OK Here We Go Again

I still have a blog over at blogger.com. The URL is as follows:


I mention this because it has come to my attention that WordPress is about to eliminate the more reasonably priced plans and offer ONLY a limited, free plan with ads, and a $180/year “pro” plan without ads.

Since I hate seeing ads, and I think hate enabling ads even more, I had, at one time, considered paying WordPress for one of the ad-free plans. It cost a few bucks–I can’t remember exactly. Now that it appears to be $180 per year, well, that’s just too much. Even if it makes me a “pro.”

I think for the time being, I’m going to post on the old “Blogorahmah” site at blogger.com for the nonce. I know it’s a royal PITA, not the bread. I apologize. I hope friends will go the extra inconvenient step.



The Gold Foundry

The Gold Foundry was a little operation consisting of two or three commercial metal buildings sitting near the corner and Gudgell Street and Osage Street in Independence, Missouri. I think it’s closed up now. This was in 1968–I was eighteen–when I first arrived in Independence. It was so named not because of what it produced, but because it was owned by a certain Mr. Gold and family. Other than that, there was certainly nothing gold-like about the outfit.

There were, apparently, no criteria for getting hired. I walked into the office, said I was looking for a job, and was told I could start immediately, no questions asked, except the one: Did I want to go out on the floor and start right now? It was 2:30 and I could work until 5:00. I said no, but I’d be there in the morning.

The next morning I was given a time card and it was explained to me I would get paid by the tenth of an hour whatever the card showed. They really didn’t care if I was late, or took a lunch or not. Just punch in, punch out, etc., and get paid for when I was there. How progressive, I would have thought if this happened today. In reality, this was the most oppressive, backwards, unsafe, demeaning, dirty, and otherwise unpleasant job I ever had.

I was given the task of grinding seams and weld spots off of small cast iron items that formed a huge pile by my “station,” where an air-powered drill and associated grindstones were. It was physically hard work, but I was young and dumb, etc., so whatever. There were no breaks, but at about ten in the morning, and at three in the afternoon one would find about thirty people in the men’s room, standing around smoking cigarettes. You might worry about the deleterious effects of all that second hand smoke, were this in the more enlightened eighties or so, but, seriously, it was nothing compared to the death sentence out on the floor where you breathed in smoke and metal particles and God know what-all. OSHA didn’t exist, or it would have shit little blue bb’s, but the foundry management did require a chest x-ray once a year and, concerned about your best interests, if spots showed up in your lungs they would have you start wearing a face mask. Perhaps not surprising to say, like now, no one wanted to wear a sissy mask.

I did wear goggles. At the end of each shift I would be filthy and sweaty (oh yeah, high summer in Missouri, no a/c, just a big garage-like door standing open–at least it let some of the fumes out . . . ) and when I took the goggles off, l looked like a raccoon. And then, every morning I would wake up with my hands curled into tight fists from the muscle memory of the previous days work holding an air-powered grinder in both hands as tightly as I could.

One day at work, despite the googles, I got a little sliver of metal, or something, in my eye. I went to the foreman, thinking, I guess, I would be sent to a doctor. Instead, we went into his office and he got out a fine strand of wire, made a small loop with it, and scraped the sliver off my eyeball. It worked . . . but, damn. Like I said, though: eighteen, young, dumb, etc.

OSHA, if you ever get hold of a time machine, HELP ME!

Another day–my last day, as a matter of fact–I was using a bench grinder and the piece of iron I was working on slipped out of my hands and shot up into the ceiling and one of my fingertips zinged into the spinning wheel. Holy crap that hurt. Again, I went to the foreman. I don’t remember precisely, but I think he chuckled paternally and said something like, working around there, I’d get used to stuff like that. I guess, dumb though I was, I had wised up some in the previous six months since I started there, and I replied, no, I didn’t think I would “get used to that.” I walked out. I’m sure they didn’t care.

I made it six months and, seriously, I think it was some sort of record. I’ve run into a couple people who worked there who said they only made it a couple of weeks. And I’ve tried to determine what I might have learned there that stood me in good stead throughout my life. I can’t, except for the more or less generic lesson on how to stubbornly put up with total bullshit in order to make a living. I guess that helped me quite a bit later, at the phone company.

But I digress.