Funny Bone

I’m really proud of BrainRants being what he is, and doing what he does to preserve our way of life.  He has reasons for spending almost half his life in the U. S. Military, reasons he’s admitted to himself, reasons he’s given to others.  For those of you who wonder, on June 14th, it was all explained.  These are David Letterman’s                     TOP 10 Reasons To Love Being In The U.S Army.

10:  You haven’t lived until you’ve eaten rehydrated beef brisket.

9:  You get to visit exotic places, like Trenton, New Jersey.

8:  No can opener??!  Just run over it with a tank.

7:  Sir, you’re never unsure how to begin and end a sentence, Sir!

6:  Cutting edge technology, like our machine that controls the weather.

5:  I really, really, really, really enjoy pushups.

4:  In an Apache attack helicopter, you tend to have the right of way.

3:  Always have an answer when some fool says, “You and whose Army?”

2:  Camouflage brings out my eyes.

1:  Working among the most talented men and women this country has to offer….and the free haircuts.

Geriatric Care

An old lady goes to her doctor and says, “I have this problem with frequent gas.  Fortunately, when I pass them, they never smell and are always silent.  As a matter of fact, I’ve passed gas at least ten times since I’ve been here, and I bet you never even noticed!”

The doctor says, “I see.  Take these pills, and come back to see me again next week.”

The next week the old lady comes back.  “Doctor” she says, “I don’t know what you gave me, but now my silent rippers stink like the dickens.”

The doctor says, “Good!  Now that we’ve cleared up your sinuses, let’s get to work on your hearing.”

Eco-Savings

While grocery shopping, a budget-watching, and environmentally aware university student comes across toilet brushes.  “Wow!  What a great idea!’ he thinks to himself, and buys three of them.

Two weeks later, however, after much pain and aggravation, he goes back to using toilet paper.

Spring Training

A rookie pitcher was struggling on the mound, so the catcher walked out to have a word with him.  “I’ve figured out your problem.” he told the young pitcher.  “You always lose control at the same point in every game.”  “When is that?” asked the rookie.  “Right after the National Anthem!”

Wine And Dine

Two older people were flirting at a seniors’ singles bar.  After a few drinks, the old man asks the old woman, “If I took you out for a full night of wining, dining and dancing, what would you wear?”  The old gal replies shyly, “Depends….”

“Depends on what?” he asks.  “On my butt….where else?”

Three Hymns

One Sunday, a pastor asked his congregation to consider giving a little extra in the offering plate.  He said that whoever gave the most would be able to pick out three hymns.  After the offering plates were passed, the pastor noticed that someone had contributed a $100 bill.  Extremely grateful, he wanted to personally thank the generous person in front of the whole congregation.

A quiet, elderly widow shyly raised her hand.  The pastor asked her to come to the front. He told her how wonderful it was that she gave so much, and asked her to pick out three hymns.  Her eyes brightened as she pointed to the three handsomest men in the congregation: “I’ll take him, and him, and him!”

Oh dear!  This isn’t working out well.  That’s the third old codger story in this post.  I’m like the guy from Pompeii who knows 500 lava jokes.  Distraction – distraction, I know, let’s poke fun at airheads.

Charmed

The pretty young lady had sharp pains in her side.  The doctor examined her and said, “You have acute appendicitis.”  She replied, “That’s sweet Doc, but I came here for some medical help.”

First Class Act

Kim Kardhasian boarded a plane from New York to L.A with a ticket for coach, because that was all that was available and she wanted to get back to the coast quickly.  Once she boarded, she marched up front and chose a seat in First Class.  The flight attendant checked her ticket and told her to move back to her assigned seat.

She immediately did everything except stamp her feet, hold her breath and turn blue.  “I’m Kim Kardhasian, and I’m going to sit right here, all the way to L.A.!”  Never having been exposed to a celebutant’s temper tantrum before, the flight attendant is flustered.  She goes to the cockpit and informs the Captain.  The Captain goes back and briefly whispers something in Kimmie’s ear.

She immediately gets up, gives the Captain a quick hug, and rushes back to her seat in the coach section.  The flight attendant is amazed, and asks him what he said to get her to quietly move.  “I just told her that the First Class section isn’t going all the way to L.A. today.”

