Hight, Force and Rowe Highlight Saturday At Ford Championship Weekend
Ford Racing’s Robert Hight captured his first NHRA Full Throttle Funny Car championship last week to give car owner John Force his 16 th title in the last 20 years and 10 th since joining Ford. Both men stopped by the Homestead-Miami Speedway infield media center for a press conference to talk about the team’s accomplishment.
ROBERT HIGHT, Auto Club Ford Mustang – IT’S BEEN A WEEK. HAS IT SUNK IN YET? “It’s slowly starting to sink in. I’m doing interviews and people calling me the champ, it’s hard to get used to that. And then we’ve had some autograph sessions and everybody wants me to write, ’09 Champ’ under my name, so it’s a good problem to have, trust me. I owe it all to John and to Ford and to everybody that took a gamble on me. It’s just so exciting. I’m honored to be down here and to be the Grand Marshal today, that’s really exciting. This is my first NASCAR race, by the way, so I’ve got a lot to learn. I’m gonna soak it up and take it in and just see what this is all about. I’m a big fan of NASCAR. I watch it on TV all the time. We do a lot of Ford functions with the Ford NASCAR drivers and it’s pretty cool because they come up and ask us questions. It’s like they’re watching us on TV. They’re watching our races. Greg Biffle, he came and talked to Neff and I earlier this year about his Mustang that he’s trying to get to run in the 8’s, and he was blowing it up on nitrous, so there’s a lot of drag racing fans. It’s pretty cool to walk through the garage with John and everybody notices him, so it’s cool when people notice our sport, and I’m excited to be down here and learn about NASCAR.”
JOHN FORCE, Owner, John Force Racing – YOUR 10 TITLES WITH FORD TIES BOB GLIDDEN FOR THE MOST WITH THE MANUFACTURER. CAN YOU TALK ABOUT THIS SEASON? “I’m excited to be here. I didn’t realize that Robert had not been to a NASCAR event. Last night on the plane, we took the red-eye and have only had a few hours of sleep, but I told him it was a whole different world. The media, you’ll see a lot of new faces and get an opportunity to meet a lot of the racers that you see on TV. I told him, ‘Don’t get run over out there because they will run over you.’ But it’s pretty exciting. To deliver a 10 th championship for Ford Motor Company, it’s a tough economy right now. They pay us good. We work hard. They’re building great cars and we’re all just trying to do our part. Robert Hight, my son-in-law, even though he did drive around my daughter, Ashley, who fought all year. She actually had the best car most of the year, but our braintrust worked together and they took those Mustangs and gave us two good cars. At the end of the year at Vegas she stumbled real bad and Robert’s car just picked up the pace. In the Countdown he won three of the races in the final six of the Full Throttle Countdown, so he did great and she finished second. At the end of the day I’m still struggling, haven’t figured that out yet, but we will fix it. I was almost low e.t. and then she took that away from me. Mike Neff, driving our Ford. Drive one. won his first race at the Auto Club finals in Pomona – the final race he finally got his big win. So for Ford Motor Company and Castrol and, naturally, Auto Club – all the sponsors – we’re excited. Since the loss of Eric Medlen in ’07 in the crash at Gainesville and then my crash in Dallas, it was great that we could bring the trophy home. And Robert, I just congratulate him for keeping his nose clean, fighting the fight, and never giving up on his guys, and he delivered to put us back on the map.”
JOHN FORCE CONTINUED -- DOES WINNING EVER BECOME ROUTINE? “Well, it does and then you lay in a hospital bed for two months and they tell you you’re not gonna walk again and, if you do, it’ll be ugly. I used to joke I used to spend two hours a day in the bar, now I spend two hours a day in the gym just so I can get out of bed in the morning. I want to be with these kids. My girls are driving now. Robert is married to my oldest daughter. We have a grand baby, Autumn. She’s already loving the racing and wanting junior dragsters. It’s just kind of been the blood of this family, but then Ashley finishing second and beating the boys in the NHRA fight, and then my two youngest – Brittany and Courtney in A-Fuel dragster. Courtney was in the final at Pomona and got beat, but she did win Seattle this year. It’s just an opportunity for me to have more time with my family, but the realization that driving is all I’ve ever known and being a team owner, that was just part of something that got in the way of what I really wanted to do. I just really love being out here with them, and I built the next generation. If you saw the USA Today ad that was put together by Ford and Auto Club, it was pretty cool that I felt I did something right – that I took a chance on a young kid and he proved me right. Maybe I can be a team owner some day. Maybe I do know what I’m doing, but I’ve got some young tigers and they’re carrying this old man, but I’ll be back in the fight.”
