Sunday, June 3, 2012

'Cause They're Ugly" - Part IV

          In the 1960s and 1970s I was a fan of the James Bond movies.    He was a true action hero - vanquishing the wicked, bedding the beautiful, and preserving the very tenets of the free world with his wiles, strength, and cunning.  With each new book and each new film I would envision him as the ultimate secret agent – sneaking around world capitals and ornate castles to quash military-industrial plans for taking over the world while disposing of nefarious and devious individuals with thick European accents and very hungry sharks as pets.
            About six weeks before the manuscript for this book was due to my editor, I was offered an opportunity – while clearly not on the same level as James Bond’s cloak-and-dagger opportunities – to view a place rarely seen by the general public.  I had been invited to the Eastern Shore of Maryland to tour the horseshoe crab bleeding facility of Lonza (Chapter 1) in the small college town of Salisbury.  I was offered a rare opportunity to see the actual horseshoe crab bleeding process in person and use that information to complete the LAL story begun in the first chapter.
            However, before I made the trip I was advised that I could not take any photographs, nor could I tape record any of the conversation I was to have with the plant manager.  I could take handwritten notes, but I could not take away any visual or verbal information.  This was top secret stuff – proprietary information – and since James Bond wasn’t around I now imagined myself in a Matt Damon movie.  I was about to enter a secret facility, with very secret information, and clusters of very secret people who talked in low whispers, wore starched while lab coats, carried clipboards and walkie-talkies, and ate cellophane-wrapped sandwiches in sterile lunchrooms.
            On top of all the secrecy I was required to wear the always fashionable blue hair net, starched white lab coat, baby blue “booties” over my shoes, sterile face mask, and special goggles over my glasses.  I wanted to try my best Matt Damon impersonation, but the thick pad of gauze over my mouth muffled my usually witty repartee making me sound more like Big Bird or Cookie Monster on Sesame Street.  It was evident that I would have to leave the fight against the forces of evil and the worldwide plague of tyranny in Mr. Damon’s capable hands.

No comments:

Post a Comment