And, to end on a technological note:

Clean And Reboot

The cleaning lady was tidying up for the wealthy computer-whiz.  She commented that he had a nice-looking PC.  He looked frustrated, and said, “Yeah, it’s top of the line, but with this new operating system, I can’t seem to get any of my programs to start up today.  Maybe I should let you have a look at it and see if you can figure it out.”

She replied, “I’m sorry sir.  I’d love to help you, but I don’t do Windows.”

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Intelligentsia

I have previously written about haunting a website called Dictionary.com.  Since I started blogging, I visit less often, but still stop in at least once a day, to do my on-line crossword.  I also use it to translate foreign words and phrases, sometimes to get an idea of the meanings of non-English names.  Johnny Carson commented one night about the awe and fascination Americans have for foreign names.  “There’s a fancy new restaurant in town, named La Fourchette.”  It’s a French fork!

I used to read a couple of articles a week about the development of the English language.  There were discussion threads under them for people to make comments, ask questions or disagree with the post.  I was amazed by a couple of things.  I would have thought that those coming to a dictionary site would already have a fairly good grasp of the language.  I was hugely disappointed to see grade six level usage by people who mentioned jobs.  Even a McJob these days requires decent language skills.

I also thought that only those interested in improving their English would show up, but read posts like, “im Amanda and im going to miss upshalls grade five math class at xyz elementary school.”  This isn’t Facebook chicky.  Take the time you spent formatting this non-message and study the word-of-the-day.

Another thing which perplexed me would be an interesting word usage discussion, followed by one or more yahoos posting things like, “you guys are dum who gives a shit”.  Obviously we do, but if you don’t, why are you hanging around an English site?  Why don’t you go to a NASCAR site, or watch a fishing show, Bubba?

Some of the comments showed real (illiterate) antipathy for anyone trying to improve themselves and their language skills.  I’m obviously not the only one to notice or comment on this phenomenon.  I read a post the other day where the writer said, “It is a seriously scary thought that there are sub-sets of American society that think being intellectual is a BAD thing!”

We sometimes blame teachers, or the education system, or even society, when Johnny can’t read.   Johnny’s immediate society may have something to do with it, because he’s obviously been raised with the intent not to learn – reading, or anything else.  In an article about food served to children at schools, the government had decreed that, for the purposes of nutrition, pizza was (contained) a vegetable.  The following is Bob Johnson’s considered opinion.

“i think that pizza being a veggy is hoped mostly because it only has a veggy dose not mean that checan pot pies should be a veggy!!!!  if pizzas a veggi then cows are envolpopes”

I only hope that Bob Johnson is a school student, and not the student’s father.  Actually, a real McJob doesn’t require you to read.  Some fast-food places have had to install cash registers with little pictures of the foods, so that geniuses like this push the right buttons.

There was a story that Webster’s Dictionary was removing 20 words from its smallest, abridged dictionary, to make room for new words and usages.  They based this decision on their counts of how often these words were accessed on their online dictionary.  The discussion thread was immediately full of comments from people who thought that these words were somehow being removed from the entire language.  One of the clearer thoughts on the subject was the following.

“why do people have to think that have to rid of these words when it it the people who chose to say what they say and half the time it is what they have grown up listening to”

I saw a suggestion today that people who are caught texting or talking while driving should have their cell-phones impounded, the way we impound cars for DUI, or racing.  I’ve been told that, despite the stupid abbreviations, texting actually improves teens’ spelling and composition skills.  Ladies and gentlemen, check your children’s language skills.  If your kid’s writing skills look like either of the above, confiscate the cell-phone and stick it up….where it will make them sit tall to study their English text.  Confiscate the game console and the TV in their bedroom too, and don’t give them back until they can submit a clearly written letter, requesting them.

Do school-kids even have English texts anymore?  In a conversation about language, I was asked, “Why do you study English?  We all speak it.”  And then the native-born Canadian asked the immigrant from Chile to help him fill in his production report.  Am I repeating myself from a previous post?  It bears repeating, and at least I’m doing so with correct construction and spelling.

