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5 > Page 5 of Blue-Tail Fly, February 1970

Part of Blue-Tail Fly

A NICE PLACE TQ PUT A U(ultTER51TV DR. & WS1T FfiOJD ZDdX By- GENE MASON in. 'ax was an awesomely impressive fellow. I met him at age 18 when I was a garrulous sophomore struggling through Kappa Alpha pledgeship at North Texas State University. He was older, more mature (a Korean vetran), and seemed to know a lot.. He said the Army helped. Max told me I was too smart to be a KA. He was nearly always right, so I quit. Max had a family and a job. I didn't have either. I thought about it and then got a job. I worked with Max; we were security guards at Texas Instruments in Dallas. That's where Max's study of fascism began. That's also where Max contracted a strange scalp problem but more about that later. Max and I were chosen to do undercover work because some spy had been stealing secrets from the Central Research Laboratories. We drank a lot of coffe like counter-spies do, but never located an enemy. Over the years Max had learned lots of words. He really liked to read, and we had races. We read history. Max was a history major, and he hated fascism. Max had opinions on everything. He liked to argue. He once told me that women should be slaves and his wife, Murna, was a slave. Max told me this was a very unpopular view and that I probably wouldn't agree with him. I agreed with him. Murna agreed with him too. She had only one problem. She was once the beauty queen at the Indianapolis 500, and she didn't think queens should be slaves. Early one morning at work, when we were guarding the Central Research Laboratories, Max stopped on his clock round to read some books in the president's office. Max leaned back on the couch and began to read. (There was no desk in his office, which Mac later learned was because of the president's disease --tabulophobia privata. Dr. Peter, with whom Max studied later said the disease manifested itself by the complete exclusion of desks from one's office, and that it is seldom observed at any but the very highest ranks in a hierarchy. ) Max found the presient's books in bad taste--one book was about how John Kenneth Galbraith visited whore houses in Poland and then spread all the ideas he would get there to his students. There were also unkind things about Lord Keynes. Max began to suspect that the president was on the wrong side, and decided to search his office Gene Mason is a political science professor at UK. for more incriminating information. Max was gone on his clock round a long time, so I decided to leave the desk and look for him. I found him, right there in the middle of the floor of the president's office, with filing cabinets open and papers everywhere. I said, "Max, what in the world are you doing^ " Max said, "Look at this. " Although scared to death, I sat down on the floor too. Max had found a very interesting plan about what TI (everyone called it that more for the sake of intimacy than abbreviation) would do when the unions came. It talked about an elaborate procedure for gates, wire, extensive patrols, and so forth. It had a lot of material for a propaganda campaign to the workers on all their fringe benefits (e. g. , how much money was spent on coffee and donuts each year) and a plan about how to make the vice-president appear more masculine (most of the workers were women). I told Max we had better put the stuff away. He asked me which side I was on. "What do you mean what side? " Max gave his usual look of over-bearing condescension and said, "When the unions come, are you going to be with women or the wheels? " ("The Man" and "The Pig" weren't in yet. ) I said, "God, Max, let's talk about it later. " Max said definitely not, that we were the guards and we were either going to be keeping the unions out or helping them get in, and we had to decide. Max kept pressing me for a decision, and I knew that people would be arriving soon for the day shift. I told Max that I grew up on a farm in West Texas and there wasn't a union within 300 miles in any direction. Max said he was from Ft. Worth, that he knew about unions and that I should be with the workers. In desperation, I agreed. L sex in the giant parking lot. Only one guard liked the job, and he was generally thought to be perverted. But Max and I knew we must get on patrol so we could handbill the cars with" union literature. His plan worked. For weeks while we were supposed to be detecting the union organizers in the patrol car we were dropping handbills from our brief cases onto the seats of parked cars. The union never did get the election they wanted, but Max and I felt we had done the right thing. little did I know what a subversive that decision would make me. Soon they came, standing at the gate entrances as the 9, 000 member day shift arrived, handing out hand bills and encouraging the workers to vote for a union election. Max and I and the other guards were supposed to keep keep them off the premises and generally make things difficult for them. Max and I had to be careful. We were afraid to tell anyone of our intentions. We wouldn't evern discuss it over the telephone. Max worked out the plan, and based it around the one job that all guards disliked: the patrol car. No one can study and drive a car, especially when looking for illicit |ax and I worked and argued for three years, and then we got tired and quit working. We both wrote letters of resignation to the company president extolling the virtues of TI and thanking them for allowing us to get a good first hand look at an industrial empire. Max thanked the president for allowing him to study fascism. Max went to Tulane for graduate school, and 1 went to the University of Kansas. When I became a profes sor I moved to Kentucky. I wanted to teach and write about judges and help build a graduate school. My chairman said I came to the right place. Max didn't like science and usually influenced me a great deal, but I wanted to be as scientific as possible. I had learned in graduate school that someday scientific studies of voting behavior could be made into a very important theory. Somehow it never occurred to me or my peers that I should perhaps learn how to teach if I was going to be a teacher. I was real worried about not knowing how to teach until I learned that no one except my students would ever know if I was not a good teacher. Even if I was a flop it didn't matter, because the important thing was to get a big theory about votes and write parts of it in a journal for 50 or 100 readers doing the same thing in other universities. Somehow I never did learn why this was important--but it was as clear in graduate school as it is now that all my peers were busy at the task. I never did forget Max, but didn't think I would ever see him again. I couldn't believe it when Max and Murna knocked on the door. Max was a professor in Florida, and Murna was -still a slave. She drank a lot and talked about sex. Max talked about fascism. Max had read a lot more books, and following the customary practice, his students were made to read so much they cheated. We talked a lot. 1 told Max I loved Kentucky. He ask:d blue-tail fly 5