Sturm and Drang…It's not just for Vornskrs anymore!!!
I have mentioned, many times, (probably once a month or so) just how much I hate my job. For those who want to hear it again, I am employed by a factory that makes fasteners, like nuts and bolts, etc, for aircraft. I work third shift, 11pm to 7am, in the grinding area, on machines called “Centerless Grinders” that have been known to tear fingers off, as seen on this warning poster that is posted around the department. It is a filthy place, with oil and dirt everywhere, but that is standard for most machine shops.
On the personnel end, there is a pervasive culture of blue color politicking, good ol’ boy posturing, aggressive apathy and rampant racism that permeates every level of the work force. Seriously, outside of History Channel shows about the KKK, I have never heard so many white guys use the words “Nigger”, “Spic”, “Wetback”, or “Kike”, sometimes without even checking over both shoulders first. I once asked a former supervisor (he no longer works there) about rumored layoffs, and jokingly begged him to PLEASE PLEASE GOD PLEASE LAY ME OFF SO I CAN GET OUT OF THIS HELL HOLE AND GET UNEMPLOYMENT UNTIL I FIND ANOTHER JOB. His response, while (somewhat) tongue in cheek (but not really), was “Dude, you’re not gonna get laid off, you’re white.”
Also, it is HOT, about 20 degrees hotter inside the plant than it normally is outside. Especially with all the recent 95+ degree days, when you walk into the plant, it is like walking through soup, and very difficult to breathe. It takes a few minutes for your body to get used to it–the smell, the heat, the oil that just hangs in the air–and it all goes inside you, resulting in many people complaining of frequent colds and sinus infections.
Management is fucking useless, a gaggle of wannabe suits, former operators turned lapdogs, and college business majors waiting for their big break at a real job. There was recently a full restructuring of the entire middle management tree of blame, with a lot of supervisors being thrown out of their offices and forced to set up desks on the shop floor to better manage the work force. The plant manager was allegedly quoted as saying “nobody without a college education can have air conditioning” when referring to this, since some of the lower bosses have been there 30+ years, working their way up from operators right out of high school. Further attempts at control have included a constant micromanagement of our time with paperwork and stopwatches, a program that forced employees to come in 12 minutes early for their shift without being paid for it, and for a few days they told everyone that they had to ask permission to use the bathroom.
All of this adds up to a tense, volatile, negative work environment, where I find there are few people I can talk to without being disgusted by what comes out of their mouths. Each night I pray for death while I sit in my car counting the moments until I have to walk into this hell hole. Also, the attitudes are infectious. Before I worked here, I rarely called in sick, and often I would have unused vacation time at the end of the year. I worked hard, hard enough to be noticed and in many cases, promoted. But here, after almost 4 years of watching my coworkers lie, cheat, steal, and do whatever they can to get away doing as little work as possible, get paid as much as they can, and just coast on apathy, I find myself falling into some of the same habits. Frequent lateness, missed time, and not hitting my personal efficiency percentage: I have been written up for all of it. I still take pride in making the best parts that I can make, because doing otherwise would truly violate what little work ethic I have that hasn’t been beaten out of me, but I don’t hurry to do it.
With all that being said, it pays pretty well, has full benefits, and so long as you do your job, keep your head down and your mouth shut (something I’m not good at), you can survive there for decades. Best of all, you can suck at your job and not be fired (if you’re white).
So, how do I get through it? Well, sure, I drink heavily, who doesn’t? But employees are not allowed to drink on the job, not since the current company bought the plant (Oh man, to listen to the old timers talk about the good old days of going up on the roof with hookers and getting drunk, it must have been nice then). Some nights it is difficult, because a broken down machine could mean hours of repair and parts replacement. Most of the time, though, I am either feeding parts into a grinder or programming automated robots to do it for me, which is sooooo boring. So, when I am at work, I try to think of absolutely anything I can to keep my mind off the job, just get lost in my own mind….My terrible, obnoxious, violent little brain…
Some nights, I’ll try to come up with the nerdiest reference I can think of (see title and enjoy the googling), and just yell it at the first person I see. With my massive background in toys, action figures, 90’s era comics, sci fi and cartoons, I can kick it with some of the geekiest motherfuckers on the planet if the need arises. So, if I wanna yell “I’m gonna put you in a fucking ditty bag”, or “Why throw away your life so recklessly?”, or “You’re all clear kid, now let’s blow this thing and go home”, to make the night go a little smoother, then fuck them, I’m gonna yell it. It passes the time, and helps my image as a nutcase that should be left alone.
I’ll also take time to reflect on what I like to call “Asshole Moments”. These would be the moments in my life where, as a result of something I say or do, accidentally, I’ll feel like an asshole. Not to be confused with the times where I am intentionally operating at full asshole capacity and am fully aware of it. No, this would be situations where something would happen, and I would stop and say to myself, “Oh my God, did I just do/say/pee on that?”, and I’ll feel like an asshole for doing/saying/peeing on it. Here are some examples.
