Cockroach Brain Speaks
Maybe it is because I spent several years cold canvassing business firms that Cami Adair’s piece rang true for me (“Please Let Me Sell Them Pest Control,” Cover Story, February 12).
She acquired an education in human nature. The humor, anguish, suspense, and surprise that one encounters when dealing with individuals is presented by her in a sprightly way. Of course, she is sprightly because she hops over fences, lands on her feet, while always being able to muster up a smile.
Humor — She imagined her crew as a bunch of cockroaches slipping into residences. We can only keep our sanity if we can laugh at our place in the world.
Anguish — Without a sale, she will have to post a zero on the sales board. The anticipation of pain will weigh on her for a whole day.
Suspense — Will she be nabbed by the evil homeowner’s association operative?
Surprise — Richard Dreyfuss? Did she make this up? This is just too good! And he laughed at her impersonation of a snail. A star connects with a cockroach.
If that isn’t enough for an A-plus grade, she puts in something profound. Relations with other humans depend, she says, not on the conversation as much as on the metaconversation.
I learned that too in my cold-call days. I think that it took me three years to discover it. Actually, with my small cockroach brain, that is fairly fast.
Miramar Ranch North
Bugman In Iraq
I really enjoyed Cami Adair’s style of writing, dialogue, story-recounting, and overall point of view in her February 12 pest control article (“Please Let Me Sell Them Pest Control,” Cover Story).
I’m an entomologist with the U.S. Air Force. And I love integrated pest management. Were the pest controllers of the world one of the first groups, if not the first group, to go green? I wonder if this has hindered pest control as a business or helped due to several enviro-friendly products now hitting the marketplaces?
This week’s “T.G.I.F.” column entitled “Remarkable people were at the Carlsbad station that Friday” (February 12) was graceful, poetic, and refreshing. I don’t usually write letters to the editor, but I’m so moved by the natural flow and imagery of Mr. Brizzolara that I had to sit down and write to you. You’ve got a talented writer in him. I’m already looking forward to next week’s Reader. I’ve not seen such quality writing in any local publication anywhere I’ve lived (NY, TN, NM, MD…), so thanks, and keep it up!
My Other Plane’s A Turbo
While your “Clipped Wings” piece (“City Lights,” February 12) pointed out a few conspicuous examples of executive excess, it blatantly ignored the great majority of business aircraft that are used for legitimate purposes. Every day, hundreds of passengers from private and public companies, military organizations, and government agencies, along with several elected officials in state and federal government positions, travel in business aircraft. It’s as though you decided to tar and feather everyone who owns or leases a car in America along with the 1 percent of fat cats who ride around in stretched limos, luxo SUVs, or $200,000 European sedans.
For example, the considerably smaller and less expensive turboprop and turbofan business aircraft, based at local general-aviation airports, including Montgomery Field, Carlsbad’s McClellan-Palomar Airport, Gillespie, and Brown fields, are much more representative of workaday business airplanes. Every day, hundreds of such aircraft enable people to reach destinations much more efficiently and with much greater schedule flexibility than they could on the airlines. These aircraft are anything but polished royal barges for coddled elitists who deem themselves too good for airline travel. Six out of seven of these aircraft are used, not new. They have useful lives of 35 to 45 years, so they aren’t glamorous or gleaming like new models fresh from the factory.
“But, why do we need business aircraft at all, when we have the airlines?” you might ask. Just try taking the city bus — instead of your own car or a cab — to your next business meeting across town or another city in San Diego County. “That’s a ridiculous comparison,” you might respond.
Not so. Airline service is at its worst since the dawn of the jetliner half a century ago. The airlines now provide point-to-point service only between a dozen or so city pairs in the U.S. The airlines now serve less than 300 destinations with any frequency. They simply abandoned smaller cities where their profit margins were lower.
To reach most of those 300 cities, you have to wait in a hub airport as though you were a piece of store-and-forward airfreight. Every year, stormy weather, traffic congestion, broken airplanes, and poor scheduling cause thousands of airline passengers to be stranded in hub airports, thus arriving hours or even days late at their final destinations. Their luggage also gets lost, they have to wait for hours to reschedule, and there may be no seats available on the next flight out.
The folks at Qualcomm, for example, used their business aircraft to support the relief effort for Hurricane Katrina. They carried engineers, tools, supplies, and portable cell phone station parts on their corporate airplanes. They never missed a flight. Qualcomm officials recently testified at a federal government hearing in Burbank, which I attended, that they got more done in three days to support the Katrina relief effort than they could have on the airlines in three weeks.
And while you’re throwing darts at Qualcomm VIPs, you should note that the Jacobses do not use company airplanes for personal trips. They have their own airplane, along with their own cars, that they use for family transportation.
Am I jealous? The Jacobses have a much nicer airplane than my 1973 single-engine Beech. They also have much nicer cars than my 20-year-old Ford. And their home undoubtedly is much nicer than my 1978 Bay Park tract house. I say, hurray for Dr. Jacobs’s enjoying the fruits of his labors. I’m proud that innovative, talented, and hardworking Americans, such as the Jacobses, still can do that in the United States.