Saturday, January 07, 2006

The Ball Joint Journals

(In light of my recent promotion at work, and the fact that I actually enjoy my job once again, I have been reflecting back on past shitty terms of employ I have suffered through in my checkered past. This was written over four years ago before I launched myself headlong into Corporate Hell, where I find myself now, and also happens to represent the first makings of my regular daily journal habits that still remain with me today.)

(Day 1)

Today I learned where the former employees go from Johnson Screens when they die, get fired, or don't pass their mandatory drug test. They are cast into the sulphury pits of Hades that is the 'Iafrate Ball Bearing Manufacturers' factory.

My entire daily work responsibility can be formatted to the following sequence of events:

Pick up the ball joint
Take off cap
Test that it is not broken (by loosely pulling on the rubber joint)
Mark it with a purple marker (if satisfactory)
Replace cap
Repack neatly into another box

This is the routine for eight and a half hours a day, unless of course, you are the mulleted factory lifer, or "Alpha Doofus" as I have come to know them, working beside me; then you would follow this particular work sequence:

Pick up ball joint
Use it to scratch your pits
Take off cap
Hawk a phlegmy lugie past my head and out the door
Bitch about how shitty a job it is
Mark the joint with purple marker (without testing it)
Replace cap
Fart loudly
Randomly toss ball joint into other box
Go for smoke break and leave me to repack ball joint neatly
Scratch his ass
Bitch some more

Why do we have to through all these seemingly pointless efforts for each individual ball joint, you might ask? Here is a portion of a conversation with the mulleted "Alpha Doofus" I had today, from which, you can draw your own conclusions:

Me: So, you been doing this long?
Alpha-Doofus: Yeah.
Me: How long?
Alpha-Doofus: 12 years.
Me: You've been doing THIS for TWELVE FUCKING YEARS?!!
Alpha-Doofus: Yeah.

Me: How many defective ball joints have you found?
Alpha-Doofus: None.
Me: Pardon?
Alpha-Doofus: None.

Me: You've found NO defective ball joints in 12 years?
Alpha-Doofus: No.
Me: Has anyone?
Alpha-Doofus: No.
Me: (stares in disbelief)

What happens when you find a defective ball joint that is unworthy of being safely labelled with a purple marker – fuck only knows! Sure beats me - but I would like to believe that balloons and confetti will drop from the ceiling and I will be presented with a handsome reward cheque for miraculously finding the only defective ball joint or something. I would be the envy of all the mulleted Alpha-Doofuses. I’d be like Charlie with his Golden Ticket:

“Run home, Terry. Run home as fast as you can!”

There would be monkeys in tuxedos and porkchops hanging from trees; it would be like getting a blowjob from Aphrodite herself. I can dream can't I?

(Day 2)

Today I learned that there does indeed exist a higher power at the factory, one that governs the universe and mitigates the outcome of fate and destiny in our poor enslaved employment; a power even greater than that of the seniority list of currently employed Alpha-Doofuses at this Gate to Hell.

This great power is known as the "Purple Marker" (insert playing of magestic angel choruses). No ball joint, or any other manufactured product at 'Iafrate Ball Bearing Manufacturers' for that matter, is EVER deemed completely worthy without first exhibiting the glorious purple mark of distinction in its plastic cap. Nothing is passed or initiated further down the production line without first passing under the magnificent purple marker's magic inky nib.

Having to mark over 4000 ball joints daily, I go through approximately two to three purple markers EVERY day. Each purple marker has to be requisitioned and procured from the main office (another two plants over) with the proper paperwork. The real fuckoff part is that no one is ever allowed to requisition more than one marker at a time. This inevitably means that I end up spending at least half my day drawing up requisition forms in triplicate, marching a mile and a half across the factory, dodging tow motors, and waiting pointlessly while my request is being processed before returning back to work at the other end of the plant – only to repeat the whole process just two or three hours later. Whoever runs the Workforce Management department at this damn factory should be shot in his comfy chair!

Any attempt to borrow, steal or share in the purple markers is strictly frowned upon and deemed criminal in nature. Some try to stockpile these purple markers at their work stations like the mulleted factory Alpha-Doofus that works beside me and thereby attempt to control the ebb of energy that radiates from it's store of ink wells. They're like greedy, paranoid children protecting their bag of concealed Halloween candy come December 1st.


