Tuesday, October 5, 2010

This is going to be a random one...

So earlier today I was rapping Ice Cube's "It Was a Good Day" -- as I sometimes do -- when I was reminded of the job I used to have during the summers when I was in college.

I worked for a plumbing company and it was pretty much the most awesome job I've ever had.

(Note to Human Resources in the rather unlikely event you are reading this: I mean, "most awesome job besides the one I currently have." Of course.)

(Note to loyal readers: My feelings about my job haven't changed. Still a reputable position at a fantastic company... still not what I'm meant to do. To that end, though, I've actually submitted my resume and cover letter to the American Cancer Society and filled out their online application. Given that my mother was a cancer victim, I would be very enthusiastic about working for the ACS.)

My technical title for the summer job was "Shop Kid," but I preferred to think of myself as "Head of All Operations Not Being Performed By the Important People." My duties included: putting together "orders" of fittings and whatnot for the plumbers, loading up plumbers trucks in the a.m., delivering parts and whatnot to job sites, minor truck maintenance, and pretty much whatever needed to be done. (There was a fair degree of "whatnot" involved.)

There was also a lot of driving around the city of Milwaukee and Southeastern Wisconsin, which was cool.

On my third day, I was riding shotgun with the "More Senior-ed Ship Kid" on our way back from a job site. We were on the freeway, about fifteen minutes from the shop, when MSSK asked me to look in my rear view mirror and see if I noticed anything. I saw the trailer, along with our skid mover (picture one of those construction vehicles that looks like a mini-bulldozer, only with wheels instead of tank treads...), but nothing out of the usual on my end.

MSSK looked back into his rear view mirror and saw sparks flying all over the place. So we pulled off to the side of the interstate. One of the wheels from the trailer had popped off.

Fortunately, no one was hurt and this could have been a lot worse. But it didn't stop me from asking "what am I getting myself into?"

Well, it turned out that was just a freak accident. The owner of the plumbing company quickly invested in a heavier duty trailer and no more wheels were lost on the interstate. (So that was good.)

Anyhow, somewhere along the line we had a couple of new Shop Kids enter the fray. One of them -- let's call him Andrew (because that was his name) -- was a good guy, but dude was kind of crazy.

Quick note to verify that last claim: On one occasion, we were in the yard behind the shop, breaking down a crate that PVC pipe fittings came in. Andrew accidentally got a little bit of dust or dirt in his eye and freaked out. By "freaked out," I naturally mean "took a wooden plank and smashed it in half with his forehead." All because he got something in his eye. (I'm no doctor, but I don't consider that to be normal behavior.)

Afterward, he mentioned that he was very sensitive about being able to see... because he felt that ants were positioning themselves to take over the world and he was going to need his vision to fend them off. (I wish I was creative enough to have made that up.)

Well, one day -- when Andrew wasn't busy smashing lumber with his head -- we were talking about music. Specifically, rap music.

I mentioned that I owned Ice Cube's "The Predator." (For those of you -- and this is probably a vast majority -- who are sitting there -- or standing or lying down, I suppose -- wondering what one thing has to do with another in this particular post, "It Was a Good Day" is one of the tracks on that album.) ("Oh," they all say in unison.)

Andrew immediately got out of the skid mover and started -- and I mean this in the most literal way possible -- ROFL'ing. (For everyone older than 17, that stands for Rolling On the Floor Laughing.)

"Cracker owns 'The Predator'," Andrew kept repeating, in between hysterical laughs. (I guess it probably wasn't apparent until now, but he was -- probably still is, I'd guess -- black.)

(I call myself "white," so hopefully no one gets their panties in a bunch about me not using "African American." I don't have a racist bone in my body.)

And you know what? This cracker did own "The Predator." Word.

On that note: "And today I didn't even have to use my A.K.* I got to say, it was a good day."

*A.K. is a reference to the AK-47 assault rifle. When I don't have to use one of those, you best believe my day was better than average.

p.s. This one was rather random, but I think my next one will be better.


  1. John, I've missed your tangents and sidebars. I'm glad you've been back lately. Oh and I've worked with a couple of Andrews in my lifetime and while they may be crazy...they make the day go by much faster and provide comic relief most of the time!

  2. Really enjoyed this post! And I prefer not to think about what goes on while my husband and sons are out working.

  3. Andrew apparently had no sense about how the hip-hop business model works. White kids have always made rappers rich. They almost never have the street cred to pull it off, but almost always have the disposable income to pay for it.

    Lacing up my docksiders and cranking up Paid In Full...

  4. He's very sensitive about being able to see because ants are going to take over the world, so he smashed a wooden plank on his forehead. Of course.

  5. JM, you won the signed copy of my book! I need your address! h.wagnerATnightshadecityDOTcom!!




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