It was early December, 1969, and I had been a TWA
maintenence foreman for just six months. At age 26 I wore my uniform like a
phallic symbol, the gaudy red shoulder patch not unlike that worn by the bossy
foreman in the movie "Airport".Working San Francisco's South Terminal Pier F,
gates that were then numbered 51 through 59, I was on the swing shift. The first
four hours were rather dead, lots of time for shooting slides in the perfect
setting, sunlight on my back and an uncluttered background with Coyote Point
in the distance. I had just purchased a new Bessler color enlarger and looked
forward to making 16"x20" color prints.
One of my best friends, a mechanic named
Bill Duncan, and I ventured to the public snack bar situated behind the Western
ticket counter. I ordered a hot dog and a coke. Standing immediately to my left
in the crowded facility was a businessman with an American Airlines ticket envelope
in his suit pocket. "What are you going to do tomorrow, Clint?" Bill asked me.
"Well, first thing, I'm going to blow up that American 727", I responded. The
businessman next to me spit coffee all over me and stumbled, a look of utter
disbelief in his face."Oops! Poor choice of words", I said, "we're photographers
shooting slides of airliners and 'blow up' is a term for making an enlargement".
"You son of a bitch!", the businessman said, "you really had me worried".