When in doubt call for Man 10! 1994
You Know You’ve Been Tangoed When …
………. when you have been totally lubed up!
Now to those in my audience who don’t understand the term ‘tangoed’ – this was an advertising campaign sponsored and promoted by Tango who produced a soft fizzy orange drink in the 1990’s and they were quite funny, and for this post, it isn’t in reference to anything else, so don’t go there!
This is being ‘tangoed’ …
In 1993, l was made redundant due to a knee injury received whilst at work, that is what they said it was, however the reality is that l was then dating my soon to be wife, who happened to be the head administrator to the branch l was manager of, and they in truth fired me for so called ‘pillow talk’. For the record, l did in fact injure my right knee whilst offloading one of their arctic lorries from Glasgow when a pallet fell off the shelf and crushed my knee. So in so using pillow talk, they got themselves out of a legal bind.
At this point, l had had enough of all the red tape protocols of retail administrative management and decided to take the ‘redundancy’ as an opportunity to start a new career. I was 34, living with my fiance and unemployed, and the world was my oyster ……. or so l believed. I did have some finance behind me and so was able to linger a while whilst looking for a new career.
I was living in Peterborough [Cambridgeshire, UK] at the time and living in a residential area simply known as the ‘Ortons’, which was made up of several smaller Orton suburbs and mine was Malborne. I had been looking for a few weeks and had found nothing even remotely stimulating, but also at the same time l was just beginning my hobby with the animals which were the gerbils, rats and mice, and these were supplementing my lack of income with extra monies. Having spent quite some time in retail management l wasn’t really sure what l should be doing as a new option. I never realised back then, that in the years to follow, l would be running an exotic livestock brokerage.
However, my fiance’s parents introduced me to some opportunities. One was to sort coupons at a coupon counting house, which was awarded to me by my other half’s Mother who was a manager, which was mind numbingly boring. Twenty five foot long tables filled with thousands upon thousands of money back, special discount coupons, that you may see in newspapers and magazines – which you alongside another twenty sorters – had to sort out into orderly piles for retailers who then process them to get their money back.
At the time you also had to count special promotions gifts, and sometimes set up future discount coupon promotions – my end was not that at all, l was in the grunts section of counting. I used to listen to audio books whilst counting out coupons and when not doing that, l was counting out huge boxes of footballs that came in from Indonesia and the like. The only bit of excitement was when some of the imported footballs and other such gifts arrived at the sorting stations with other not so friendly visitors, poisonous spiders, beetles, bees, scorpions and on one occasions, a nest of snakes!
I lasted three months at this job, because l was just as said ‘utterly bored’. Next up job wise down my to be Father-in-law, and that was to work at his employers factory where he too was a manager for a company called Artex, they specialised in coving, fillers, repair kits and other such building materials, and there my job was to stack pallets. this too was mind numbingly boring, and l only lasted 2 months, before l said thank you, but no thank you and walked away.
By this time l had thoroughly pissed off both of my fiances’ parents who considered me lazy or mentally challenged. So to prove them wrong, l sat down and gave it all some thought. One of my biggest problems l was facing was my insomnia, l wasn’t sleeping at night, and if l did it was for about 90 minutes or so. I attended to my animals which feeding and watering daily took roughly 5 hours and l used to clean them once a week, which meant that l could be tied up for one of the days on the weekend for up to twelve hours.
I thought l know what to do! I shall look for work during the time when l am mostly awake, and allow my insomnia to help me out for once! So l started to look for night shift work and l found the perfect job, or so l thought! There was a position for a night shift factory worker – hours of 10pm – 6am working for an automobile assembly line! I went for the interview, passed with flying colours and was to start work the next night! There we go l thought, ‘Call me mentally challenged will you? I think not!!”
For the first two weeks l was having a thoroughly grand ol’ time, it has to be said. My role was quite simple – as the engine blocks came around on the conveyor belt, my task was to insert a handful of brightly coloured components into holes – that was my ‘whole’ job – it was incredibly boring, but l loved it! You see there are some jobs which are astoundly boring and l can’t do, but then there are jobs even more horrendous and time consuming that l derive a kind of wicked satisfaction from! I know, go figure!