I don’t know how to inspire our youth to study and learn our home and native language.  I don’t know how to change our schools and education system so that students actually acquire skills and knowledge.  I’d like to eliminate the feel-good, lib-left bureaucrats who design basket-weaving curricula and promote students who don’t know subjects.  I’d like to go back to solid rote-learning, and tough-love teachers who expect, nay demand, that students learn something, and can prove they did.

We’re on the slippery slope kids, and the bottom of the handbasket has been greased.  Something needs to be done.  Does anyone have any informed opinions?

How To Know When You’re Getting Old

 

Everything hurts, and what doesn’t hurt, doesn’t work.

The gleam in your eye is from the sun hitting your glasses.

You feel like the night before, and you haven’t even been anywhere.

Your little black book contains only names ending in M.D.

You get winded playing chess.

Your children begin to look middle-aged.

You finally reach the top of the ladder, and find it leaning against the wrong wall.

You join a health club, and don’t go.

You decide to procrastinate, but never get around to it.

Your mind makes contracts that your body can’t keep.

You know all the answers, but nobody asks you the questions.

You look forward to a dull evening.

You walk with your head held high, trying to get used to your new trifocals.

Your favorite part of the newspaper is, “25 Years Ago Today.”

You sit in a rocking chair, and can’t get it going.

Your knees buckle, but your belt won’t.

You stop looking forward to your next birthday.

Dialing long distance wears you out.

You just can’t stand people who are intolerant.

The best part of your day is over when the alarm goes off.

You burn the midnight oil after 9 P.M.

Your back goes out more often than you do.

A fortune teller offers to read your face.

The little grey-haired old lady you help across the street, is your wife.

You get your exercise acting as pallbearer for your friends who exercise.

You sink your teeth into a steak, and they stay there.

 

I was going to post this earlier, but I needed to take a nap.

I’m happy to note that all of these do not apply to me – only 22 of the 26.  I don’t get winded playing chess, because with my (lack of) memory, I can’t play chess.  I get winded playing checkers.  It’s all that heavy lifting of one checker onto another when I get a King.  What??!  Could happen!

I put white stickers on the bottoms of all the checkers that just say “King.” Well….the son did it for me while I was having my nap.  I just get my opponent to flip them over for me.

After the wrestling match with my optic nerves last year, I had my eyeballs retreaded.  I can still make do with bifocals. It’ll be a few more years before they have to ride a trike.

I didn’t become intolerant as I aged.  I’ve been calling a spade an asshole since I could first spell the word.

And lastly, since I never have anywhere to go early in the morning except some difficult-to-schedule doctor, I usually roll out of bed at the crack of noon, and the wife and I party hearty till 4 AM – with cinnamon rolls and tea.  Some evenings when we’re feeling particularly daring, we have two cups.  The excitement just never stops starts.

The Rewards Of Radio

When I was a child, we had a radio, AM only, an old Stromberg/Carlson with a large crack in the top of its one-piece Bakelite plastic case.  It had a loose connection, and sometimes stuttered or cut out.  A good whack on the top usually got it going again, but obviously someone had been a little too enthusiastic with a thump.  It had a copper wire which ran out a window to a steel stake in the ground, to use the earth as an assistant receiver.  We even paid a “radio licence fee” for several years, for the right to listen to free, open broadcasts.

Since my father was a part-time entertainer, he listened to it a lot, to hear songs he could use in his once-a-week act.  Later, we got a better radio/record player combo, and I heard much Big-Band sounds, Frank Sinatra, Tony Bennett, The Ames Brothers, and soundtracks from musicals.  As the Fifties wore on, Rock-and Roll replaced Swing.  Dad listened to radio less, and I listened to it more.  By the time I got married in 1967, Canada’s Centennial Year, we owned a radio which was turned on as soon as someone reached the living-room in the morning, and didn’t get turned off till we watched TV, or went to bed.

I didn’t “listen” to radio, so much as absorb it.  Hear the same song by the same artist a thousand times, and I could soon “Name That Tune” in two notes.  Radio stations began running phone-in contests, to prove to advertisers how many people listened to them.  Finally, my head full of useless trivia became useful.

