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Saturday, April 11, 2009

HOM: Boss Times III

I think we will call him C. He was a plant manager type and rarely showed up on swing shift. When he did, odd things happened. He was talking to the #1 lathe operator when a log came up the incline a little crooked. He put his hand on the end of it to straighten it just as the hydraulic centering rams closed. He said it hurt . . . He walked into the millwright's shop. The wright had just gotten done torching out a piece of metal and was holding the glowing-red chunk in a pair of tongs and grinding it down. C walked up, held out his hand and said "Gimme that!" The wright did -- dropping it right onto C's bare palm. Dumb met Dumber. C was watching some repairs down in the hog under the layers of belts holding the veneer after it came off of the lathe and before it got to the clipper. He noticed that the belts were running empty and stuck his head up between them to see why no veneer was coming. Yeah, he got his forehead skinned and was lucky to not be worse hurt when the fresh sheet of 20mph veneer hit him. He came in early one morning way before the mill opened. He was wandering around trying to find the cleanup man, the only guy working at the time, when he noticed the big chipper wasn't running. He went over and started it, there was a choked-off scream and blood spatter from the machine. Panic City! C had the machine shut down and was scrambling around to see what he had done when the cleanup man walked in and asked what was up. C blew up at him, like the scare C got was his fault. Oh, the scream & blood? A stray cat... Then there was another boss, who walked up to one of the guys who'd been quite a boxer. "Put 'em up!", the boss said, and raised his fists. And landed on his butt with his head ringing. He'd been joking, the boxer wasn't. No -- no repercussions for that either. PC hadn't been invented yet. At times like that, and with stories like that, I decided maybe my old Gunboat crew really was handpicked. TBC (Me) (Blacktail Books)