in the lounge a few days before the convention opened  (we had a bunch of equipment
to set up).  So we're having drinks and the waitress asks "Are you from the West Virginia Delegation?"

(Who was also staying at the hotel)  Being a bit of a wise a$$ I responded "We're not at liberty to say"
-- We had excellent service for the 10 days or so we were there.  As we were leaving one of the staff
asked me "Are you really Secret Service?"

 ha ha

This was late August, and hotter than hell, yet there were guys in dark blue suits standing outside
in the sun around the Kemper Arena with something stuck in their ears.  I was wearing shorts and
a tee shirt and sweating my balls off.

The press center was in a hall adjoining the arena, and not air conditioned.  They held cattle shows there,
and the facilities were vintage 1910 or so.  So I go to the gents and the urinal is just a metal trough. 
At the other end is Art Buchwald.  I comment that "only in America could a young man from a small town
in Pennsylvania share a urinal with Art Buchwald"  He wanted to shake my hand, but I thought it best
if we both washed first.

The hotel was also party central, and I could find a free drink 24/7. 
I borrowed a press pass to get on the floor and my impression of politics was changed forever. 
People were literally falling down drunk.  There were very passionate speeches being made,
but nobody was listening.   Again alcohol all over the place.

I have a picture album someplace -- probably bring back more memories if I ever find it.


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