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Re: My Job, My Hell...

Posted: Thu Dec 10, 2009 12:59 am
by MVegas
Digging the stories man- reminds me of my days in residential service work (HVAC at the time) and how truly weird it is to be dropped into the middle of a stranger's life for a few hours.

It also reminded me of one of the worst days I ever had as a service tech. I had moved on to electrical work: standby generators, industrial controls, etc.

So it's a blazing hot weekend in august, I'm the on call guy, and I'm SICK AS A DOG. All weekend I'm praying I get left alone. Then, just as I think I might be out of the woods, on sunday afternoon the call comes. Gotta go down to the port, there's a gantry crane down and their regular guy is in Vermont for the weekend and they can't reach him. Now, on top of all this, I know D**K ABOUT F***ING CRANES! Never worked on one in my life! There was a whole other side of the service shop devoted to that, but none of those guys was the guy on the hook that weekend, of course! LOL!

Well, I figure relays are relays and I drag myself out into the pea soup that passes for air here in Southern N.E. in August and head down to the port. I pull up, and realize the gantry crane they're talking about is a 70ft. nightmare that has been moving scrap onto barges since sometime in the 70's. So I'm sitting there in front of their trailer/office getting ready to get out of my air conditioned truck, and I see a head pop out. He looks at me, smiles, and yells "You the guy from *****?" I nod yes, and then he waves at me. With a God damned steel hook!

It was then I truly knew it was going to be a long f***ing afternooon.

It was.

Re: My Job, My Hell...

Posted: Thu Dec 10, 2009 8:42 am
by Meat N' Taters
Awesome, awesome!!! MOAR!

I'm stoked for part II!!

Re: My Job, My Hell...

Posted: Thu Dec 10, 2009 9:46 am
by T-Boon
ME too !

Patiently waits for more :D

Re: My Job, My Hell...

Posted: Thu Dec 10, 2009 10:22 am
by Jeriah
T-Boon wrote:ME too !

Patiently waits for more :D
I am also waiting for MOAR. But less patiently, because I am a dick. :lol:

I NEEDZ MOAR!!!

Re: My Job, My Hell...

Posted: Thu Dec 10, 2009 6:59 pm
by TheLastRifleMan
Vicarious_Lee wrote:I KNEW IT! I FUCKING KNEW IT!!

Back in my 4th year of med school I took an ER rotation. On only one day I had to do a "ride-along" with the EMS. In that one afternoon I saw more shit, validated more shit, confirmed more suspicions, and solidified more opinions about the "underbelly" of this country than I ever thought possible.

It's a wacky place to visit (rotate) but I sure as hell won't live (work) there. Rifleman, I'm now living through you......wait for it......Vicarious_Lee.


Keep it coming.

Oh, and a YouTube vid for you and you alone, just so you can get a glimpse of the pinnacle of your clientele:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wd5v9jN4JrE" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=MEyJO3kB ... re=channel" onclick="window.open(this.href);return false;

The boy has MS, and him and his dad were featured as "Innovators" in Popular Mechanics not too long ago. I e-mailed them a while back, but they didn't get back to me. It's probably for the best, though. This chair ain't meant for everybody, and only those with the greatest moxie deserve to find that it exists. Yes, that's a ventilator setup on that tank. :twisted:
Very cool set up! I have so many clients that could use that!

You have got to post some of your stories here as well, please!

Re: My Job, My Hell...

Posted: Thu Dec 10, 2009 7:01 pm
by TheLastRifleMan
MVegas893.1 wrote:Digging the stories man- reminds me of my days in residential service work (HVAC at the time) and how truly weird it is to be dropped into the middle of a stranger's life for a few hours.

It also reminded me of one of the worst days I ever had as a service tech. I had moved on to electrical work: standby generators, industrial controls, etc.

