I enjoy my position in the community and the contacts I make as a member of the Chamber of Commerce. I consider it to be a form of public service which I value a great deal. Members of the Joplin chapter are often asked to appear at special events either individually or as a group. Weekly commitments are the usual state of affairs. It is part of the responsibility. They may entail a ceremony, the promotion of a charitable cause, or a political appearance. While there are variations each year, often you are required to attend an opening of a business or the inauguration of major new construction.
An office park qualifies most certainly as it is a new development project that will affect the economy and the overall health of the community. Recently my job led me to the official mayoral recognition of the site. There were many officials there other than members of the Chamber of Commerce. We were joined by the Rotary Club, the councilman for this district, a couple of judges, and the state senator. Frankly I was impressed by the event since it was an office park and not a hospital or library.
After a speech by the major and a few handshakes with the developer and builder, we were invited to tour the site and view the progress to date. We wore hard hats, just like you see in commercials or movies. Men in yellow hard hats and business suits. Fortunately, it wasn’t muddy as we had been experiencing a long drought. I find construction to be interesting given all the trades that are represented. Each has its own unique skills. At this point in the buildout, it was mostly framing and beams.
Almost at the end of the tour, I left the group behind to wander and survey the scene. It was not advised, but somehow I had missed the warning. As I walked toward the group about to exit to head to the parking lot, I clumsily tripped over something like this – an extension cord that was plugged into a welder. It should not have been there, but it was. Frankly, it was my own fault for being errant. I was miffed and embarrassed, but the only thing that was wounded was my pride.
I quickly slunk away like a cat with his tail between his legs. I tried to reach my car as fast as I could. Unfortunately, a member of the press was right behind me. He had videotaped the entire incident. A chill ran down my spine. Was he going to put it on the Internet? I asked. He said that it wasn’t to harm me but that watching a man in a hard hat and suit trip was really funny. My embarrassment returned full force. He saw my chagrin and felt sorry for me because he added that he would think twice about it. I shook his hand, thanked him, and sped off. Whew!