Thursday, July 20, 2006

A long weight

Monday, January 12th 1970. My first day at full-time work.

A very callow youth I was to be sure. But not, perhaps, as callow as my new workmates might have imagined.

As the first-year apprentice on his first day at work I was fair game. I don't argue with that proposition; the following year I was as hard on my successor as they'd been on me. Dog eat dog and all that.

The first hour or so of that day was spent in the bosses office being lectured on the importance of work. In one ear and out the other of course; what else would one expect of a 15 year old?

Lecture over and toolbox, workbench and mentor assigned I was left to the foremans mercy. His first question to me was, 'how old are you boy?'. I admitted my extreme youth. Some quick arithmetic and he informed me that I had 49 and a half years left until retirement. I thanked him for the information whilst privately thinking him a bastard. That opinion hasn't changed even if I'm a mere 13 years away from that formerly oh so distant date! I mean, what the hell? What was he trying to say? That I have 49 and a half years of misery ahead?

He assigned me a very important task indeed; that of going to the local hardware shop and purchasing, on account, some striped paint, a left handed screwdriver and a long weight.

Uh uh. He didn't fool me! He got his long weight! I caught the train to Flinders Street and spent a couple of hours in a bookshop long since gone, ferreting through Science Fiction novels. Followed by lunch.

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