So it's a blazing hot weekend in august, I'm the on call guy, and I'm SICK AS A DOG. All weekend I'm praying I get left alone. Then, just as I think I might be out of the woods, on sunday afternoon the call comes. Gotta go down to the port, there's a gantry crane down and their regular guy is in Vermont for the weekend and they can't reach him. Now, on top of all this, I know D**K ABOUT F***ING CRANES! Never worked on one in my life! There was a whole other side of the service shop devoted to that, but none of those guys was the guy on the hook that weekend, of course! LOL!

Well, I figure relays are relays and I drag myself out into the pea soup that passes for air here in Southern N.E. in August and head down to the port. I pull up, and realize the gantry crane they're talking about is a 70ft. nightmare that has been moving scrap onto barges since sometime in the 70's. So I'm sitting there in front of their trailer/office getting ready to get out of my air conditioned truck, and I see a head pop out. He looks at me, smiles, and yells "You the guy from *****?" I nod yes, and then he waves at me. With a God damned steel hook!

It was then I truly knew it was going to be a long f***ing afternooon.

It was.
I know the feeling. And I don't like heights. I am not scared of them, just don't like to be above 10 feet.

And a steel hook for a hand! I guess never buy lumber from a guy named "Lefty".

Re: My Job, My Hell...

Posted: Thu Dec 10, 2009 8:47 pm
by TheLastRifleMan
Okay all, time for Part II. Got you warm blankies ready? I do, because it is now -4 F where I am!

Where did I leave off? Oh yes, the one-cigarette-smoking couple had just jimmied the lock open on their neighbor's delapidated trailer with a tarnished butter knife in less time then it takes to start a car in order for me to go in and fix a powered hospital style bed.

How is that for getting you attention at the first line? Makes you want to hear more, I hope.

I was just beginning to think that all that bad karma built up in previous lifetimes was finally balancing out. How could it not be? After all, a man whose parents probably had identical DNA had found a way into the place and had reversed my situation in a matter of minutes. With a freakin' cheap stainless steel piece of table wear, no less! The sun was shining, the birds were singing and even the scrawny cats took a pause from their scrounging to look at me adoringly.

Then it hit me like a sucker punch to the kidneys: I had not gone INTO the prefab, wheel-less mobile abyss that stood before me! If this place smelled bad from the outside (it did indeed have a unique odor, truly unmatched in all my later travels), I thought, it must really be beyond belief inside. Those cats were not looking at me with affection as I had thought, oh no! It was pity, plain and simple. I gathered my courage, hiked my pants up by the belt loops (the better to reach my pocket knife and make sure my marriage tackle was in place), hefted my tool box and climbed those rickety cast iron stairs into a place that would have made a guard at Auschwitz look twice.

The first thing that I could not help but realize was it was dark in this place. Not pitch black, mind you but a dim brownish-gray that made seeing more then a yard or two in front of you with any clear picture difficult. It was like looking at a 60 Lumen flashlight through a pair of camo pants. The only light coming in was from the window from which the lady had screamed at me to kick down her door, that light a pus colored yellow green streaming through tattered, stained Mickey Mouse curtains, illuminating what was on the floor.

It was the owner of this Lovecraftian abode. All 400 lbs of her, rounded mountains of flesh rolling and undulating underneath a dress that surely had been made by the local tent and awning supply company. Stubs of fingers just jutted out of what may have been arms and what bare flesh was visible was the color of cooked cod. I saw no feet and was thankful but realized that her feet may not have supported her weight in as many years as I had trod the Earth. She was still hollering at the top of her lungs, having to take in a huge gulp of air after every three words. Her teeth were the color of stained walnut gun stocks and her oil slicked hair grew in uneven patches on her pale skull. If a tentacle had shot out me I would not have been very surprised.

