I'm not sure how other shop owners have done it, but I personally started from the very bottom and workedM Mmy way up. Sure, I've always owned the shop, but that didn't mean I always had someone to dump the crappy work onto. I had to do it all. Well, in the beginning, we had to do it all, but you get the point. The few kids who hung around weren't much help with the grinding and whatnot, because they really didn't seem to care. Besides, we were just learning about fabricating, so how were we supposed to delegate when we weren't sure how it was supposed to be done?

These days, it's a little different. I know what needs to be done; or at least how I want it done, and so delegation is much easier. But, the strange thing is that now I have a line of kids begging to be my new shop assistants. I've chased off so many people willing to lick my floors clean, just to learn a few things. And what's more appealing, I have the neat-o tools that are shown on those TV shows that allow you to build a full custom car in seven days (you know which ones I'm talking about).

But seriously though, picking a worthwhile new guy isn't that easy. There are so many things to think about. How many thousands of dollars will walk out of the shop everyday if he's a kleptomaniac? What about safety or common sense? How many hours will I spend explaining how to put together a set of air valves? Or my personal favorite: Is he going to try and be a hero all the time and impress me with his infinite automotive knowledge?

Being the new guy can be tough, but it also has its advantages. I wish I had someone to learn from in the beginning.

I would have ground a notch out of a solid chunk of steel to learn about bump-steer when I was starting out. Even my star-pupil, Steve, started out as a shop bitch. To top that off, he wasn't even my helper, he was an employee's helper. It was only a short time before his talents became obvious and now he's learning things alongside of me. It's very cool.

This year's model is named Kyle, and he's pretty-Sarra says so-but we won't let that stop us from making fun of him. Don't think for one second that he is afraid to get dirty, though. He and his best friend, Tim, had an anti-freeze chugging competition. Also, the other day they brought by some hot wings from a pizza place here in town that has a "10 wings in 10 minutes" contest and they wanted to test them out before they took the challenge. They got a hurtin'! These boys are ridiculous.

And now that I'm sitting here thinking about it all, they are probably more foolish than anybody else who I have ever met. I believe these guys would try to wrestle a 'gator if they came across one-and I'm not saying that to be funny, I really think they would try it. So, this got me thinking, what's going to happen to my shop when I'm out picking up parts or getting my hair did? Hmmm.

Maybe I should think about a new version named Hank or Carl. Someone more like Steve or me, who girls only look at to have something to laugh about with their friends.

In my opinion, even Shiny Steve is too pretty, always combing his arm hair and fixing his mustache. I don't think fabricators should be so concerned about their outside beauty. We are all pretty on the inside... except for Bob Grant, he's pretty all over.