I was Man 10, that was my title, when in doubt call for Man 10!
I was dancing on the line, cracking funny jokes, had become quite the character, the problem was that l was becoming too much the character, Man 10 had a problem, and by week 3 – Man 10 was considered nuts! In fact more nutty than the components l was dealing with and more nutty than a Man 10 should be. Because Man 10 started hallucinating on the assembly line!
But by Jimmidy Cricket l had become faster and most of the time my two engine blocks were completed before the other two had got around to me!! Every night my speech became slurred, l was giddy and spaced out – every night – l couldn’t quite understand it myself! But hey l was the fastest Man 10 they had ever had!
BUT, something strange was happening to me!!
No joke, l was starting to see strange things coming out of the engine blocks!! In one instance l saw Aladdin fly out of one of the holes on a magic carpet! No seriously he did! I know what l saw, it’s not my fault no one else saw it!
Other occasions, l was singing in a drunken manner but l hadn’t been drinking, another time and l saw a kaleidoscope of psychedelic colours swimming down the conveyor belt, dressed as little garden gnomes! Everytime l saw something odd, l nearly spat out my mouthful of components, l was simply astonished at what was going on and yet, no one else on my line was seeing them? Man 11, man 12, man 6 or whatever – none of them even saw the line of pink flying elephants dive bomb us!
By the end of week 3, l was hauled up to the Factory manager’s office and it was demanded of me to empty my pockets out, as l had to be on drugs! With my pockets empty, the team just looked at me and demanded to know what the bloody hell was going on??
Well at first l just stared at them all glassy eyed like, and shrugged my shoulders, and made a silly dance to express my absolute confusion at the same time! Which was not well received! One of the managers then looked at my bulging cheeks and demanded that l empty my mouth out, as l was obviously hiding the drugs there!
“Come on man spit out whatever is in your mouth – now!!” Bob shouted.
So l obliged, and cupped my hand under my mouth and started spewing out about 40 of these coloured components.
They all looked at me in horror! “What on earth are you doing? Why do you have the components in your mouth?”
Well l finally answered, once my mouth was clear and l had managed to swallow the funny taste. “To lube them up so that go into the holes easier, otherwise they are a little tricky to fit into the hole dry, l have always found these holes easier to slip into when my components are wet.” I drawled out, surprised that l sounded so drunk!
Two of the managers laughed, but the main manager demanded that the factory nurse be sought out! When she arrived, and enquired what the problem was. The main head, said “This clown has been lubricating the components in his mouth, to make them wetter and so they slip into the engine blocks easier!”
The nurse looked a tad baffled, “Ok Bob, so what’s the problem with that? Oh wait a minute, l know what’s wrong here!”
“Rory how long have you been mouthing these components for?” she asked.
Well l was as always feeling a bit giddy and light headed, maybe it was the 90 minutes sleep l was only allowing myself. “Erm, well let me see, maybe, ten days, two weeks, l don’t know something like that, why?” I slurred, my voice even heavier than normal.
“Because the components are already lubricated with an oil based substance, to allow easier entry into the engine blocks, but it’s fairly toxic if consumed! We – before now – have never had anyone place handfuls of the components into their mouth!”
“Oh right, so l am stoned then l guess? Is that what you are saying?” I asked innocently. at the same time as giggling.
“Bloody hell!” Was all Bob could mutter. “I reckon he has been poisoned, we should get him to a hospital or something!”
“No that won’t be necessary Bob. A strong cup of tea, and then sent home once he has ‘sobered up'” the nurse answered. “But you will have to find him another job on the assembly line, or you can fire him for gross misconduct?”
I left that building the next morning at 3am .. l was awarded the option of being fired for utter stupidity or walking away of my own accord. I decided the latter was probably the best move. I was no longer Man 10.
So my three week career as an automobile assembly line worker was over down to me tangoing myself with lube!
Ooops my bad!
However, that wasn’t half as bad as my next job up, but that’s for another time and when l can gather my sense of bravado to tell you all!