ROBERT HIGHT CONTINUED – “He wouldn’t know what to do if he wasn’t driving.”
JOHN FORCE CONTINUED – CAN YOU TELL THE STORY ABOUT WHEN YOU FOUND OUT ROBERT WANTED TO BE A DRIVER AND NOT A CREW CHIEF? “We were with Auto Club yesterday and I stood in front of 4,000 of their people and I said, ‘I’m really full of it. I’m full of bull, but Robert is the real deal.’ And he really is because when he came in he was just a personality. He came to work for me over 15 years ago. I was sitting in a movie theater one day and I looked up and I saw him sitting with my daughter holding hands. I was like, ‘Didn’t he read the manual? You can’t date the kids.’ But he actually asked me if he could take her out. He always loved the Dodgers. He always loved baseball. He came from the little town of Alturas, but everything that came out of his mouth was just totally the truth. That’s kind of odd for me. I’m used to the smoke and mirrors, but everything was just gospel. I always thought he wanted to be a crew chief and Austin Coyle was taking him down that road. When we needed a driver change it was amazing that he never asked for the job, and my daughter came up and said, ‘Why wouldn’t you pick Robert?’ And I said, ‘Well, because all Robert ever wanted to do was be a crew chief.’ She said, ‘No, he would just never ask you knowing that somebody’s got to go in that Ford Mustang, but he would never ask you.’ What really amazed me is out of the box he was so good on the Christmas tree, and then later I found out that he had a shot to go to the Olympics because he shoots skeet and trap, so he’s really got to focus on the deal. So he came out. It was a great call for Ford Motor Company to get them a winner. Robert Hight, like I said, he’s the real deal. He’ll tell you the story of how it is and won’t sugar-coat it like I do. He’s excellent at what he does, even when the boys want to beat him up – or even the girls – he walks that line and keeps his nose clean. At the end of the day he delivered for Ford Motor Company and we needed a win. With all the technology with the Ford engineers to build us race cars – everybody said the cars that we had wouldn’t perform, but Robert Hight proved them wrong.”
JOHN FORCE CONTINUED -- WHAT’S THIS ABOUT YOU NOT DRINKING BEER ANYMORE? “I just changed my ways, I don’t know. I won championships and I hammered them down, but you wake up one morning and you look at your wife who has never liked you for the last 20 years – she loved me, she didn’t like me – and you look at your kids out there and safety became a priority. A lot of people think that I’ve forgotten how to win or that I focused on Robert and Ashley and Mike Neff, but at the end of the day there was so much to do, so much that I didn’t know anything about, but I really thank God for the Ford people coming in because we wouldn’t have done it. They spent millions and we’ve got race cars that people said would be too heavy, they wouldn’t work and we outran them right out of the box. When Wilkerson’s son crashed at Memphis – a hard sideways crash – the kid got out and didn’t even think, so right there we knew that what we created at Ford with the Eric Medlen project was the right thing. What did you ask?”
I JUST HEARD YOU GAVE UP BEER. “I just gave it up. I drank enough for a lifetime. I’ve just got a lot on my plate right now. There ain’t nothing wrong with a good beer and having a good time to celebrate, but we’ve already gone into mode for next year. If you haven’t noticed, I’ve been in a little bit of a slump and Ford Motor Company doesn’t pay me to just be there. Right now, Mike Neff bounced out with the Ford. Drive one. car and he was able to win Pomona. It was a great final against Ashley, tires smoking, the girl hit the wall. She was like, ‘Dad, I don’t know what happened.’ And I said, ‘Well, it’s called you’ll learn, baby. That’s what you do.’ But she’s been great for the sport as a female driver in this sport, but Mike Neff got his first win for Ford and that was very important to us to get that out of the way so we can move on.”
CAN YOU SPEAK TO WHAT MARK MARTIN IS DOING IN THIS SPORT? “He’s on the same drugs that I’m on. He has to be (laughing). He’s quite an amazing individual. I’ve watched him. Physically, you can tell he’s in shape. I’m 10 years older than him, but I always said if I was in NASCAR they’d have to have rest stops for me. I couldn’t drive around for three hours. He’s just focused. He does what he does and he’s good. You look at the young tigers like Edwards, you know, I didn’t realize how much Robert knew about the NASCAR drivers and not just the Ford guys, but Robert has another life outside of drag racing. He was so tickled. We were supposed to be on vacation, but when Ford asked us to come down here and bring Robert to celebrate and be a grand marshal and be part of the show today, he was all excited because he had never been to a NASCAR race. It just tripped me out. I remember my first one was at Talladega.”