Brainless retards. Purple is the colour of faggots.

(Day 3)

Today at Iafrate Ball Bearing Manufacturers I have learned that as a lowly "Quality Control Sorting Technician", I am at the divine mercy of a very omnipotent and vengeful group of big-ass mulleted factory Alpha-Doofus's. No, not the Union Reps - even worse!

The Tow-motor divers!!!

The tow-motor driver is the highest platform of existence among the factory Alpha-Doofus hierarchy. They are the 'be alls' and 'end alls' of work within the factory walls. They buzz around the factory like angry bees on an ever ready alert to run you over, skewer you, back over you, crush you, or honk at you. In fact, the tow-motor drivers are incapable of actual speech as they are quite with reason. Instead they prefer to communicate with a series of aggravated honks on their tow-motor horns. But the moment you need one - they are on a break.

They are the industrial harpy's of the factory as nothing can operate successfully without the tow-motor driver to replace, restock, reload, or even replug the bathroom toilet. We are at their mercy. From all reaches and work stations of the factory the persistent testicle-clenching beeping of the tow-motor's "backing up" signals: beep, beep, beep, beep, beep. This ever-present warning is always on the audible horizon of every other loud mechanical crash, clang and clatter emanating through the factory like a nearby swarm of angry beeping mulleted bees.

Heaven's forbid should you ever fuck up and force one of these mean-spirited tow-motor drivers to dismount his "hog". This is the ultimate insult to a tow-motor driver. They hate having to get down from their mechanical thrones and walk even two feet from their tow-motors. I’m sure these guys would drive to and from in their tow-motors if they were allowed by the company.

(Day 4)

Today’s lesson was a hard one to swallow, particularly when I was pretty sure and happy that I wouldn't be going back into the sulphury pit of hell that is Iafrate this morning, but "C'est la vie, say the old folk.”

Today I was exposed to the ridiculous titanic juggernaught that is the factory "Union". By the sounds of it from the lips of the other factory Doofuses around me, the Union is one big organized ‘Bitchfest’ with free coffee and a box of Timbit’s. Despite having already worked there for five days already, and with nothing ever having been explained to me properly about the inner workings of this Devil’s Lair, my fellow employees, or even my position other than the usual daily formula of “check, mark with purple marker, recap, repack”, that I was now also be required by the Union to wear safety goggles at all times - and that I was required to pay $3.50 for a pair to do so. All this was just explained to me rather gruffly and vaguely by the new plant Union Rep (or "Fat Guido Bastard", as I have now taken to calling him). All the time with his greasy palm out waiting for the payment of goggle money.

First off, not being part of the official Iafrate Union yet, and I am only here on a temporary basis in the first place (I was brought in to work for slave wages so the Union could lay off another twenty of their own Union members) I deemed I was in no way, and under no obligation to listen to, abide by, or be responsible to this lazy self-serving dicksmack whose only other responsibility it seems is to read the daily paper in his air-conditioned, soundproof office with his feet up and changing the Hustler calendar pinup girls in the bathroom at the end of every month. No way am I going to pay him, or any Union member, anything that is not directly involved with my work or my employment concerns.

Why am I required to wear safety goggles now anyways? Beats the shit out of me! There is no other machinery operators that have to wear safety goggles as all their machines are closed and safely concealed as they operate. So why then would a lowly "Quality Control Sorting Technician", such as myself, be forced to wear them? Particularly when I am in no way in any immediate danger of having my eye poked out? If it should ever be so fucking stupid to end up jabbing out my eye with my dull purple marker, I will assume FULL responsibility for my inept lack of dexterity. I'm not one of Jerry's Kids.

What else are they expecting to happen when you work in a practically abandoned warehouse, marking blunt metalic ball bearings out of a cardboard box with a purple marker? Are they worried a bird might be blinded in flight by the sun reflecting off the scrap metal dumpster outside our window and fly in through the bay door loading platform and skewer itself into my eyeball with it's beak? Not bloody fucking likely is it? I’m sure this is just other thing that the mulleted Factory Doofuses have conjured up in a means to make us lowly temporary workers suffer more throughout our work day. Next they’ll require us to wipe our asses with fine grit sand paper.

(And on Day 5, I handed in my resume to the office of my current employer and thus initiated the motivated disgruntlement that I would persist with me for the next four years leading up to today.)


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