BY Davey H

07/01 Direct Link

Yea, one could bray ‘twas harm not done,
but suffice to say
that on this day,
this drillin' thing wasn't much fun!

And of course it goes without mention
that this incident
although innocent,
had indeed caught the boss-man’s attention.

Sure enough, Grundge approached the still flustered Davey, who, though in reasonable control of his faculties, was broiling inside at the mere notion that a machine had gotten the best of him.

In a surprising twist of un-fate, Grundge dropped his usual poker-faced rigid stance and put on a grandfatherly demeanor.
He appeared nonplussed as he prepared to admonish Davey.

07/02 Direct Link

Of course Davey prepared for the worst, fully expecting to be lashed with more than just a wet noodle. In fact, he thought some choice expletives might be in order, coming from the Grundge’s mouth. After all, the proverbial ‘horse’s mouth’ wasn’t available at the time, so Grundge’s would have to do.

Instead of the dreaded fusillade of curse words, however, only a gentle warning issued from the Grundgester thus: “you need to be extra careful coming through an angle cut like that,” Grundge offered.

Davey, not snide, then took it in stride,
wowing and vowing to be careful inside.

07/03 Direct Link

All Davey could think was ‘Wow! Holy Sh**!’
That Grundgester hadn’t given Davey a hit.

And this, in elitist intellectual terms, was a ‘watershed’ moment.

Thankful for not being taken for ‘the woodshed treatment’, Davey happily settled for the watershed. Yeah, that sounded better – cooler, too.

And it didn’t take long to realize that he had actually, in spite of himself, his stubbornness and head perennially up his rectum, yes, he had truly LEARNED something from this mistake.

Grundge had cut Davey a break. It was a real treat to feel like he was under the Grundgester’s wing for once.

07/04 Direct Link

The main takeaway was exactly as Grundge had pointed out: that ‘breaking through’ point in the drilling process was the most critical.

At any moment, the bit’s tip could catch and forcefully pull the work up the shaft, as bits are basically threaded just like bolts.

The angle cuts exacerbate this tendency, as the bit’s fluting is angled also; and in the event that the piece to be drilled is not held by a jig – but rather by the hapless drill press operator’s hot little fist – ever more caution needs to be taken.
Otherwise, the avid driller might get pissed.

07/05 Direct Link
This was an opportunity not to be missed.
And Davey had certainly gotten the gist.

Next up in his not-so-excellent adventure, a learning experience awaited, coming on the coattails of not only that semi-accident, but also Davey’s growing affection and utmost respect for the power and solid construction of the Arboga Maskiner.

Oh, and by the way, he had completely and utterly ignored July 4th, by design.
So let us keep in mind: WE ARE ALL LIVING ON COLONIZED LAND.
And as one pundit recently put it: “they can’t make a flag large enough to cover all those dead bodies.”
07/06 Direct Link

So much for our languid history; this was learnin’ time here at the Smedco so-called machine shop.

One day Grundge besought Davey and said, “c’mere – I want to show you something.”
‘Oh, no’, Davey thought, filling his mind with ‘what-ifs’.

Instead of something to dread, Davey, still sopping from the figurative watershed, was relieved and gladdened with mechanical discourse at the hands of the Grundgester, who proceeded to painstakingly show Davey the drill bit sharpening hardware and how to operate it.
What an awesome tool – and a great idea!

The ‘waste not, want not’ approach to drill bits was sensible.

07/07 Direct Link
During Grundge's drill bit sharpener presentation, a glimmer of male so-called 'bonding' began to surface in Davey's battered mind;
some common ground with Grundge to find.

Yes, indeed, some common ground;
the need for sharpened bits was found.
The grinder made its grating sound
and newly functional bits abound!

Davey had quite frankly neer paid any attention whatsoever to how drill bits actually worked. Hell, it was one of those things that if it worked, fine. If not, just grab another or buy new ones. Now here was an opportunity to gain insight into an essential shop implement of construction.
07/08 Direct Link

'One good turn deserves another'. Don't quote Davey on that one, turn or no; it's not his original quote. DUH!
So things turned, if you will
in the shop's din and swill,
with no time to kill
yup, that was the drill.