JIMMIE JOHNSON IS GOING FOR HIS FOURTH TITLE, BUT YOU HAVE 16. ARE YOU THINKING I WON FOUR BEFORE I KNEW WHAT I WAS DOING? “I still don’t know what I’m doing.” ARE YOU IMPRESSED WITH WHAT HE’S BEEN ABLE TO ACCOMPLISH? “I really do. I’ve done a few shows with him. I really don’t know him, but, obviously, like any driver he’s focused. He’s got a winning team and it takes years, just like a football team, you can have a great quarterback, but if he doesn’t have that guy that will catch that ball when he needs to, he’s in trouble, so you’ve got to have the combination. I built a braintrust of people around me and I’ve got some of the older guys on my team that we’re addressing. Right now, I’m bringing in two new young guys just to light the fire in my older generation of guys. It’s not time for retirement. I’m not giving up the seat. I love it too much. My car really thundered down there at Pomona. I ran .05 and was almost low and then Ashley bumped me, but you have to stay focused and that’s what Johnson does. God Bless him – any of the drivers. They work hard. I joked with Robert. When I went down to the shop on Sunday night Robert was sitting in the car. I said, ‘What are you doing? Why aren’t you home barbequing?’ It’s because he’s living it. Ashley was out buying a dress for the banquet. It’s just different styles, but at the end of the day you’ve got to live it. Ashley lives it. Robert Hight lives it. I’ve always lived it. There’s nothing else to any of us because that’s what it takes to make a champion. Ford’s got champions – Edwards and others that they have – but at the end of the day this kid Johnson is just on a roll.”
WHAT’S IT LIKE WHEN THINGS ARE ON A ROLL LIKE THAT? “I said to Robert, ‘Trust me, first you’ll have depression.’ I always call it post partum depression, like a woman when she has a baby, she doesn’t know what to do because you’ve waited all those months and then you get it and it takes a while, but then you bounce right back because you’ve got to start thinking about next year. There’s no time for vacation. We’re working straight through the vacation. That’s what you need to do if you’re gonna stay on top.”
ROBERT HIGHT CONTINUED – “I’ve gone down to the last day of the season with a chance to win the championship and totally positive and thinking you’re gonna win it. You’re thinking it’s been such a battle and such a fight and you’re so excited to finally get it, and then you’re gonna take a little vacation with your family. That’s all the things you’re thinking about, and then you don’t get it and you wake up on Monday morning and you’ve got to get back to work because you didn’t win and you’re not ready. Now you’re just depressed because you didn’t win and you don’t want to take a vacation. The spouses and all that, they take it pretty hard because they’re ready for a vacation, but, as a racer, and somebody that wants to win, you’ve got to get right back out there and do it again. When John was dominating and winning all those races, I don’t think that’s ever gonna happen again – that kind of domination in our sport – probably even in NASCAR. It’s pretty tough to dominate. The races that we have are so close, there are so many good cars, that you can’t let your guard down ever – otherwise you’re gonna get passed up.”
JOHN FORCE CONTINUED – “It was amazing in the staging lanes. I had TV cameras there filming Robert. Well, they had done the points after the run before and they came into the staging lanes like, ‘He’s wrapped up the championship.’ They’re announcing it. He is just getting suited up and the guy said, ‘He doesn’t even want to talk about it.’ We told him that he won. They came and announced it to him right as he was getting into his car and they said, ‘What’s wrong with him? It’s like he won’t acknowledge it.’ I said, ‘That’s his focus. He doesn’t want to acknowledge it. He doesn’t want to get emotional. He wants to get in his race car and win the next round in case you guys got the points screwed up here.’ You just don’t want to know. You want to get the day over with where it’s locked up and that’s what it takes.”