I am still not sure if the stench came from her or if it was a combination of her unwashed redundant tissue (my boss' term for "fat") or the deplorable condition of the trailer home. Everything was covered in a very thin layer of a substance the consistency and texture of cosmoline. Not new cosmoline, like the kind you get on a brand new firearm, but the old, sticky brown type you spend days cleaning out of a cheaply made copy of an 1898 Mauser that had been issued to a Chinese soldier, who never cleaned it, in 1912. It was sticky and slick at the same time and I knew it had to be organic from the rancid smell it left even after you had wiped it off.

Did I forget about the smell? I did mention that earlier, I hope. I have tried so hard to forget it. Yes, a rancid odor, similar to an abandoned slaughter house that had been turned into a cheap bar. Cigarette smoke, cooking grease that had burned, the scent of unwashed clothing, general rot and wet dog, topped off with one of those tree shaped car deodorizers, the "New Car" scent. Yes, one of those was hanging from a push pin that had been placed into the ceiling tile just for that purpose.

I asked what was wrong with the bed, which was just inside the door to my left, sans mattress, and all she could say was it did not work. Her bulk suddenly shifted (as well as the gravity inside the trailer) and she partially sat up. She was screaming that for the last two weeks, she had been sleeping on the floor. I could then see where the mattress had gone. Her great mass, spread out over the floor by the universal constant of gravity, had been concealing it. She wanted the bed fixed NOW or she was going to call her social worker AGAIN and get me fired and sue my employer for everything they had.

Those threats did not scare me. That fact that she could even move under her own power at all did. Maybe she could move faster then I thought and she might think that plump little ol' me might make a good brunch. Maybe I had read too many Lovecraft and Derleth stories in my misspent youth. Gods of the Eternal Hunt, my poor mother would die of a broken heart, not knowing whatever became of me, I was beginning to think. If this thing screaming at me didn't get me, surely those hominids she called neighbors would! This was a predicament!

I snapped myself out of the myriad of horrors running through my mind. I had big enough problems with Two Ton Tina's broken bed and I had to get cracking to get the thing back on line and do it soon. Being a bit of a flashlight afficianado even way back then and the fact that having assisted on many bed repairs made it necessary for me to carry a decent flashlight. I had purchased a 2 AAA cell Maglite to carry it my pocket, since it was the best thing available for this kind of work. I pulled it out and turned the head to "on" so I could see what the problem was and also look for the hand control that raised and lowered the foot end of the bed (so you could elevate your legs) and did the same for the head end. I quickly found it and discovered it to be working. The ends of the bed would go up but suddenly come to screeching stop.

I started to feel the cold sweat of panic on my brow. If it were the motor, I was screwed. I did not bring one. It would not fit in the truck of my car! Everything else, including the safety rails, I was able to pack up and bring with me. Karma was not kind once again, I was beginning to think. There had to be another answer, since the motors worked. I was told by the other techs that the motors don't give any warning, they just stop. Besides, I really did not want to get under this bed in THIS place if I could help it at all!

Then I saw it. The gleaming chrome finish of the safety rail on the side of the bed closest to the wall. Instead of being laser level straight, it was as crooked as the trajectory of a mortar round. It had gotten stuck, probably by the Ginormous Bulk lying on the floor when she was using it to push herself out of bed. She must have had the head raised, pushed on it to re position herself and bent it, then ran the foot of the bed up and jammed the two halves of the rail, which slid into each other so they could "telescope" back and forth, into each other. The other rail, lowered down to the side, was also bent. I had no idea how she had accomplished that!

I pull the rails off, thankful the mattress was on the floor, absorbing whatever filth she was creating and not exposing me to it. I took them outside and tossed them onto a trash pile outside her hovel (I was NOT putting those in my car), pulled the new set from my cars trunk, carefully re locking my vehicle. Into the breech once more, I quickly installed the new rails, filled out the paperwork and had her sign it. I walked down those frail steps for the last time, and tossed the pen she had used into the same scrap heap as the rails.

Not really. I rubbed it down with some industrial disinfectant I had thought to bring with me. After I sprayed myself and car with it. I drove out of there, laughing the laugh of the insane, thinking all the way back about tenuring my resignation.

