Since I put OT in the subject, don't bitch. As a diemaker I have
trained quite a few apprentices. And one of the 'perks' is being able
to have a little fun with some of the more naive ones. Too bad it
doesn't offset the headaches that come with the territory. :-(
Sending them to recycle old blueprints in the basement (when we work in
a single story building), asking the foreman for a set of left hand
drills cuz he was tapping some stock for left handed threads, putting
tool steel in the owners fridge to 'thermally stabilize' it, etc. It
goes on and on....
Any stories from some of the more seasoned out there who have given
some of the younger folks some grief. Even though I make my living in a
different trade than this group, a lot of pranks can work almost
anywhere. I'm sure there are some good stories floating around.
Back in the days when cars had points, plugs, and condensers, we had a
hazing gag we played on new employees at the gas station where I worked.
Remember, this was in the '60's, when a gas station might have half a dozen
attendants. All the regulars would be in on the gag, which began with
everyone standing around BSing.
One of them, we'll call him the Perpetrator, would be holding a condenser,
just fiddling with it in an offhand way. (The condenser was an aluminum tube
about the size of a lipstick, with a black pigtail wire coming out one end.)
At some point, the Perpetrator would hand the Victim the condenser, and of
course the Victim would start twiddling it around, etc.
Now, the thing about a condenser is, if you hold the pigtail up to a
sparkplug of a running engine it will build up a charge of, oh, about sixty
gazillion volts. It will hold that charge if you touch the barrel, and it
will hold the charge even if you handle the pigtail. But if you touch both
at the same time, it will zap you like a stone-age Taser.
Of course it was only a matter of time before the Victim got around to
completing the circuit, at which point the crew would laugh and laugh.
Then there was the guy who'd periodically throw a lit cigarette into
gasoline to prove (correctly, as it turned out) that it wouldn't ignite. But
that's another story.
Muffler bearings was another good one, till Mitsubishi came out with a
tunable exhaust that had a movable internal baffle which pivots on guess
what??? Yup, bearings inside the muffler... Damn
Along the mechanic lines:
Back in the days, we hired a particularly dim-witted mechanic. We knew
he wouldn't last long when he arrived the first day with a grungy yellow
plastic bucket (more on this later) full of rusty tools. So much for that
fancy Snap-On tool chest he claimed to own.
His first task was to pull the head on some long forgotten 4-banger and
hand it off to the machine shop for a valve job. Things seemed to go pretty
well: manifolds, crusty head gaskets, carbs laying everywhere. So, I ignored
him and his plastic bucket until...
...A couple of days later (hey, I had my own stuff to work on), I wonder
why the head isn't back on and he's been sitting on the upturned yellow
bucket with his head in his hands. All his other jobs were "on hold".
Well, turns out Mr. Bozo was the religious type (no offense!). He was
PRAYING for God to show him where the head bolts were. Furthermore, he
INSISTED that I and the shop owner help him pray for his head bolts.
I walked over to the poor headless car and the head bolts were laying on
the fender well, right where he had put them.
He exclaimed: "Oh Glory! I knew God would show me where they were!"
I think I broke my toe when I kicked that yellow bucket, and him, outa the
shop. It occurred to me that the aforementioned grunge on the bucket must
have been boot prints from uncountable previous employers.
We had a new kid that was shown how to load a car on the rack and do a
rotation. We told him we pride ourselves on neatness and stuff so we
told him to
clean the hubcaps, do a quick brake pad inspection, air pressure check,
fun part was how we told him to be sure and install the hubcaps with the
oriented the proper (upright) direction. After lowering the car and
backing it out of
the garage, we'd point out that all the hubcaps were put on crooked.
Being the good kid
he was, he'd pull them off and put them back on straight. He never did
We used to get the rookie to "help" adjust a brake light switch by telling
when the brake lights were on and when they were off... I just about died
laughing when he stood at the back of the car saying "on" and "off" about a
thousand times before he caught on...while i was just pushing the pedal in
and out after installing the switch... hehehehe
Another tech in the shop sent the same kid to the parts store for a can of
spray on gasket remover....We all chuckled when the kid came back with a can
of it made by Permatex... It was in the top of that tech's toolbox after
that as a reminder...he had to buy it too.. We all ragged him for weeks
I haven't been in the position myself, but my wife (prior to taking her
current job as caregiver to two young girls) worked as a project engineer
for a very large construction company. The field engineers would have fun
with the rookies by sending them to the store for left-handed hammers and
laser level fluid.
I once had a few students who needed to measure a rather long pipe. I
couldn't believe it when they took my suggestion of using an inch worm.
I've also asked for metric crescent wrenches along the way. The guys in the
shop were fantastic. When the student would go in and ask for the tool,
they'd rummage around a bit, and finally come back apologizing that someone
had already borrowed it, or the inchworm had died.