Actually, the wife was the first one in the family to win something from a radio station.  Pre-Tim Horton’s, a local small doughnut chain offered a dozen high-quality doughnuts to the first person to tell how they were invented….and we were off.  As addicted listeners, we were often able to take a shot at a radio contest.  Sometimes you had to be the correct-number caller, but if we got through, we usually had the right answer.

A brash young DJ came to town, and started on the over-night show.  I often called him at the station, to alleviate his, and my, boredom.  I was the one who called him to show where the mistake in Billy Joel’s song, You’re Only Human, was.  The first Friday night I let my son accompany me on my security job, the young DJ jokingly held a “Guess The DJ’s Lunch” contest, at three in the morning.  My son’s phone-in stab wasn’t even close, but it was amusing enough to get us the chance to meet him in person, for a restaurant breakfast in the morning.  We showed up at a store-opening remote broadcast, and he named us on-air, and described us as “the two-man motorcycle gang.”

The local station was supposed to have run a series of give-aways of tickets for the premier showing of Arnold Schwarzenegger’s movie, Commando, but forgot to schedule it.  On the Friday afternoon, they suddenly revealed on-air that they had 20 four-packs, for the first people who showed up at the station.  My motorcycle zipped me downtown, and parked easily, while I ran upstairs.  The four of us got to see Arnie mash, crash and bash.

 I was mowing the grass in the backyard one afternoon, when I saw the son hanging out the French door, with the phone to his ear with one hand, and waving frantically to me with the other.  The radio station was offering free tickets to the Michael Keaton, Batman movie, to anyone who knew where Bill Cosby went to university.  The son didn’t know, but he immediately dialled, because, as a Cosby and comedy fan, he knew that I knew, Temple University, Philadelphia, PA.  I never stopped cutting grass as he won a night out for us.

As interested in music and radio as I am, the son attended a broadcast-arts course at the local community college, just in time to see automation and syndication scuttle his chances for work in the industry.  He doesn’t even remember what the contest was about, but does remember calling the local Pop AM station one day, and winning a VHS tape, and 12-inch action figure (It’s not a doll.  It’s for boys.) of the kids’ movie, “Indian In The Cupboard.”  Not age-specific for him, he turned them over to his appreciative nephew.

I called in and won an evening for four at a newly opened water-park on the edge of town.  That semi-conscious music osmosis came in handy again, although the question wasn’t really that hard.  The guy who won his four-pack the day before I did, said that the song they referred to had the phrase, “Sorry Baby” in it about ten-thousand times, so that’s what he guessed.

After contaminated water killed 7 people in Walkerton, ON, a benefit concert called Watershed was organized to help survivors, and raise awareness.  On the fourth and last year it was held, I managed to win two tickets, and drove the son 75 miles, to roast in a ball park for an all-day show.  There were a total of 11 acts, the third last of which was Teri Clark, a well-known female Canadian Country singer.  She was followed by Joe Cocker, who was older than I was, but pumped out more energy than I ever could.  We wormed our way right up front to see Joe.  The finale act was the great Canadian rock band, The Guess Who, who made an afternoon of sunburn well worthwhile.

As my grumpy-old-dudeness ossifies, I understand why my Dad turned off his radio in his later years.  “They haven’t written a decent song since before Disco!!”  “What’s Disco Grandpa??”  I used to haunt the second-hand record, and then CD stores.  “Have you ever heard of the Greg Kihn Band?”  Now, what little music I listen to is available for download from the net.  Excuse me; I have to turn my hearing aid….ah, Assistors, up.

My Sauce Got Goosed

Here in Southern Ontario, we recently had two men charged with terrorism.  They were Muslims who had immigrated here, gone to the trouble to become citizens, and then allegedly plotted to load a train passenger car with explosives.  The Big Bang was to occur when the train was half-way across a railroad bridge above the Niagara River, on its way to the United States.  The loss of life and property damage would have been horrendous.

