for no particular reason today, i remembered a series of incidents from a place i used to work, incidents that occurred so frequently they became their own in-joke, and their own ritual.
back in ’78 & ’79, when i worked at Tracor on defense contracts (no, it’s not as exciting as it sounds – we made the housings for flares and chaff rounds that got bolted on to combat aircraft), we had a quality control engineer who was, to put it bluntly, crazy as a shithouse rat. he’d get in a mood, and no block, no matter how perfectly cleaned, would pass inspection on its first pass. in those unenlightened times, this was referred to as “Joe’s time of the month” or “Joe’s on the rag”.
yes, as i said, unenlightened.
problem was, Joe could be in one of those moods for weeks, at one point, months at a time.
at first, we tried to find the imaginary issues Joe failed the blocks on. rapidly realized that was futile, because they were imaginary.
so in our area, the ‘block cleaning area’, there was a large metal table where outgoing blocks were placed prior to going to QA.
so, we’d put a perfectly clean block on the table, the three of us in the department chorusing “SHIP IT!”
Joe would downcheck it. we’d put the unaccepted blocks to one side for a couple of hours, do absolutely nothing to them. wouldn’t even run them through the chemical bath again.
then we’d return them to the outgoing table, with “FUCK IT!”
they’d come back to us again as ‘unacceptable.”
off to the side they’d go for a few more hours, remaining untouched, and then back on to the outgoing table, with “TO HELL WITH IT!”
and that was, generally, when Joe would approve them, and away they’d go down the line to have the actual flares or chaff inserted, the electronic firing mechanism bolted onto one end, so on and so forth.
for some reason, i truly have no idea why, i remembered that today.
listening to: my printer chugging along