bunch of the boys were whoop- ing it up! Well, they certainly were Stanley!
....The nice memories of conventions –
particularly loggers’ conventions – are not easily forgotten.
How could they be? Being a mixture of smoky hos-pitality suites, elbow
crushing, vocal shatterings, warm scotch and “standitis uprightis.”
....If ever a social function were inven-ted
to separate homo sapiens from their deserved sleep – or test their
endurance to keep a shutting eye open while an impassioned speaker tells
of he excite-ment generated by a new accounting system – then
conventions are it.
....As a lack of sleep pioneer at conventions,
I can recall, on the third day of such an inquisition, the 150 pounds
per square inch that it took to actually keep an eyelid from falling
shut. “Oh, I’ll just close it for a second. God, that feels
good. Who me? Snoring? G’wan buddy. I heard every word that speaker
....Well, conventions are a way of life
in North America and really, when you come to think of it, how would
the bagpipes still be around if it weren’t for convention luncheons
and banquets? There is something very tribal about marching in to a
head table, bagpipes ahowling “Scotland the Something” –
while the ordinary people with “stand-upis uprightis” smirk
as you pass by their tables. Very un-nerving for a God-fearing lumberjack
from some far back lonely inlet.
....“Standupis uprightis” can
be found in all parts of a convention. Cocktail parties are murder –
there it’s mass spinal stiffness. Meeting a machinery salesman
who has not sold a piece of iron for weeks, can give a delegate a severe
case of “standitis.” Sometimes if you answer him in sign
language, he will go away – but then you always run the risk that
he will answer you back the same way.
....One other occupational hazard to convention-going,
is the “open-handed glass-fitter’s syndrome.” This
classic ailment can be carried away from a
convention and last as long as a month. It is caused by holding a glass
of whiskey or a bottle of beer in the same hand until the tendons, arteries,
fingernails and skin lock suddenly into place around said object. Cures
for this disease have been researched in Pittsburgh, the Cook Islands
and the Mayo Cliniic – all to no avail. If you’ve got “OHGFS”
you’re in trouble.
....Such are the rigors of a successful convention.
My early years at Truck Logger’s conventions left me with imp-resssions
of two opposite feelings – awe and hangovers. Which one came first,
or lasted longest, I can’t remember. I seemed to drift from one
to the other effortlessly.
....Conventions of course come in two classifications.
There are the down-to-earth, hard-chair, serious, inspiring, workaholic,
involved types, that are held on the outskirts of town. I’ve never
been to one, but I hear they’re no fun at all, so let’s talk
about the other kind.
....It’s great sport when you first
head out on the convention trail. You’re just a young paid-up attendee
– a delgate – no responsibilities to attend private meetings,
make speeches, chair meetings, panic, or be a host. You can sleep in after
a big first night party at Ace Nuts hospitality suite and stagger down
to the convention floor the next morning at ‘quarter to twelve,’
in time for the bagpipes to tell you that lunch is ready.
....Then, of course, as a newcomer, there’s
the first time, when you’ve told the little woman that you’ll
check out the convention this year, but she had better stay up the inlet
and look after the floathouse. “Tides are bad this time of year,
Grace.” Ah, yes, the tides! The ebb and flow of life.
....So our young hero trundles off to the
big city and the big convention for the first time. Why, there’s
a world of learning coming his was and he’s just ripe for such an
....Of course, the years roll along and our
young hemlock hero from the inlet finds that he gradually becomes invol-ved
with the convention organization. Instead of getting “standitis
out in the crowd, he’ll develop it at pre-luncheon head table
gatherings. It feels the same, but now he’s wearing a nice black
suit and being kind to novices. Oh yes, and the little woman has given
up watching tides and is staunchly at his side – day and night!
Today she’s at the fashion show with the girls and sizing up a
nice green organdy gown.
....There’s no sleeping in now because
he’s on several committees that have as chairmen, some non-drinker,
who likes to have meetings at 7 a.m. “When the old head is clear,
young fellow.” Oops! There go the bagpipes!
....Here are a few simple rules from a
long-ago convention goer, that should be observed if one wants to find
true happiness at one of these classics.
....• Don’t take your power
saw to the convention with you. It has already been done years ago –
and they are still trying to patch up the instant doorway that a logger
made at the Hotel Vancouver.
....• Keep out of crowded hospitality
rooms. Stick with flypaper salesmen. Their suites are never crowded
and they have lots of ice, and ham sandwiches.
....• Hesitate before speaking –
or better still, speak Tibetan if a salesman asks you how many Great
Yellow Traktors you own.
....• Keep away from potted palms.
....Conventions serve a real purpose for
the people in this forest around us. For the young up-and-coming delegate
it’s a place to listen and learn from the older hands. For the
more senior people of the industry, it’s a chance to listen to
grass roots problems. Of course, for the sales people that serve the
industry, it’s a once-a-year chance to show off their new gizmo
with a hydraulic what-not on it.
....Here’s to all delegates! And
Keep out of the bight,