Which, 20 months later, to my chagrin, I should have done.

So, who wants to hear about the parrot that nearly bit my ear off?

Re: My Job, My Hell...

Posted: Thu Dec 10, 2009 8:56 pm
by shrapnel
TheLastRifleMan wrote:So, who wants to hear about the parrot that nearly bit my ear off?
Do you really need to ask?

Re: My Job, My Hell...

Posted: Thu Dec 10, 2009 10:10 pm
by TheLastRifleMan
Ah, but it have to wait until Sunday. I am busy tomorrow and Saturday with Christmas cheer type things.

Re: My Job, My Hell...

Posted: Thu Dec 10, 2009 10:38 pm
by Jeriah
Your latest gave me flashbacks to William Gibson's Idoru:
[Slitscan's audience] is best visualized as a vicious, lazy, profoundly ignorant, perpetually hungry organism craving the warm god-flesh of the anointed. Personally I like to imagine something the size of a baby hippo, the color of a week-old boiled potato, that lives by itself, in the dark, in a double-wide on the outskirts of Topeka. It's covered with eyes and it sweats constantly. The sweat runs into those eyes and makes them sting. It has no mouth, Laney, no genitals, and can only express its mute extremes of murderous rage and infantile desire by changing the channels on a universal remote. Or by voting in presidential elections.

Re: My Job, My Hell...

Posted: Thu Dec 10, 2009 10:47 pm
by Bearcat
shrapnel wrote:
TheLastRifleMan wrote:So, who wants to hear about the parrot that nearly bit my ear off?
Do you really need to ask?
Seriously, what is the point of this thread if you don't tell us? :roll: :lol:....... :? But just in case..........yes.

Re: My Job, My Hell...

Posted: Thu Dec 10, 2009 11:26 pm
by Samurai Penguin
Damn...you can really tell a story, bro. The descriptions were so incredibly vivid, I felt like I was right there with you.

I'm now going to bathe in Lysol and plot my revenge for you bringing me into that cesspit. :lol:

Re: My Job, My Hell...

Posted: Thu Dec 10, 2009 11:42 pm
by JCgoose
Epic story is Epic

Re: My Job, My Hell...

Posted: Fri Dec 11, 2009 12:05 am
by Explorer
Post Removed by Author

Re: My Job, My Hell...

Posted: Fri Dec 11, 2009 12:29 am
by Vicarious_Lee
I'm gonna go ahead and, despite the request of a person that I e-respect, decline comment. The internet isn't anonymous, and everything we do is recorded somewhere. I'm afraid I can't add my tales to this thread for several reasons:

1. I long ago lost the ability to discern what would be shocking to others, because my job both insulates and exposes me to things that are not a surprise to me, but may be a surprise to others, and still may be a nonevent to others in another field.

2. This shit can't come back on me.

I sure wish I could just post some x-rays of the "Wounds" that I have treated, but I can't.


MOAR!

Re: My Job, My Hell...

Posted: Fri Dec 11, 2009 1:56 am
by TheGunslinger
Well, maybe I should chime in with the odd story or two from a time when I was a private investigator? I've got a couple of good 'uns.

Let me know if it's ok to post here, or if you'd like me to start a new thread.

Re: My Job, My Hell...

Posted: Fri Dec 11, 2009 2:26 am
by sql_yoda
Going on eight hours now, love reading your archives, rifleman...

"it did indeed have a unique odor, truly unmatched in all my later travels"

Those in the biz call this C. Diff., and it truly has a heinous odor, but it's mostly harmless. It does tend to lend a certain believability to your stories though, and you are one great storyteller.

Re: My Job, My Hell...

Posted: Fri Dec 11, 2009 2:47 am
by USMCSergeant
MOAR

Re: My Job, My Hell...