ROBERT HIGHT CONTINUED – WHAT CHANGED ONCE YOU QUALIFIED FOR THE COUNTDOWN? “Two races before Indy we were just hopeless. Our car was not consistent and we had been fighting it for too long. We stuck with a lot of new parts and different things we were trying on my car for too long. I blame that on the Countdown system, which I’m a fan of, because you know you’ve just got to be in there and you’ve just got to be in it to win it. That gives you a little more time to test, and then NHRA throws in a testing restriction four days a year. It used to be that we would go and just test and test and test until we proved something or we got it out of our system and moved on, but we stuck with a lot of things too long. Ashley’s Ford Mustang was definitely holding up our whole team most of the season. She was the class of the field, the best car out there, and she kept our team up. My crew chief, Jimmy Prock, adopted their engine combination and, right off the bat, it was successful. We owe it to them, and that’s what made it so tough to have to race her. We had to race her three times in the Countdown. Had they not fixed us, she’d be sitting up here right now. There’s no doubt about it – with a big lead – but they helped us and that’s part of our four-car team – all of us working together and the goal is one of us to win. Honestly, I never thought we would turn our season around like that. I was excited to get into the Countdown, but I didn’t believe that we would have it fixed that well that soon. We owe it to Ford and all of our sponsors for sticking behind us and not putting a lot of pressure on us. They knew we didn’t get stupid and forget how to race, and they let us do our jobs without any pressure. That makes it easier to come through when you need to.”
WHAT TRAIT DOES JOHN HAVE THAT YOU ADMIRE AS A CHAMPION? “Just how hard he’s worked. I look at where John started from and, I’ll be honest, my road has been paved a lot easier than his. He started from absolutely nothing. He bought his mom’s trailer, and it’s across the street from our shop. You can see where he came from. I think he put it over there on purpose to remember where he came from and to continue to work hard. That gets him up everyday and continues to work hard, but you could definitely see when John was in the hospital, when he got out it was in December and he said that he was gonna test the next month in January. I’m thinking, ‘There is not a chance. He can’t even get in the car to get a seat poured,’ and he worked hard, day in and day out, and just his determination to get back to doing something that he loves more than anybody else, and that’s why he’s a champion. He lives this and that’s the reason John has won 14 world championships.”
Mike Rowe, Ford spokesman and host of the Discovery Channel’s popular show ‘Dirty Jobs’, is serving as the Grand Marshal for Sunday’s Ford 400. He visited the Homestead-Miami infield media center to discuss his role and answer questions.
MIKE ROWE – WHAT ARE YOUR TOP THREE DIRTY JOBS? “Top three or bottom three? There’s no difference anymore. It’s hard to know. You can’t compare chipping out the concrete from the inside of a cement drum on a concrete truck, to replacing a broken lift pump in a five-story silo and a waste-water treatment plant versus washing windows from a bosun’s chair at 500 feet in Hawaii. They’re all weird. What they have in common is generally people who are willing to do that thing, and not just willing to do it but have a good time. That’s the secret of the show. We sweat and we bleed and we cry, and sometimes we throw up, but we always laugh and, at the end of the day, we always enjoy a frosty beverage, so it’s not all bad.”
HOW DO YOU FEEL ABOUT BEING GRAND MARSHAL? “I feel grand. I kind of have a dysfunctional relationship with parades as a rule. In fact, in the first season of Dirty Jobs one of the jobs was parade float dismantler and after the Rose Bowl, they bring in these giant floats, and it rained that particular year, so all of those flowers and stuff were rotting on the things, so I went in and spent the day venting my frustrations, tearing floats apart. I vowed I would never go to a parade and wound up being the grand marshal at the smallest parade in the world two years later because so many people wrote me letters saying, ‘Listen, you’ve got parades all wrong. You should give them another chance.’ The shortest parade in the world is the St. Patrick’s Day parade down in Arkansas. It goes one block, but 50,000 people show up. I sat on a toilet and a guy dragged me on a tractor and I waved a plunger. That was my last grand sort of anything, so this is what you call a step up.”
IS THERE ANY DIRTY JOB YOU’VE DONE THAT’S CLOSE TO YOUR VOICE-OVER WORK ON DEADLIEST CATCH? “Danger, risk, those things are a big part of the show because people used to always equate them into the value of the job that gets done. Nowadays, risk gets mitigated a lot more than it used to, so when you see a show like Deadliest Catch or a job like high-rise window washing, it’s hard not to watch it because you’re seeing people who are still actually getting paid to assume risk, so that’s a big part of this whole genre. Deadliest Catch, nothing really comes close to it statistically. The first time I went up there I spent six weeks. I worked on the boats and I hosted the first season of the show and most everybody I knew got hurt in some way, some seriously, and there were six funerals I went to, so it’s hard to even really talk about it in terms of the unusualness of it because in the job, as the job is going on, it’s just a part of the job and those guys don’t think twice about it. Me, I think twice. My job is an apprentice, so everyday for me is the first day on the gig, so I live in a perpetual state of wonderness/hope/fear/regret/gratitude. It’s complicated being me.”