As the rotation of such aforementioned drilling appurtenances blasted daily, relentlessly, almost without reprieve through the much softer surfaces of their targeted aluminum castings, friction – whilst slightly and messily offset with cutting oil – took its toll on the ostensibly hardened, or rather, tempered surfaces which were at all times in full contact with said surfaces during friction-producing operations.

07/09 Direct Link
Grundge offered tips as he demonstrated the bit sharpener: “keep this at the proper angle; that way, you get the tip sharp.”

He obviously had a keen knack for this, twisting the bit with an improbable wrist motion as the tip passed across the grinder.
His experience and skill definitely gave him an edge over any competitors for the task.

Next, Grundge addressed the fluting that was an integral but easily ignored component of the drill bit shaft. It made perfect sense, however, if one examined, with critical thinking, what took place once the tip passed through its initial opening.

07/10 Direct Link

The fluting along each drill bit's shaft
darn tooting! It enabled the craft
of gleaming metal to be cut
by each perfunctory robot!
Thus through castings bits would go
pushed by Sour-ho and Moe.
And long after interest passed,
Davey too, thought not so fast.
Getting a glimpse of how things worked
meant Davey piqued; and less he shirked

Through multiple sharpening operations and the grinding of daily use in moderately grueling working conditions, bits did indeed wear out. It was an eventuality that management planned for and executed as per immediate need and extrapolations of expected loss to attrition.

07/11 Direct Link

Throughout Davey's non-stellar tenure at Smedco, the overarching arrogance perpetuated by Grundge  – as perhaps was previously noted in this long-winded diatribe – was in evidence, and it hung like a fog bank in the oil spattered atmosphere of the shop. 'He'll get his comeuppance someday,' Davey thought on many an occasion.

Little Did Davey know just how severe – and sweet – the vindication would be!
But that was a part of the future which would unfold long after Davey's blissful departure from Smedco.

For the task at hand, Davey just had to keep-a-drillin', if you're willin', and try not to f*** up.

07/12 Direct Link

Davey had learned how to 'look busy' whilst mindfully 'skating' through most days in his previous employment, and could tread water cranking out those nameless, faceless, nondescript widgets, while certainly not winning any Brownie points with the Grundge.
For the Grundge had ways of keeping tabs on the worker-robots; to reiterate, the layout of the drilling area saw to that, and any given daily output would speak for itself.

Eventually, either by dint of Davey's piss-poor production capabilities or the fact that he had hailed from a prior position as a welder, Grundge assigned him to some spot welding tasks.

07/13 Direct Link

The spot welding rig was situated in a separate room between the sh** house and drill press area, and was most likely poorly ventilated – a bad sign for sure.
Davey would have to knuckle under, though his prior experience dictated he should raise red flags in protest or turn and run like hell.
After all, breathing concentrated heated metal fumes needed no further clarification as to its deleterious health effects.

But ruminating such sentiments to the brick wall that was Grundge would be, for lack of a better term, a dead- end bleat.
So Davey took the assignment in stride.

07/14 Direct Link

Why didn't Davey get any creative thinking jobs? He couldn't help noticing the little man who scurried calmly about the shop fixing various things and wearing a contented grin at all times.
The man got on just fine with potentially aggravating stick welding operations, and Davey snagged glances of his work as the man repaired a lift gate for the loading dock.

'Jack' seems a fitting moniker; Davey doesn't now recall ever catching the man's name, so he didn't know JACK.
Davey was terrible with names anyway.

But it irked him that Jack could work part time and have VARIETY.

07/15 Direct Link

Back to the gnawing gourd, and the smoky pit that was now his daytime abode: Davey soon caught on to spot welding, never having laid eyes or hands on such a machine previously.
The heat – via amperage and voltage controls just like any other welding apparatus – could be adjusted to meet the project's needs, and these doo-hickeys didn't need a whole lot.

The pieces to be spot welded were rectangular steel frames that would eventually become substrates for various clumsy-looking food slicers.
The welds were deemed necessary due to gaps left in the frame during bending in the fabrication process.

07/16 Direct Link

Whether the soon-to-be-spot-welded frames had been bent cold or with heat, the weld 2 B put on, well, it had to be neat. Hence, spot welding. That meant no expertise in the area of push-pull MIG [a technique involving a specialized nozzle that pulled in addition to pushing the fed wire] or TIG – a whole school of craftsmanship into itself. No way would the Smedco management spend that kind of time or money.

