Have you ever held the hand of a dying family member? Until you have, you can't start to imagine the personal anguish that floods over you as you watch life slowly ebb away from that once hearty, robust body lying there. And knowing full well that there's absolutely nothing you can do. The body on the bed is now a frail, aged looking shell of a human, not that hearty one that was always there first to lend a helping hand. That poor shell of a human is loaded with morphine to try to give him some relief from the never-ending pain - pain that will last until his last breath on Earth is done..

Did we say family member? We have held the hand of dying members of our work "family." Why address them as family, you ask? Stop and think for a moment; you spend at least 40 hours a week with your coworkers. That's at least 1/3 of your total working life. The other 2/3 that remain are yours to do with what you want.

You prostitute your own body eight hours a day to work for a company that acts as though it is your friend. But what friend would put you to work in a dangerous environment without warning you of the dangerous surroundings that you will subject your body to? Even though the friend was well aware of the hazard. What friend, when the truth finally comes out, would continually tell you that "there's no problem?" Would this so-called friend like to meet with all of the surviving spouses and heirs at one time in one room alone? And then try to tell them that "there's no problem?"

Maybe they keep saying no problem because radiation is as insidious as carbon monoxide. You can't see or smell either one. But CO takes you down easy - you just go to sleep and don't wake up ever again. Radiation - - - well that's a different story altogether.

As Ralph Krieger, President Local 8-215 OCAW replied when, on a TV show, someone said "there's no problem" - - - I don't know if there's a problem or not - - - I'm too busy counting the coffins.

Sam may have been a "little guy" in stature, but he had a big heart.
Sam, rest in peace - you deserve it.
You've had your share of Hell here on Earth.

Sorry to have to cut this little dedication short, but it's time to get out to the cemetery to help dig a grave for yet another coworker who died from the final effects of the "no problem."

by Ralph N. Krieger and Don Finch - April 1997

dedicated to the memory of Sam Tornabene
and others before and after him, Linde/Praxair workers who died of cancer