WHAT DO YOU SEE AS THE DIRTIEST JOB IN NASCAR BESIDES OURS (IN THE MEDIA)? “This room is not bad, actually (laughter). There’s metaphorical dirt. There’s literal dirt. I talked with a lot of the mechanics the other day and, obviously, they’re up to their elbows in all kinds of grease. But the fact is this is not a dirty job. There’s just way too much fun going on here for my brain to even make that particular association. I haven’t seen anything necessarily that would make me go, ‘Man, I wish I had my crew here for this.’ Although this morning I did take a test lap in the pace car and hit the big turn at about 140, and there might have been a dirty job in the passenger seat, but, again, a totally different story.”
WHAT PREPARES YOU FOR THOSE DIRTY JOBS? “That’s a great question and the honest answer is nothing. We really wanted the show to live up to the name reality – not the way it’s become associated with so much programming, but to really be an honest show. The more you prepare, in TV anyway, the less honest you can be. The more produced the program becomes, the less authentic it becomes. The more you rehearse, the more you study, the more takes you do, the more scouting – all of those things in a weird way are counterintuitive to what I think viewers want to see, and certainly to the kind of TV that I would like to make. So the short answer to your question is none. I really want to – to the extent that I’m able – show up with the viewer’s point of view and experience whatever it is for the first time.”
A PARTICULARLY PUNGENT ODOR IS WHEN THE REAR END OF A RACE GETS BURNED UP. HOW DOES THAT COMPARE TO OTHER THINGS YOU’VE SMELLED? “How do I juxtapose a burning rear end with anything else? That’s basically your question? Top 10? You can’t compare it. For instance, there’s a place in Oklahoma City called Skulls Unlimited. I didn’t know what Skulls Unlimited was anymore than I know what the end of a rear end smells like when it’s on fire, but at Skulls Unlimited they take the head of a Bison, in fact they take the whole Bison and they put it into a boil and they keep it their until all the flesh is gone. You can’t compare anything on the planet to that smell. You really, really, honestly can’t and I tried. I went home and I wrote for three hours in my journal and I tried to capture the flavor of scraping and invisible thing off your teeth and then it still gets on your fingers and you can still smell it. I don’t know how to do it, but I also can’t compare it to going into Bracken Cave, which is outside of Austin a few miles – 40 million Mexican Free-tailed bats live in this cave. I went in with a bat biologist and the bats, they’re constantly crapping. They don’t stop, so you walk into three or four feet of guano and when you get to the end of the cave it’s up to your waist, and then you’re sinking in it, and in the guano live flesh-eating domestic beetles and they’re biting you, and the bats are continuing to defecate and urinate and give birth, so little placentas hit you and explode. So when you’re standing in the feces of another species slowly sinking and being eaten alive by domestic beetles while they defile you from both ends, it has an odor. It’s hard to put that in a context with the back end of a burning car, but it’s up there (laughing).”
HAS THERE BEEN ANYTHING TOO DIRTY? ANYTHING YOU SAID NO? “No. There have been some jobs that we passed on because we knew they wouldn’t pass muster with the network. Fundamentally, I want the show to be a celebration. It’s important. I want people who watch the show to understand that these are the jobs that are holding polite society together, and even though an embalmer or a crime scene clean-up technician is important, it’s tough to go be a smart-aleck when there’s a body in the trunk. It’s just not the show that I want to do, so I’ve passed on some that are just grim and dark, but I’ve never said no to a job because it made me uncomfortable. My job is to be uncomfortable and to try my best. And really the only honest way to pay a tribute to the people who do these jobs, which is also critical to the show, is to let the view see me try. When I’m in Bracken Cave sinking in that horrible soup of stuff and the bat biologist is with me, it lets the people who are watching realize that the bat biologist is in there everyday, and as bad as it might be for me in that little snapshot of time, this is what he does. So that’s an important thing to point out, to me. The show is not about succeeding, it’s about trying.”