Posted: Fri Dec 11, 2009 3:45 am
by Bunsen
Vicarious_Lee wrote:...I sure wish I could just post some x-rays of the "Wounds" that I have treated, but I can't.
Don't worry, an active imagination and Google can fill in most of those, or at least something close. As for tales from the EMS and ER, this thread on studentdoctor.net contains all the mind-fuckingly disgusting, hilarious, and just plain bewildering medical war stories you could ever want. If you get through all 57 pages of it and still have something new to tell, well, who's gonna know if you create a throwaway account over there?

Re: My Job, My Hell...

Posted: Fri Dec 11, 2009 9:14 am
by Meat N' Taters
TheLastRifleMan wrote: So, who wants to hear about the parrot that nearly bit my ear off?
yesMOARyes
TheLastRifleMan wrote:Did I forget about the smell? I did mention that earlier, I hope. I have tried so hard to forget it. Yes, a rancid odor, similar to an abandoned slaughter house that had been turned into a cheap bar.
:lol: :lol: :shock:


Seriously...your writing style is pure win. You got talent, man.

Oh...and MOAR.

Re: My Job, My Hell...

Posted: Fri Dec 11, 2009 9:17 pm
by Bacteriophage
Is it me or would this make a killer mini series for the Hallmark channel? Just think 3 - 5 episodes of pure medical appliance repairman tales - M.A.R.T.E. - Med. Appliance Repairman Extraordinaire. I'm seeing Oprah book deal - Do you have an agent?

Re: My Job, My Hell...

Posted: Sat Dec 12, 2009 9:22 am
by TheLastRifleMan
Thanks all for the comments on my writting style. I like to think of it as a cross between John Keel and David Sedaris. :lol: I do try very hard at it and appreciate the support, sincerly.


TheGunslinger wrote:Well, maybe I should chime in with the odd story or two from a time when I was a private investigator? I've got a couple of good 'uns.

Let me know if it's ok to post here, or if you'd like me to start a new thread.

Hell, yeah, post away here! I started this thread for anyone who wants to tell about the grotesque and profane things they encounter that makes their profession interesting and challenging.

A P.I.? Man, you have got to have a few!

Re: My Job, My Hell...

Posted: Sat Dec 12, 2009 9:33 am
by TheLastRifleMan
Vicarious_Lee wrote:I'm gonna go ahead and, despite the request of a person that I e-respect, decline comment. The internet isn't anonymous, and everything we do is recorded somewhere. I'm afraid I can't add my tales to this thread for several reasons:

1. I long ago lost the ability to discern what would be shocking to others, because my job both insulates and exposes me to things that are not a surprise to me, but may be a surprise to others, and still may be a nonevent to others in another field.

2. This shit can't come back on me.

I sure wish I could just post some x-rays of the "Wounds" that I have treated, but I can't.


MOAR!
I know what you mean and understand. I checked the literature at work on the privacy rules the Feds had pushed into law a few years back to make sure I was not in any kind of violation before posting anything and since I am not using customer's names, addresses, etc, I am in the clear.

I sure wish you could. But you got some doozies.

I am only here right now because I am at work and the boss just went out to get us some coffee. Not much time...

Re: My Job, My Hell...

Posted: Sat Dec 12, 2009 9:38 am
by TheLastRifleMan
Jeriah wrote:Your latest gave me flashbacks to William Gibson's Idoru:
[Slitscan's audience] is best visualized as a vicious, lazy, profoundly ignorant, perpetually hungry organism craving the warm god-flesh of the anointed. Personally I like to imagine something the size of a baby hippo, the color of a week-old boiled potato, that lives by itself, in the dark, in a double-wide on the outskirts of Topeka. It's covered with eyes and it sweats constantly. The sweat runs into those eyes and makes them sting. It has no mouth, Laney, no genitals, and can only express its mute extremes of murderous rage and infantile desire by changing the channels on a universal remote. Or by voting in presidential elections.

Damn, I read that book a few years back and forgot that scene. You are right in the comparison, 100%.

Just about all of his techno punk stuff is good reading.