Sunday, April 13, 2008

Mama said there would be days like this...


Sometimes though the universe does give warnings.



Anyone not lucky enough to be born with a silver foot or spoon in their mouths quickly comes to learn that some days simply suck. That the nagging feeling people sometimes have certain mornings that they should stay in bed as they throw back the covers and moved to take on the day IS a message from the universe because while most may not start a war for idiotic reasons and lies or meltdown a nuclear reactor none the less nothing they do that day will turn out right. Frankly I have more than my share of those feelings suggesting that God does care for children, fools, and the United States of America as the saying I’ve heard many times goes. I’ll leave the guessing to what category of the three I fit in to y’all. For those needing help, and with the high school graduation rate in some areas of the country like they are I’ll give a vague hint, let’s just say I’m not a child or a nation-state. Sometimes though those feelings just don’t sink through to the CPU in my brain and I can be found almost making an art out of screwing something up. I’ve even at times contemplated applying for a grant from the National Endowment for the Arts because some of the things I do surly could be considered.

My most famous screw up goes all the way back to a summer job I had with the South Carolina Highway Department while still a junior in high school. The crew I was part of for the past few hot summer mornings had been pouring cement for a new section of flooring for the massive expansion for the work shop. I don’t remember all the procedures for smoothing out the drying cement we did but it was extensive and time consuming. One part of it though I will remember to my dying day, in fact every time I see one of the fulltime highway department employees back in Georgetown they have taken on the duty of telling the story as loudly as they can to as many people around that will listen.

We had already spent several days on smoothing out the new cement floor when the full timers brought some seriously weird looking device to the worksite. As best as I can describe imagine a large floor fan without its front cover sitting on the cement with a lawnmower engine sitting on top of the back of the fan. Throw in a lawnmower handle sticking out from the engine to guide and control the contraption. The large blades on the thing, resting directly on the cement, were supposed to smooth out the cement a lot quicker than what we had been using the previous day. Me being young and eager to return to jobs located far closer to the beach for reasons I’m sure all can figure out I wanted to get the job finished. The crew I worked with not being anywhere near my age and married was content to lazily sip coffee and eat their breakfast sandwiches. While those guys were very good to me that summer and I thought a lot of them I can describe them pretty well by saying they could have fit right in as extras in the old Hee Haw cast without changing clothes. I pestered them enough to get them to explain the new machine called a cement planer that I hoped would have me cruising down to the beach later that day. They in turn, once I was instructed, sat back and strangely began snickering. The planer started right up and I grabbed the throttle to engage the blades. When the blades started turning I didn’t have the planer balanced correctly and instead of spinning in one spot and moving only where I wanted it with my hands on the handle I starting to be spun very quickly in one spot. Now throw in some sort of throttle lock that my inexperienced hands couldn't figure out so just letting go and having it stop wasn’t an option. So for some time period that to me could have been a couple of hours but was really only a few seconds I felt like some kid on a marry-go-round doing warp speed. One of the guys at some point came up behind me and fingered the throttle some way to get it to disengage. As soon as that was done my savior, and the rest of the South Carolina Hee Haw cast, just about all fell to the ground laughing. The rest of that day my co-workers relived and reenacted my first and last experience with the cement planer to the entire crew that worked at the Georgetown county highway department section. Even the section manger, a close friend to my Uncle George, came out the next day bringing me a cup of coffee to laugh about the event, plus, to send me with the crew doing work at Pawleys Island. So it is with humble respect knowing that some days just suck that I offer:

Drivers Flood Station for 35 Cent Gas

(04-11) 19:29 PDT Wilmington, N.C. (AP) --

Traffic was backed up and police were called to control the crowd after a Wilmington gas station accidentally set the pump price at 35 cents a gallon.

The Wilmington Star-News reported Friday that hundreds of drivers flooded a BP station for the cheap gas after the price dropped around 9 a.m. Thursday.

Station employee Shane Weller said the price for premium gasoline was supposed to be $3.35 a gallon. He complained that customers paid the cheaper price all day without saying a word.