I was out of town at a convention with some friends. A lot of us stayed on the same floor of this hotel, so when we went somewhere, it would be a large group. When we would leave the hotel, the lot of us would fill up an elevator car. One night we were going to a dinner. We were on a pretty high up floor, so during busy elevating times, we would end up stopping at every floor on the way down, but there wasn’t any room on the elevator to let anyone else one. So, we get to the fifth floor, and the door opens, and standing there is someone I know, a fellow conventioneer, who is a pretty large fellow. I would say an easy 300 pounds, give or take. So, he sees he can’t get on the elevator, but still catches my eye, and does a half hearted wave to communicate “See you at dinner, I’ll get the next elevator” or something. But me, thinking I was being helpful, yelled from the back of the elevator, “John, you should just take the stairs, it is only 5 floors…!”. And the ENTIRE elevator, every person, burst out into this horrendous, mocking laughter. As the door was closing, my friend John’s half hearted wave had slowed to a confused and hurt chubby middle finger. I wasn’t trying to imply he needed exercise, I wasn’t trying to make fun of him, I honestly though the idea of taking the stairs probably had not occurred to him. And I yelled at all my friends on the elevator for being dicks.
Another time, I was in line at the post office. It wasn’t my local post office, it was a different one, but I had been there a few times, enough that the clerk recognized me. I had spent a lot of time at my local PO because for a few years I sold toys on eBay as my main source of income. I had gotten to know the clerks there very well, they used to let me come in early to get checked through because I would have so much stuff to ship. This particular day, though, I was a couple counties over and needed to make a quick stop to ship a few small things. There was a long line, too. When I finally get to the clerk, he recognizes me, and says he hadn’t seen me in a while blah blah blah smalltalk bullshit blah. I told him I normally went to the other post office, that I knew the clerks there well, and he mentioned a guy that he knew, who happened to be the clerk that always checks me through early. Now here is where something happened, some sort of disconnect between my brain and my vocal chords, between what I wanted to say, how I wanted to say it, and what came out of my mouth. I TRIED to convey that, Yes, I knew that guy, he was really fast at the register, and gets me rung out quickly. I think I started phrasing it as “He blows me out of the place” or something, but my brain found a better verb or phrase like “He works quickly” or “He breezes through my stuff”, but my mouth had already started talking, and had not stopped before I blurted out, pretty loudly, “Oh yeah, I know him, he BLOWS ME…” And I stopped dead, mid phrase, mouth still open, horrified at the incredibly gay thing that I had just broadcast to this entire post office, full of customers and at least 2 other clerks, but totally at a loss as to how I can explain, or salvage, or maybe just pull a gun out of mid air, jam it in my open mouth and pull the trigger. And yes, I am referring to the idea of a guy blowing another guy as gay, hopefully that isn’t taboo yet, although I doubt any gay man I know would give a similar shout out about getting head in the same tone one might order lunch at a busy deli like I just did. “Uhh, yeah, I need a cheese steak, sauce no onions, and that guy BLOWS ME…” His keyboard typing slowed to a few single taps as he turned and leveled his eyes on my still horrified face. His was totally deadpan as he delivered a line better than any I had heard before. “Well….Aren’t you lucky…How did you want to ship this, Priority or Parcel Post?”
One more…I have what some might call a slight phobia regarding public bathrooms. It is less a phobia, and more of an all consuming laziness, coupled with a paranoia that someone seeing me walk into a public bathroom might think I’m going in there to poop or something, which is really none of their business, and I don’t care to give them that satisfaction. I will use one if I am in a store or mall, but if it is out of the way, I’m more likely to hold it until I get home, or back to my truck. Yes, I said “back to my truck”, where I keep a supply of WaWa Iced tea bottles. I got into the habit of pissing in Iced Tea bottles because there were lots of times when I was stuck in traffic and had to go, so I would piss in the bottle, and I got really good at it. Like, Olympic good. Have you ever driven the stretch of 95 North that goes into New York City, right off the GW Bridge, where you drop down into a series of underpasses, and it looks like a video game? I’ve done that going 55 and pissing in a bottle, and haven’t spilled a drop. The only time I think I ever spilled was when a school bus passed me and I didn’t notice it until I looked over to see a bunch of kids pointing and waving. To dispose of it, I normally just dump it out the window when I am at a stop sign or traffic light (does this fall under Jason’s campaign against littering?), because once I got the filled pee bottle confused with actual Iced Tea I was drinking, and damn near gagged when I brought it close to my face. Week old pee fermenting in a plastic bottle on a hot summer day is pretty gross.