Fortunately, police got wind of the plot, and arrested the two before they could proceed.  One of the pair immediately lawyered up, and denied the whole thing.  The other genius is demanding a lawyer who will argue that he should be tried under Sharia law.  He claims that the laws of the country should not apply to him, and that the Koran should be the only book to judge his actions.  Good luck with that!  Even Muslim lawyers are backing away, because they know that the Canadian Penal Code must be the one to apply.

Opinions online, and in op-ed letters are unanimous.  How dare you think that you can use your religious beliefs and your holy book to justify illegal activity!  You live here in Canada.  You have to obey the laws of Canada!  Okay now, come along with me.  We’re going to take a little trip to visit KayJai, in Newfoundland, for another lesson in religious entitlement and intolerance.

Several years ago, the Province of Newfoundland did away with Catholic separate schools.  They were rolled into an all-encompassing Provincial school system, and the pertinent laws stated that no religion would be allowed to display any religious symbols in the now-secular schools.

Recently, a parent filed a request to the Provincial School Board, to have a Christian cross removed from above the door of a previously Catholic school in St. John’s.  Saint Matthew’s School, if you care.  The school board has acceded to the legal request, but, oh, the howls of Christian anguish.

In an attempt to stick a finger in the dike, to keep special religious treatment and benefits from leaking away, the female spokesman       (-woman?, -person?) for the parents association has started asking stupid questions.  “What harm is a cross doing to the student, or the complaining parent?”  The same, but opposite harm that taking it down would do to you.  The complainant does not have to give a reason, but you must obey the law.

“Why do we have to take down our cross, when only one person has complained?”  For the same reason that I have to stop robbing banks, even if only one bank manager has complained.  It’s against the law, and you don’t get to obey just the laws that you like.  “What’s next?  Will we have to take down our Saint Matthew’s name, too?”  Well, if you keep bitching and dragging your feet on this request, that might indeed be next.  Cut your losses and play nice with others.

I’m not saying that hanging a cross and blowing up a bridge are equally serious offenses, but they’re both firmly planted on the Yellow Brick Road of religious intolerance and social disobedience.  If attitudes and actions are not modified, it doesn’t take much to proceed from one to the other.  I am reminded of the book-burning scene in the movie, Footloose.

I am both amazed and disgusted that Good Christians will decry and deny application of Muslim sharia law, and the validation of the Muslim holy book, but will haul out Catholic benefits and the Bible to justify their own selfish and illegal behavior.  They both equally feel that the laws of the country should not apply to them, and their holy book should supersede Provincial legislation.

The Bible may be a great book, and Christian principles may be grand, but, they don’t hold a monopoly.  They should not be shoved down others’ throats, just because they’re nice.  Everyone has the right to go to Hell in his own way.  In the Bible, Jesus ordered that we are to “Render unto Caesar, that which is Caesar’s.”  Cast off your feelings of inferiority and insecurity!  Live, and let live!

End of yet another anti-bureaucratic religious rant!  We will return you to your regularly scheduled program of fun and foolishness in a couple of days.

In a sad post script, a Good Christian couple in Pennsylvania believe in “Divine Healing”, but not in obeying Man’s laws.  They have caused the death of a second son in three years from pneumonia, by not taking them to a doctor or hospital.  Accommodation of religious beliefs does not extend to allowing the death of children, even your own.  They have been charged with third degree murder, for failing to provide the necessities of life.

10 Q

tagged

to Benzeknees for sharing these four blog awards with me, and 10Q to the rest of you who have stopped around to read my silly posts.  Hands up, those of you who figured out where I was going with the strange titles.

This is the last acceptance speech, for the final (for now) award.  Keep those hands up!  Stop all that clapping!  This is the “I’ve Been Tagged Award.”  Benze tagged me, fair and square.  I hope this is for a writing award.  I’m too weak/tired/out-of-shape to be wrestling.

What book are you reading right now?

The old man with no attention span is reading three books at the moment, Wretched Earth by James Axler(?), Fire Ice by Clive Cussler, and Sinai Secret by Gregg Loomis.  I read a chapter of one, and then go blog, a chapter of the second and feed the cats and dog, and a chapter of the third, and help with supper.  Repeat, ad infinitum!

What mini-vacation (0-100 miles from your home) have you particularly enjoyed within the last year?