Nope, this was a straight up ‘clamp it, fizz it, stamp it’ operation.

Fortunately, the spot welding machine had a foot pedal configuration; it made perfect sense.

07/17 Direct Link

At first blush, operating this machine – as with just about any new gadget he got to play with – Davey thought 'mayun, this is waaaay cool!'
Though the process had that same perfunctory robotic quality about it, the fact remained that it was still, for this blip in time at least, NEW.

So despite the inherent lack of cerebral/cerebellum challenge extant in the clamp and stamp routine, it still had nuances in operations that could be mildly stimulating. Thus, it was those slight variations from piece to piece that kept Davey's interest initially.

Sometimes the metal contained porosity that went 'POOF!'

07/18 Direct Link

This variegation of metallic constituencies was no strange phenomenon to the ever-learning Davey, with his prior MIG and stick welding experience.
But the spot welding setup had, contrary to his presumptions, some rather nasty fume spewing characteristics, the most predominant being the fact that escape from said fumes was nearly impossible. The work was not only directly in front of the operator, but also below, with the machine’s height set to allow easy access for the robot-welder’s hands as she/he manipulated the pieces to be spot welded.

The electrodes – north, south, positive and negative, resembled pairs of skinny-assed vice grips.

07/19 Direct Link

These pincers, in turn – depending on the operator’s dexterity and attention to the task at hand [pun intended] in her/his timely push of the activation pedal – clasped the piece with the first depression of said pedal, then as the operator applied more pressure [if memory swerves, the mechanism could be set with a sort of timer], appropriate welding current was sent through the pincers into the work.
If all went well, then voila! Proper fusion of the ends would be the end result.
The machine, therefore, was a means to an end.

Yet in the end, Davey could only wince.

07/20 Direct Link

Yes, he would wince,
since he wasn’t wearing orthotics;
no gelding he,
and glory be
no laugh or gaffe or wry “tee-hee”;
spot welding was ripe for ROBOTICS.

Indeed, if ever a use for robots was cooked up, this was IT. A perfect match, to be sure.

Yet until cheap=assed profit-minded so-called ‘companies’ like Smedco could figure out a way to afford robots – or offshore the labor – this tiny smudge of a shop would be extant in the working class world.

The infernal frames piled up at times as Davey attempted to escape those daily doses of nasty metal fumes.

07/21 Direct Link

So time wore on and Davey, not gone
had stayed, as he’d nowhere to go;
he’d hoot, rasp and holler
for that measly dollar
whilst moppin’ it up at Smedco.

He could no longer skate
or nay, stay up late
a bad habit he’d need to expunge;
no, he’d show up to work
and try not to shirk
at least not in front of the Grundge!

Smedco was getting old, and Davey sensed it, big time. Yes, even with near perpetually-dulled senses, he could spree the biting on the squall.

Grundge appeared to be losing patience with Davey’s perceived slowness.

07/22 Direct Link

A determination and assessment of slow production rates by workers was not only subjective, but also essentially a perceived phenomenon; the worker in this case being the grate Davey H, who felt like he was putting out, at least nominally.

Truth be told, Davey had a simmering grudge for the Grundge and all he and his lot represented: an overbearing ‘nanny’ putz mentality that sought, with such smug arrogance, to keep workers toeing the line – or should we say ‘towing the line’
Oh, well; at least workers knew it and acted accordingly. It kept them out of trouble most days.

07/23 Direct Link

Philosophical deference to working class pride aside, it would be a cold day in hell before Davey caved to an urge toward respect of management. In fact, his resentment thereof was a well-honed habit pattern that infused his every move, his bodily rhythms, and his efficiency.
It was a thing called ATTITUDE,
and was, at this point, ingrained, dude;
a character facet,
rightly tacit,
and not to be eschewed.

Things were cooking behind the scenes at Smedco, unbeknownst to Davey. As he returned, oh, so unwillingly each day to that slovenly weld shack, he longed for even a mild challenge.

07/24 Direct Link

Yes, thanks to Smedco’s pathetic offerings, Davey had long longed for something big or maybe dangerous to test his wits and skill.
That, in short, would not come shortly; in fact, such things were wholly unavailable.

