The Forklift Blues: Saving the day at Mexican Original - a Labor Day story | Street Jazz

Monday, September 6, 2010

The Forklift Blues: Saving the day at Mexican Original - a Labor Day story

Posted By on Mon, Sep 6, 2010 at 9:34 AM

Another lifetime ago, I worked for the the Tyson’s Mexican Original in Fayetteville. Actually, I was one of the ones lucky enough to work for M.O. well before Tyson took over, but that’s another story altogether.

In 1988, I began working in warehouse/parts room, on the night shift. Now, this was a pretty good job, for the most part, and I enjoyed most of the years I worked there. One of the things I enjoyed most about working in the warehouse was driving the forklift.

It wasn’t one of those huge, gas-powered forklifts, but a smaller, model with a battery in the back. They were very maneuverable, and great fun to drive.

Not much actual training involved in getting a license to drive this particular type of lift, though. You pretty much saw a short film, and took a multiple-question test. No actual driving involved.

This, of course, would prove to be my undoing.

One of my tasks was to take the large metal trash dumpster out to the compactor every night. I’d done done this a couple of nights with no mishap, but one night as I was rounding the curve by the warehouse entrance I had the dumpster too high, and I had misjudged exactly where I was in the Great Scheme of Things and . . . WHAM!

I was jolted in my seat. Clambering down, I saw God (and my bad driving) had wrought. I had knocked several blocks out of the walls, and they were laying on the ground, along with my nerves and what was left of my job prospects at Mexican Original.

Salvation was to come in a most unlikely form.

The maintenance crew, with whom I was discovering that I would be working very closely with as I ran the parts cage, decided amongst themselves to save my job - with a very ingenious and cunning plan.

Since the room which contained spare motors was adjacent to the path my forklift ran on its path to disaster, the crew all got on their hands and knees and spread machine oil across the floor. Then the maintenance supervisor climbed on top of the forklift and drove through the oil several times - including retracing my path to the wall.

When my supervisor arrived at 6am, they told him it was their fault that I had lost control of the forklift; there was simply no way anyone could have driven through the mess they had made and not hit the wall.

I’m not sure he totally bought the story, but what was he to do?

Thanks, guys.

******

Quote of the Day

The tongue of the poet is always the last to be corrupted. - Italian proverb

*****

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This week, physicist and Northwest Arkansas Times columnist Art Hobson will be a guest on my show.

Hobson will discuss many issues facing the United States today, including environmental, social, and political - and jazz.

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rsdrake@cox.net


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