It was Spring 2003, and I was returning to work at Northrop Grumman at Hill AFB from my 4 year USAF assignment at PACOM. There are not that many engineering experts in Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles, especially with my very useful background. Certainly, everyone must be happy… no, downright anxious, to have me back again, finally, after 4 years!
I am just that damned important.
It was a measure of my own self-delusion that this answer surprised me. It reminded me once again that I really wasn’t quite as critical as I thought I was.
I comfort myself with the fact that unbridled hubris is better than a complete lack of confidence. At least with the former there is comic relief for those around you.
Just so you don’t think I am a complete lost cause, during an Air Force business trip, I found myself in the lobby of a fairly nice hotel in London in my full USAF suit and tie uniform — you know, flashy medals and insignia. A very pleasant East Anglican lady asked me to take her bags up to her room. So I complied.