One day I wandered into the shop. Those fellows could barely stand up as
they recited their anecdotes about students coming in for one thing or
Teaching chemical engineering was a lot of fun.
Not really a gag, but if you have a forklift bet someone you can pick up a
dime with it. The trick is simply lower the blade at a slight angle till it
touches the floor beyond the dime. Back up dragging the blade and the dime
will flip up onto the blade easy as pie. Please forward 15% of all winnings
I remember when I was 16 working with a plumbing outfit during the summer.
We were working on a small shopping centre that was being built. The
foreman sent me off to one of the other sites to get a roll of plastic
grappler strap. Of course I did as I was told, and was subsequently sent
from site to site looking for this non-existant product. After figuring
this out I went back red faced to the delight of many. A couple of weeks
later the same foreman sent me off to another sight for some "blonde hair".
I went to the other site had a coffee, BS'd a bit with the guys, and cruised
slowly back to work. Imagine the embarrassment when I found out that
"blonde hair" is like teflon tape for sealing pipe threads. Not to mention
the ass chewing for being gone for a hour. Never forgot that one.
I liked the approach of a metal-bashing shop in Birmingham.
Apprentices would be softened up by being sent for a box of skyhooks /
left-handed hammers / a long weight (wait) / etc. a few times. Then,
when they got wise to these tricks, they'd be sent for "a block of
"Albo grease" is, of course, a well-known brand of polishing compound
that's found in any sheetmetal or plating shop.
Then there is the one about sending the freshman from the wood shop to the
paint shop for Barber Pole paint and of course he was always sent back with
"What set of Colors" and then of course the Paint shop was missing one color
and they had to select a differant set and this could go on for hours.
So does anyone know what a drywall wrench is ??
The Navy is chock full of these gags, the best we use include:
- Mail Bouy Watch, when the ship gets underway we will task the newest
sailors and an occasional Ensign (junior officer) to man the Fo'c'sle in
battle helmets with sound powered phones, binoculars, lifejackets and the
longest, heaviest boat hook onboard to watch for the mail bouy. The OOD or
the CO of the ship would often talk to them on the phones about the
significance of the mail bouy while the rest of the ship's crew would come
by the main deck to enjoy the search.
- Down in the hole are the proud engineers that make the steam that is used
for main propulsion, these guys are called Boiler Tech's or BT. We would
often send a new guy down to the hole for a BT punch to remove that stuborn
pin... amazing how many of them came back with a bruised arm (and ego).
- Lookouts use relative bearings to report location of visual contacts, so
it is a no brainer to send guys all over the ship for relative bearing
- the mast crank to lower that mast as we approach a bridge...
Master Chief Jack
Yep. Being a former bubblehead (submariner for you landlubbers) nuke,
we had a ball w/ some of these. Send someone back to the engineroom for
a bucket of steam... Have sonar send someone to the electricians for
some new contacts... Send someone back to the engine room to feed the
shaft seals... someone sent a nub electrician new to the boat down to
the diesel room for a machinists punch during field day when all 12-13
mechanics were there - Ouch!)... later we arranged for a nub a-ganger to
be sent to Engine Room Forward (E-div field day space) for a roll of
electricians tape (looked like a mummy until they came and retrieved him).
The one that was really really bad was when the classic Mail Buoy gag
went a little too far... We had the guy all Barbie'd up in a pumpkin
suit, harness, the whole nine-yards. Everybody is just about dying
trying not to laugh, as we had him staged near the weapon shipping hatch
(normal personnel access when on the surface, which we *were not*!).
Then someone noticed Zippy was starting to crank on the opening
mechanism. Luckily there is a *lot* of backlash in that mechanism and
we dogpiled him before he got thru it all...
Ah, the good ole' days...
On towboats on the Mississippi -- and some other rivers -- the _entire_
wheelhouse is on hydraulic lifts. For _exactly_ that purpose. Depending
on the craft, it is capable of 'bobbing' in excess of 8-10 _feet_.
First time you see it, particularly with a boat going _upstream_ (slowly),
It looks _really_ funny -- it ducks its head to go under the bridge.
You know, I don't recall any of that crap in the Marines. Stuff we did was
meaner, I guess. Start with a thing called a bomb tester (big ol' maneto set-up
to test helicopter sparkplugs, so you can guess how long ago). Put your hand on
the magneto as you start the thing. The first person who walks close enough,
point your hand at the back of his neck (no hers in our shop) and watch the
spark leap about 6-10" with a nasty crack. It didn't hurt much, but people
quickly learned to stay well away from anyone who might grip the tester.
After a time, we couldn't even get the paint shop guys, who seemed to be on a
different planet (lacquer fumes?), to come "Check out this weird looking
"If you want to know what God thinks of money, just look at the people he gave
it to. " Dorothy Parker
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