Relations with other workers had not improved much, and Sour-ho continued his glowering poker faced-ness when tilting his gaze in Davey’s general direction. Even Moe, who seemed to be the only person on planet Smedco that recognized Davey’s existence, had seemed to turn a colder shoulder in latter days.
So WTF was happening? Was something in the air?
Try and guess if you dare.

07/25 Direct Link
The gig was up. And don’t think for a minute Davey wouldn’t have had a serious premonition that such was the case.
Here it came: one day, most likely Monday, Grundge sauntered in to the spot welding shack, seemingly wearing that red-nosed cloak of arrogance so fitting to him, and presented Davey with a teetering stack of recently welded slicer frames.

Setting them on a nearby workbench, Grundge huffed, “See these? They all need to be redone. The welds are in the wrong place.”
He seemed genuinely miffed, not just dour.
Yikes! Davey’s gonads practically lurched into his throat.
07/26 Direct Link

To do – or rather redo – what Grundge was asking, or shall we say, saying or perhaps demanding – would mean grinding off the welds from the one side, flipping the pieces over, removing all other tentacles and appurtenances recently placed thereon, rotating the piece yet again, cutting a groove on the diametrically opposed side and re-welding the new surface together.
It would be an arduous, tedious, knuckle-busting nightmare.

And besides, should he undertake it, that stack would take a coon’s age to finish.

Oh, well, best to get started
as Davey then farted;
could he bring that stack
back on track?

07/27 Direct Link

Little did Davey know how big a sucker he was being played for at the outset of this latest charade. In the end, he just had to chuckle as under he did knuckle. Boy was this ever a ploy!

Davey faced mounting frustration as he attempted to mount the frames and perform the next-to-impossible splicing operations Grundge had demanded. In fact, the angst was nearly insurmountable.
It seemed that stack wasn’t going down at all.

Then, to add salt on the festering wound, lo and behold, Grundge marched in with yet another dozen or so frames the very next day!

07/28 Direct Link

That was IT. Damnit, everyone – even a sucker like Davey – has their limits. Davey, despite being in a position of needing money, decided to bag it. Outta here. Gonzo. Kaput. Severed. De-levered. Vaped. [Indicative of a vapor trail being left in his wake.]

So he planned his escape, setting a date for the next day.

On this, the morning of the not-so-great escape,
things began anew,
as they frequently do,
with the women on one side of the shop,
men on the other. Woo-hoo!
'Such humdrum, banal existence!’
Davey thought, fraught with resistance.

Was this the cold day in Hell?

07/29 Direct Link

Cold day in Hell? Not on your bippy, Kippy.
No, this, dear readers, was a VENDETTA.
This was predestined, ordained, sought after, craved for, and bound to happen.

Davey never felt surer about an action than on this otherwise ordinary day. So in a rare burst of organizational effort, he placed his proverbial ducks in a row to out the door go.

Come lunchtime, Davey would sashay to the usual pizza shop, order and pick up the usual gross greasy spoon style semi deep dish, oil sopped cheesy pizza pie, find a spot to sit down, and chow down, guy.

07/30 Direct Link

Then, having sumptuously supped, not bothering to wipe off the fatty cheese deposits from his lips, proudly cinching up his proverbial bootstraps, ratcheting up his thoracic spine with a commensurate lift of the chin, he commenced walking. And walking. And walking.
My, how good this simple act of walking felt!

Even the polluted urban air felt good in Davey’s lungs as he picked up the pace, heading downtown to the skimpy flat that he still called home.

Rounding the corner of 14th and Whatever, Davey saw a familiar vehicle coming toward him. Hey, that was What’s-her-name, a worker from Smedco.

07/31 Direct Link

She could have been a Suzy or a Julie,
and worked at Smedco duly,
her wheels Davey thought were cool, he
greeted her and truly.

Let’s call her Sheri for the purposes of this essay.

“Hey, you’re going in the wrong direction!” Sheri chirped.
“No I’m not,” Davey replied, “I’m going in the right direction!”

It was an enormous sense of relief and vindication that buoyed Davey on this final walk home, and although he had almost no money, he felt like celebrating.

Regardless of all other circumstances, leaving Grundge in the dust was the greatest reward Davey could garner.