So, one day, I stopped at a local Target after work, which for me is before they open. It was a cold December morning, around 7:40 am or so. I had to take a leak, so I pulled out the bottle, did my thing, and dumped it immediately out the driver’s side window. I remember the giggly satisfaction of seeing the hot urine create steam as it hit the freezing cold asphalt. I put the bottle away and didn’t give it a second thought, I just listened to the radio, Preston and Steve I believe it was, and waited for the store to open. When it did, I threw open the truck door and jumped out of the driver’s seat, right into my now completely frozen puddle of piss, and slipped and fell right on my ass. I hurt my back, my arm got all bruised up and I tried to catch myself on the truck door, and I was limping for a couple days. Oh, and I had piss flavored Slushee all over me.
Normally the asshole moments would slowly lead me into another favorite time passer, a game where I try to come up with the most offensive thing I can think of, which I would then work into some sort of bad joke or act that I would use in my career as a stand up comic that I will never have. Here are a few.
With all the hunger in the world, why hasn’t anyone considered eating the homeless? Sure, they might be a little gamy, but if we took half the starving people in the world, and fed them to the other half of the starving population, and kept doing that, eventually we’d just have one more fat person, and no more starving people. I mean, these homeless people are everywhere, just wandering around, sleeping on sidewalks, causing property damage. We wouldn’t let cows do that! Cows are penned, fed, and kept happy and healthy until they make their own decision to give up their lives in repayment of how well they were treated so we may enjoy their delicious meat. Certainly homeless people deserve the same ethical treatment! And the homeless population is growing every day, what with the economy, the housing and credit market crashes, and rising mortgage foreclosure rates. Hopefully it won’t get to a point where we have to spay or neuter them they way we do cats, but we can avoid that by simply killing and eating them now, before we have to take more drastic measures.
How about that Mel Gibson? Never a better Christian man has there ever been. A lot of people are talking about his career being over, but I heard he might start working for Lifetime, since there always seems to be some chick getting her ass beat on that network. I can see it now, “A Lifetime original Movie, directed by Mel Gibson, “A Rose Garden for Oksana”….All kidding aside, I think he really showed remarkable restraint when he punched his girlfriend in the face while she was holding his baby. After all, it WAS two against one. Also, she was a supermodel, they are like vampires, all super strong and shit. And the baby was half German…You know who else was a German Baby? HITLER. And if you wouldn’t punch Hitler’s momma in her face, well, I am sorry, but you’re just a horrible human being.
(Begin rant-I told those same jokes to a friend on Facebook that was talking about the whole MG thing, and got railed by some college age feminist twit who was all like, “OMG that is so not funny you people cant make fun of us cause some of us are victims of domestic abuse blah blah blah”. JESUS CHRIST ON A CRACKER, JUST FUCKING KILL YOURSELF. I have a lot of fucked up shit in my family tree too, but I’m not about to preach that someone can’t talk or joke about something just because it happened to me. Besides, you weren’t THAT much of a victim if you can still type. Come see me when you’re crippled or dead and I’ll totally be like “You GO victim! Yeah! Go one with your dead self!” Seriously, people like that are why I can’t say “retard” any more without being told I am going to hell…speaking of which…)
How about the mentally and physically handicapped? They get all the best parking spots and public restroom stalls, but people are still afraid to talk about them. You’ve heard of icanhascheezburger.com, the LOLcats? Well, the handicapped need a site like that, we could call it LOLTards. It wouldn’t have to be all amusing pics, there could be uplifting and motivational ones, too, like this one for the Special Olympics.
(That is what you call a really long walk to a very small joke on Mr. Poopoopachu…)
When the inspiration hits, I like to draw. Well, I can’t really say draw, more like doodle. When I was younger, I used to draw all the time, and even expected to make some sort of a career out of it, but it never materialized. I mostly stuck to the usual High School Metal head art fodder, skulls, corpses, eyeballs, etc. Still, I did some things I am proud of even now. As for today, I keep a small sketchbook and a couple ball point pens at work. I doodle out ideas or jokes to shock or gross out my coworkers, or, I return to my old subject matter- lots and lots of skulls, ugly people, cyborg zombie Jesus (Come vith me if you vant eternal life!!). This one I call a Space Monster, and may not be safe for work. I’ll leave you with one last doodle that has a story.
I was talking to a friend about a smoking ban at my job. He told me a story from when he was younger and working at a movie theater. He would get annoyed at all the smokers, because they would get constant breaks to go outside and smoke. When he made a point about it to his boss, the reply he got was “Give them a break, they are addicted.” He decided, right then and there, that he was going to become addicted to blowing bubbles. He would buy a bottle of bubbles, go out with the smokers whenever they stopped working to take a smoke break, and blow bubbles while they smoked. Now, all I heard was “addicted to blowing bubbles” and that stupid old joke popped into my head, something like “Did you blow bubbles as a kid? Well, he is in the park asking about you.” And the punchline was that Bubbles was this big fat child molesting Clown. So, I drew Bubbles. (NSFW). When I showed my friend, though, he didn’t get it. He just thought I was being weird.