I took the wife and grandson to Detroit for a weekend last October, and the son to Detroit again just a couple of weeks ago.  The excuse was knife shows, but there was lots of other stuff to do and see.  I just finished posting about the most recent trip.

What is your favorite form of entertainment?

Old Mister No-attention-span flits from one diversion to another.  Reading and writing blogs has cut down on my book-reading a bit, but I still seem to average a book a week.  We watch 2/3 hours of TV on weeknights, Bones, Castle, Hawaii Five-O, NCIS, NCIS-LA, Body of Proof, Criminal Minds, CSI, Elementary, Poirot, Lewis, Dr. Who, Midsomer Murders, which is about to end its season and be replaced by Miss Marple.

Of what accomplishments are you the most proud?

My various deficiencies have prevented doing much that I am “Proud” of.  Getting through over fifty years of working with (barely) enough to retire on.  Almost 50 years of marriage to one woman.  Raised two intelligent and well-mannered kids, and am helping with a similar grandson.  I regard my blog-writing as prosaic, but receive the occasional accolade from some readers who should know.  That pleases me!  The wife insists that I tell you that I taught her how to tat (make lace).  It involved an eight-foot, heavy, black plastic telephone cord, and I had no idea what I was doing.

Who has been most influential in your life in the past year?

No one person, although I’d like to mention my first two followers, BrainRants and H E Ellis.  They, along with many other bloggers have greatly improved my quality of mental life.

If you were raising money for a favorite charity, where would you direct our checks?

On a small scale, I’d recommend the Archon Family Improvement Foundation.  Both the semi-handicapped wife and daughter could use some assistance with mobility, medical procedures, housing, transportation, in-home support.  A few thousand directed toward that might allow me to pay off my still-mortgaged house.  On the big scale, money could be directed to medical research, including stem-cells.  Our love of animals would ensure payments to Humane Society and SPCA.

If you weren’t doing the work or career you are in, what would you like to be doing?

I’ve worked long and hard to become retired, and I want to continue in that, hopefully healthy, mobile and reasonably pain-free.

If you could have named yourself, what would your name be and why?

Unlike many others, I am happy with my complete name.  It’s a good, solid, unpretentious, 1940s’ name.  I was to be “George John Smith” but the first-name-last, last-name-first form confused my mother, and I accidentally became “John George Smith.”  Still works!  In effect I have renamed myself by adopting the blogging cognomen of Archon.

What would you most like to tell your children, or important young person in your life but haven’t?

Something I haven’t told someone??  Not likely to happen!  You can’t get me to shut up.  I’m just full of unsolicited advice and opinions.  My youngest child is 42.  My grandson is 21.  The only thing I tell young people these days is, “Get off my damned lawn!”

How do you change your mood when you are grumpy?

Change my grumpy mood??  Whatever for?  I’m a carrier, like Typhoid Mary.  I spread it around.  I revel in it.  Everybody gets to share.  When someone or something bugs the shit out of me, that’s when I do my best thinking.  Then, out comes the blog, and another pissed-off post gets published.

What particular skill could you teach us on your blog?

My resources and abilities are severely limited.  I could let you talk to my highly creative and productive wife and daughter if you’d like.  I could demonstrate logical thought, concern for others, respect, even good English usage/composition ability, but, if you don’t already know these things by the time you read my blog, it is unlikely that I can teach, those who will not learn.

I would like to throw out another big Thank-You, especially to Benze, for honoring me with all these awards and giving me the chance to open my heart and mind.  I would also like to thank all who came here to read, and comment, and like, and support me, by putting up with my silliness.  The grumpy old dude will return soon.

 

Archon – The Early Work Years

My mother worked every day of her life, both as a mother and wife, inside the home, and later, as a fellow-wage-earner, outside it.  This was before automation, and often before electrification.  She instilled in me early, a strong work-ethic.  Between ages eight and twelve, I had three paper-routes for two different newspapers.

The first job I remember her having was as a waitress at the lunch bar/dining room of a local hotel.  Since she worked from 11 till 3, my brother and I ate our lunch where she worked.  I remember a lot of hamburgers and fries, or hotdogs and fries, and the reduced cost of our meals came out of her earnings.

