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Saturday, July 26th 2008

9:24 PM

Good Old Days

I mentioned a while back about how tax dollars are wasted at Fermilab. (check out my website for some of the 'choicest' examples of employees wasting time and money)I was talking to some current and past employees a while ago and they started talking about the 'good old days'. So, here are some the things that went on on the 'good old days'. (I don't know exactly what goes on these days, but I do know some those 'good ole boys' are still there, and they probably didn't have a personality transplant)

First of all there were the fights. Verbal, almost coming to blows, and daily. I got there later than the techs and since most of the techs were in the area near the fridge, microwave, coffee, I would get to hear the daily fights. In one group there were just a couple of guys who intensely disliked each other and so no matter what the 'topic of the day' was, they were sure to take opposing sides, just out of principle. Mostly the topic was some event in the news, but not always. These two guys were almost always at the point of shouting, yelling and posturing by the time I got there. Often the supervisor had to step in to prevent them from coming to blows.

After that supervisor left, the 'new' supervisor was jusr as, if not more, hot headed as those two. Thus guy always got into it with not only his guys but often with two of the engineers. I remember once hearing a lot of shouting and yelliing and then seeing what again, I thought was about to become a fist fight betweeb the tech and engineer. So these kinds of fights were nearly a daily event. And no one ever said anything to any of them. I know a couple of them are still there and still doing the same thing. When we were talking the guys told me about a couple times when someone did have to step in a break up one of these incidents.

I also witnesses a couple of throwng incidents. One supervisor got angry and started throwing nuts and bolts at the techs. These were not small house hold nuts or bolts.

Another supervisor was 'helping' to stack a wall of bricks with a bunch of techs. They had formed a line and were passing the bricks along the line from the pile to the wall. The supervisor thought the pace was too slow, so he started to throw the bricks at the guy downline from him..

Then there was the time a couple guys took a motorcycle into one of the accelerators and they were riding it around down there. This is a radioactive aream but hey what's a little fun.

A couple of the 'boys' also took one of the government trucks out to have some fun at lunch time (hey at least it was at lunch). They were 'off roading' and got the truck stuck and had to be towed out.

Then there's the guys who did not secure loads in the bed of the trucks. More than once a quick stop sent the cargo thru the rear window of the truck.

Let's not forget the guys who were at work and under the influence of drugs or alcohol. Everyone knew who was and it was pretty much daily.

And then there were the safety issues. Supervisors like the brick thrower, who disregard safety. They were never disciplined because they kept the 'machine' running - all important! One guy carelessly had stacked dozens of plates weighing hundreds of pounds each. Luckily everyone was able to jump out of the way when they started to fall like dominoes. It sounded like a sonic boom (if you remember those!). Then there was the physicist who insisted a tech do an electrical repair, because they guy who know what to do was gone and he was in a hurry. This tech told him he didn't know how to do this properly including grounding, but they physicist threatened to fire this guy. So he did the work and got electrocuted. He survived but had severe burns. One engineer did not know how to do load calculations (more on the engineers later) so he just 'guestimated' and then added about 100% safety factor. this time he made an error. They were loading a several thousand pound magnet onto a flat bed trailer. The lifting device broke and the magnet fell onto the trailer - and destroyed it.

Oh, for the good old days.....
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