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Friday, March 13, 2009

HOM: Arnold & Jon

Arnold & Jon, father & son, manager & foreman. They were both pretty good guys, but given my problems with authority figures some clashes were inevitable. There were times when GC was like the military -- first you hurried up, then you waited. Once in a while Arnold would get on a kick and chew you out if he found you standing still during the waits. I've always had a problem with bosses that demanded busywork, even it was unproductive, and Arnold was no exception. I'd already oiled and arranged one load of base rings for making big pipe and was waiting in the kiln for Jim to forklift in a second pallet of them when Arnold walked in. He was still chewing me out for standing around when Jim brought in the second load. I'd just finished getting them ready for use & was waiting for Jim to bring in the two-piece form to be cleaned and prepped when I spotted Arnold coming back. I was right by the rings I'd just oiled and had leaning against the wall so I started rolling each ring about six inches sideways. Arnold watched me for a minute and then said "That's better!" and left. Pointless busywork. Speaking of pointless, or rather the opposite . . . Jon decided to correct me on something he thought I had been doing wrong. I didn't care for the correction since I thought he was the one that was wrong, but what got my attention was his jabbing a forefinger into my chest with every other word. By the time he wound down I was speechless -- my old "quieter when madder" reflex had kicked in. When Jon got done, he put his hands on his hips and said "Well?" I hawked up a gob of spit, deposited it on his boot and walked off, too mad to even growl. End of discussion. Arnold. He used to watch me feeding the mixer and tell me how a guy that used to work there could carry three bags of cement at once -- 291 awkward pounds. Over the course of the summer I got into fair shape, so when Arnold walked in one day and told me to bring out three bags of cement and put them in the trunk of a lady's car I decided to give it a try. I wobbled, probably staggered, and most likely turned beet red, but I managed to get the three bags off the pallet, across the plant, out the door and into the car in one trip. Arnold was standing by the car visiting with the customer & watched me do it, and never said a word. Actually, he never said another word about anyone setting records carrying cement again, so I guess that was worth the all the pulled muscles. Jon had a bright yellow '67 Camaro he had shoe-horned a 396 V8 into. He had a habit of power-sliding it into the lot sideways when he was running late. It was a nice car till the day a guy ran a red light up on Idaho & T-boned it. No one was hurt, but the car was toast. One common interest Jon & I had was listening to shortwave radio. He was quite good at electronics and built a lot of his own stuff. I envied his radio setup. TBC (Me) (Blacktail Books)