Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Further inspiration from Tim

For a while I inspected the welds on these big ass diesel crank cases for locomotives and tug boats.

Tim has got a pretty good blog called Poop In The Pipes. He posted something about working in a factory that made me think about my last factory job. I suppose I mourn the passing of the industrial economy but not enough to wish I was working in a factory. The money was good. I used to get fired a couple of times a month. The foreman would yell, "Your ass is fired! Get the hell out of here!"

I'd stand there and say, "I'm not going anywhere till I talk to my union representative." Then I'd stand around and wait for the shop steward.

The steward would show up and ask me what was going on and I'd tell him I hadn't been to work for three days and I hadn't called in sick. I didn't have a phone and I didn't like driving to the phone booth to call in sick. He'd say, "That's bullshit. You don't have to call in sick till the fourth day." Then he'd go to the foreman and say, "Don't be an asshole. This man needs his job. If you fire him you'll be violating the contract."

The foreman would say, "Yeah, but it's the third time he's pulled that shit this month." This was true. I did not have much of a work ethic. Sometimes I'd get "sick" on Monday and Tuesday, come to work on Wednesday, think better of it and get "sick" all over again Thursday and Friday. I kept that up for a couple of years until someone crashed into my car and put me out of work for a couple of months. That gave me some time to think. When I came back to work I didn't last long at all.

I posted the rest of the story as a comment at Tim's blog:

"My last factory job was a couple of miles from the nearest bar. I could punch out for lunch, drive the couple of miles, drink seven beers, eat a sandwich, drive back to the factory and punch in in exactly 30 minutes. The beers would make the floor feel pleasantly rubbery just as I was walking away from the time clock. I was worthless after lunch so I tried to do my work in the morning. By quitting time I was sober and feeling like shit.

That was in Chicago and it was a long time ago. The factory made parts for locomotives. The parts got assembled in a different factory so I never saw what exactly I was building parts for. I would fish parts out of bins, assemble them in jigs, weld them up and stack them in other bins.

One time one of the crane operators came to work drunk. His foreman told him to go home so he went back to his car and came back with a 30/30 rifle and started shooting out lights. Eventually he ran out of ammunition, someone took the gun away and the cops came. This all happened about 30 feet away from me but there were stacked up parts bins between us and it was so noisy that I didn't notice the gun shots.I didn't even know I hated that job until my foreman explained it to me. He said, "Look, I have a wife and two kids and a mortgage. I have to work here. You're young, you don't owe anybody anything and you're wasting your time here." Every time I think about that guy I could fucking kiss him. On the mouth."

Update- I should add that at first I was an enthusiastic worker at this job. I worked my days off and stuck around for overtime. It was only after I got overexposed to racist bosses and some creepy racist and anti semitic co workers that I started to get fed up. I decided I didn't want to get into management or to rise in the corporation. Then, without realizing it, I started to hate my trade and to just get tired of the whole thing. Like I said, it took a smart and good boss to explain me to myself.

Nobody has listened to this song since I posted it months ago. What's wrong with you people?

Go Out Smokin'- The Meat Purveyors (buy)


Nazz Nomad said...

ya ever wonder if the parts you made when you were wasted were substandard and caused an accident?

Jon said...

Good question. They were inspected before they were used. I never heard back about quality control problems. It's probable that the inspector was as fucked up as me. This was the late '70's. Everyone that worked in factories was fucked up. The whole system was doomed. I know most of the cars I worked on in Detroit were dangerous junk no matter what I imbibed at lunch.

uniplmr1 said...

I like the song. We didn't have unions around Brockton at least none that would let me join. We had great bars though, lots of them.

ib said...

Nice post.

Just though I'd let you know I'm still reading. Even though the transmission is flawed.

Oh. And I agree wholeheartedly. "Poop in the Pipes" is overlooked at one's peril.

chaunceydevega said...


Hope you are well. I was going over my site and haven't seen you in a bit...your comments are always welcome. I got to thinking are things okay?

hopefully they are.

Chauncey DeVega
We Are Respectable Negroes

Jon said...

Chauncey, I'm honored to have you visit my little white trash rendezvous. I promise I read all of your posts. The reason you don't hear from me that often is because sometimes I feel like you are playing chess while I am playing checkers. I'll come across some idea at your blog and I'll have to stop and think about it for a few months. By the time I feel like I've reached some conclusions the discussion has moved on. Your latest post on kinky sexuality and "playing" with slaves is a good example. I swear, I'll have reached some conclusions about that post by the new year but right now it's given me layer on layer of things to think about. I'd like to contribute but all I've got right now is, "Wow, yeah, lemme think about that some more."

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