She eventually developed a circle of people she cleaned homes for, both year-round residents and summer visitors.  She was requested to do more than just clean.  She cooked food for soirees, and served as waitress.  A tiny woman, there were often things she wasn’t strong enough to do.  From 12 to 16, I occasionally worked with her, taking down shutters or storm windows, putting up screens, cleaning out garages or storage sheds, mowing lawns, trimming trees, and sweeping or shovelling sand off sidewalks and driveways.

One customer my mother had, was a grumpy old fart who owned a convenience-store and eight cabins near the beach.  He made most of his money during the summer months.  Since my birthday was in September, and I had to be 16 to get a summer job in a factory, she arranged for me to work for him in the summer of 1960, for the lordly sum of 50 cents/hour.  Nothing difficult or complex, a retail clerk.  I took money, made change, directed customers to product, kept an eye out for shoplifters, stocked shelves, swept up and hand-dipped ice-cream cones.

One slow, hot afternoon, I made myself a cone.  The old man came in the back door just as I was putting money in the till to pay for it, and asked me what I was doing.  When I explained, he told me of the girl he’d had the summer before.  She just about ate him out of house and store.  Pop, chips, candy bars, ice-cream cones, and never thought to pay for any of it.  He was impressed with my honesty.

The next year, my father arranged a summer job at the R.C.A. Victor plant where he worked.  For the first week, I moved raw material, sanded some edges, and wiped dust off cabinets about to be packed.  For this, I was paid $1.27/hr.  After last summer’s 50 cents, I was rich.

They moved me to the spray-finishing department.  TV and stereo cabinets came in on rollers from a half a dozen assemblers.  I was to take them off the rollers, and place them on large trays which would carry them by chain-drive through the spray booths.  One of the sprayers came over to tell me that, I could probably move the individual TV cabinets by myself, but the five and six-foot long stereo cabinets needed two people to move safely.  While they liked a mix of big and small on their line, he told me to accumulate several big ones at the end of the rollers, and call him or one of the other guys, who would help me load up a batch at a time.

While I got an hourly wage, these guys were paid piece-work.  They lost money every time I called them.  About the third day, a little light went on.  I walked up the line, and gave the next empty tray a pull.  Sure enough, the drive pin to the chain wasn’t attached, it was merely pushed.  I could pull a tray forward till it touched the end of the previous one, and it would just sit there till the drive caught up to it.  This gave me lots of time to swivel one end of a big cabinet out, and place it at one end, then move to the other end and safely repeat the process.

About the end of the next week, my spray booth guy suddenly commented that the cabinets were randomly mixed and I hadn’t requested any assistance.  When I explained my process, he was thrilled.  They could do it that way when they didn’t have an assistant, and could teach next year’s intern.

Next year I worked there again, just not in that department.  The wage scale had increased to $1.34/hr.  I was rich as Croesus.  Good thing too, I had a car to support.  The plant shipped most of its output in train cars.  I and another young lad were given the job of loading the boxed cabinets into the cars.  The work was sporadic.  A batch would be inspected and packed and sent down a delivery belt, to a set of rollers.  It was our job to roll them out and stack them in the car. 

Often we would finish one lot before another came down.  Since the shipping department was right outside the office, it would not do to have us standing around.  The shipping foreman told us that, if we weren’t loading, we were to be in one of the cars.  He said that we could eat, read, play cards, go across the street to the store, even sleep, but when he stuck his head in to say there was another shipment, we’d better be there, and ready.

My assistant got a case of the runs one day, and was gone for a lonngg time.  Another batch started and was piling up on the delivery belt.  I used the same system I had the year before, only vertically.  I pushed a row against the wall, then another row in front, then lifted the next one up by one end and pushed it back.  Put another row in front and pushed some more up, then repeat, using layer two to lift layer three.  By the time he got back, I had packed the entire lot myself, and the foreman never even knew he was missing.

I was just too damned dedicated.  If there was a job to be done, I was the fool who done it, but I think it made me a better me, and helped me get jobs later in life when I badly needed one.  I feel my work ethic shone through.