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J.R. Buchanan



In 1986, I worked at a small factory in Indiana, we made all sorts of unusual items, many of which were resold under different labels. I had worked there for about two years at the time.

One day I was working in the engineering lab, and the general manager of the company came in and told me he had something he wanted me to see.

He led me out of the lab, into the parking lot, and across the lot to our sister company, a chemical formulating plant that mostly made cleaning products and pesticides (sometimes I think my fear of pesticides started when I worked there...).

We entered through the side door, and he led me into the back, through some mechanical rooms and storage rooms that I had never had the occasion to enter before.

Just as I realized that we had somehow taken a back route to the behind-the-curtain area of the conference room stage, he led me through the curtain.

The room was full of people dressed in military uniforms. He simply said, "This is Jim Buchanan, he'll be your instructor today", then ducked out through the curtain as rapidly as he could.

I didn't have as much public speaking experience then as I do now, but I had taken a public speaking class in college. I must have been in a very outgoing mood that day as well, as I said, "Welcome class, what the hell are we learning today?"

To this day, I'm pretty pleased that I managed to think of something clever to say on the spot that day.

It turned out that we were there to discuss the pump speed control circuitry in one of our pesticide foggers. Good luck, that, as I had designed that circuit myself. It wasn't too hard to cover, and we had a pretty good time of it.

Still, I can't say that he endeared himself to me that day.