Thursday, November 6, 2008

The Hog

He's dead. He died last year. He was a dispatcher. His name was Aurther Phillip Penn III, Phil Penn. Pig Pen. Piggie. The school marm. We did not get along.

The drivers out there are probably saying to yourselves, well if you're a real cab driver why would you ever have an enemy among dispatchers? You just have to do it. There's a limit to the abuse you can take. Dispatchers handing out abuse? Nah, never happen. Yeah, and while we're telling lies, I just happen to own this swamp in Arizona I have for sale.

The Hog had a lot of tattos, and of course he had Piggie tattoed on his left arm.

We don't have forced dispatching. What that means is, if I don't want to do that ride, I don't have to. I can be empty, I can be right across the street from the ride, there can be no other cab within 30 minutes of that call, and there's nothing the dispatcher can do about it, if I don't want to do that ride. This is the issue the Hog and I parted ways over. When he sat down he figgured he was god. If he said you had to do a ride, that was it, you had to do it. In the long run, it probably cost me thousands of dollars to refuse to do a few dozen rides, but learning how to get along with dispatchers is part of the game. To any aspiring driver, NEVER antagonize a dispatcher. They all know me, so I couldn't take my own advice even if I wanted to, at this point in my career.

Around 10:55 pm on Saturday nights, Curly would always say, "And now, here's the kinder, gentler, School Marm", and the gravely voice would begin reading off the board. Curly really looked up to Piggie, and used him as a role model. Curley was the artistic inspiration for the movie character, Jaba the Hut, he used to say he wanted to eat until he exploded, and his face looked like a pepperoni pizza. I'll do a post about Curley some time.

School Marm? He had a degree in education. He was qualified to be a French teacher, but never worked in that capacity. It might have been his other exploits in life that made him unqualified to teach. Cab driving has always been a place where people with a prison record or dishonorable discharge could still find a job. He liked to play pool. His memoriam was a Piggie Penn Memorial Pool Tournament at Blue Chalk. I did not attend. He also liked bending the rules (cheating in a business of cheating). Years ago, we had an account with ChiNor, which were almost all $100+ rides. It turns out that one of his pals at the pool hall was a ChiNor employee who'd tip him off on the up coming rides which he camped on when he was driving. He was pretty proud of his inside info, and flaunted it.

Now that he's gone, dispatching has changed, it's gotten more impartial, more honest. It needed to happen. It took way to many years to happen.

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