ON YOUR WEBSITE MIKEROWEWORKS.COM YOU SAY IT’S ‘PATERNALISTIC, UNCHARACTERISTICALLY SINCERE AND PEDANTIC.’ TELL US ABOUT IT. “I knew that three or four seasons into the show I wanted to talk about more than exploding toilets and misadventures in animal husbandry and a lot of the things that make the show kind of fun and make it kind of a spectacle, so I suggested to the viewers that it might be fun to build a trade resource center online – a place that actively celebrated carpentry and steam fitting and pipe fitting and plumbing – these kinds of industries that essentially provide all the jobs we’ve been profiling – and I got thousands of links from the people who watch the show. From that, we began to build this modest site, and then people wanted to talk about work and wanted to talk about labor, so we set up some forums. And then people wanted to literally find jobs, so we tried to find some more useful resources that we could combine together, so right now MikeRoweWorks has been around over a year. It started on Labor Day and it’s been the thing that’s grown from the show that I’m most proud of because there’s a big conversation going on now nationally about what a good job is and what a good job looks like and what it means to actually work, so even though Dirty Jobs is maybe the simplist show in the history of TV, it’s got some very big fundamental themes in it, and it’s those themes that MikeRoweWorks is about.”
DO YOU SCOUT OUT THESE JOBS BEFOREHAND OR NOT EAT BEFORE YOU GO OUT THERE? “I try not to show up hungry as a rule on this job, or full, but, no, not really. In the first season when we were trying to find an audience and see if the thing had any legs at all, I took an active role in making sure that the places we were going, that there was a there there. We’ve never really been disappointed. All of the ideas for the show come from the viewers. Dirty Jobs is essentially programmed by viewers and hosted by the people I meet, so it doesn’t do me any good to know any more than I have to, and I really don’t have to know very much. The show is more mission than story.”
YOUR RELATIONSHIP WITH FORD AND THIS WEEKEND IS A PERFECT FIT FOR YOU. “It’s been great. Ford was a perfect fit before MikeRoweWorks. As soon as this show became a thing, we sat down and thought, ‘Who looks at work the same way?’ And just made a very short list of companies who would be good partners and Ford was at the top, and we began talking a little over three years ago and quickly realized we were saying a lot of the same things just as a matter of philosophy. I started working with the Truck Division, and continue to to this day – cars as well, parts and service – it’s an across-the-board relationship and they’ve been wonderful. Not only have they sponsored and supported the show, but they’re sponsoring and supporting MikeRoweWorks, and for that I’m grateful and glad to be here.”
ANY HINT ON WHAT WE MIGHT HEAR TOMORROW? “It’s gonna be a surprise to me first and foremost. I don’t do a lot of rehearsal, so I’m not exactly sure, but from what I’ve seen others do, the deliveries seem to vary between a sleepy kind of ho-hum to somebody having a seizure on the ground. Maybe somewhere in-between would be sensible. Maybe not. I’m not sure.”
I IMAGINE CLEAN-UP AFTER THESE JOBS IS PRETTY IMPORTANT TO YOU. TO WHAT EXTENT DO YOU GO THROUGH TO MAKE SURE YOU CAN USE YOUR HANDS TO EAT WITH AND NOT WORRY ABOUT GOING TO THE HOSPITAL? “First of all, thank you. I’m touched by the level of your concern. It’s good to hear that (laughter). Of course it’s important, but it’s also relative and it’s a concept that evolved over the last five years. After that shoot at Bracken Cave, that was very, very early in season one and I had stupidly worn into the cave my favorite pair of khaki’s – super-thick, army-issued khaki’s – and one of my favorite t-shirts. Now they were completely soaked in all the fluids I’ve already mentioned, but I was determined to salvage them, so I rolled them up and I put them into my carry-on and I got to Dallas and I got toward the plane. My bag was going through security and apparently it triggers something. They wipe that wand on it and they had trace elements of gun powder, so, of course, they stop me. Now it’s not gun powder it’s fertilizer, but there’s a link. I don’t know what they’re thinking, but they open up this bag and my khaki’s that had been soaked in all that bat crap and all the other stuff, it kind of exploded. It wasn’t a flame, but the stink on it filled the whole terminal. The FBI came over and the cops came over and everybody was looking at the bag like it was full of bat crap and it was, but I realized then that I could no longer travel the way that I used to and I would either have to embrace the idea of disposable clothes or find a cleaner that could take care of it. There are no cleaners, so I don’t where the same thing twice anymore – ever. I just leave them behind.”
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