It was all the extra traffic that led station employees to the mistake around 6 p.m. They found it after calling their district manager, looking for permission to changing the price as a way of stemming the flow of customers.


I've watched the people who work at convenience stores and it is a thankless low paying job in which most customers view the workers less important than they do the slushy machine. I'm sure that some convenience store company has to be researching robotic technology so the human factor could be eliminated all together. So Shane has my respect and sympathy but when you have days like that at least karma has a way of balancing it out for him and the customers.

17 comments:

Colonel Colonel said...

I do feel sorry for the guy, because screw-ups like that can happen to anyone, but he's going to have his own cement-planer story to tell for years to come as a result of people's reaction to a rather unfortunate quote in that story-

"He complained that customers paid the cheaper price all day without saying a word."

I mean, gee, what a surprise...

C.Rag said...

How did work on the highway during SC's summers?

I couldn't make it. I would have passed out the first hour.

Beach Bum said...

Colonel: You are right but like some fool that returns a lot of money he or she found on the street someone should have gone to the guy and just said the price on the pump was wrong. Of course after this good Samaritan pump his car full of 35 cent a gallon gas.

C.Rag: Not too bad, we were high school kids and they didn't really push us that hard.

Utah Savage said...

Wonderful story telling Beach. I was eating a peanut butter and jam sandwich and nearly choked laughing. I should tach my dog to do the Hiemlich maneuver. Probably wrong spelling, but I have another half a sandwich to eat so......

Sex workers and convenience store workers of the world unite!

Crime Dog said...

Enjoyed reading your screw-up story! Stop by and visit me on the far side of the world sometime.

Vigilante said...

Exactly what does the up-raised finger in the clouds express, Beach?

Stacy The Peanut Queen said...

The PK does concrete work and I know the exact machine you blogged about. Loud sucker too, wasn't it?

Beach Bum said...

Utah: I couldn't help but think about my many bad days after reading that article. And while I can't stand the multitude of convenience stores that grow like weeds in my yard but I've seen the people that work then not treated very well. Yeah, sex and convenience store workers unite.

Crime dog: Thanks and I will right after this.

Vigil: Several times in my life God or the universe has given me signs that something wasn't quite right and that I should step back and regroup although I let the signs slip by without notice. If I should ever wake up one morning and see the finger cloud I don't think even I could miss that one.

Stacy: Very loud but I think the laughter I heard after it was louder. Damn thing scared the poop out of me.

Utah Savage said...

Beach, I have come to your site to make sure you get my message. I think you're a very talented writer. But most importantly you seem willing to talk about your "real" life. Do you understand how rare that is in a man? Most men will talk sports, or politics. That's pretty much it. So when they get serious about writing they make shit up. But you my man, have the guts to expose yourself, so to speak.

And your comments about my writing is so insightful and right. But what touches me most is how sweet you are. You often make me cry. That's how much what you say about my writing means to me.

donviti said...

glad to see you are still alive

Beach Bum said...

Utah: Thanks, I do have idea about a post that I just can't get right yet involving how most of the other adults I'm around live in an entirely different world than me on several levels.

Donviti: I'm sorry man, my blogging time has fallen off a lot due to my son's needs for the computer, the IT Nazis at work forcing me off the computer there. I'm trying to get back in the groove.

Keshi said...

:) witty writeup...shit happens oyeah!



Keshi.

MadMike said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
MadMike said...

BTW Beach I can't get that song out of my head...Mama said there'd be days like this.......Days like this.....Mama said there'd be days like this..........Mama said.....

Beach Bum said...

Keshi: Yeah it happens and usually it winds up all over me.

MadMike: I've always kind of liked the song.

Stella said...

Couldn't let this one pass me by...

"Poor George. He can't help it if he was born with a silver foot in his mouth."
~~Gov. Ann Richards about Bush Sr.

Boy, I sure miss her.

Melvin said...

interesting post...
Thanks for sharing......


___________________
Melvin
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