Toy factory: Horseplay1

    In the past, there was a lot of horseplay. Some guys did it all the time and got away with it. I could hear women, in particular, scream infrequently, as they were frightened by somebody or the victim of some prank, most in the nature of good fun, but some bordering on the vulgar as was the man's nature and sadly, the woman's humiliation. As a kid, whenever I acted the teaser, it sometimes backfired on me and someone would get hurt- - (sometimes it was me)- - and so, lent a reluctance to further participation. So it was at work too until I became the butt of a few pranks. Accepting the notion of, "Kill or be killed," I hid away under an assembly table during break, just before a female co-worker came back to the department. I grabbed her leg as she walked by and she let loose with a wild ear-shattering scream, threw her coffee cup- -with all her coffee in it- -into the air, where it hit me on its descent, as I crawled out from under the table. I never did that again.
    Instead, I went onto tamer things, like shoulder displacement.
    'Gretchen' worked with me one summer; she was a college student, majoring in political science, a part-timer. She talked all the time. Constantly. She'd never shut-up. She was superior to everybody, knew everything, done everything, had the best of everything and on it went. On her last day of summer employment, I was staying in town with an aunt, so I had access to television. I took notes during that mornings news stories, particularly political features, then questioned her about her knowledge of current events in rapid fire succession. Had she countered me too effectively, I would've folded, but she was caught off-guard and sniffed, she had slept-in too late to catch up and blah, blah, blah.
    Toward the end of the shift, I waited for her to once again forget her purse in the work area when she took a break- -and filled it with about thirty pounds of small nuts and washers from a bulk box at our work station. Awaiting the shift-end buzzer, she casually threaded her hand and arm through the strap of her purse that strangely bulged out at the bottom, on the top of a box next to her chair, and when the buzzer sounded, she stood up abruptly to the strap's full length and was almost jerked off her feet by the anchor to which it was attached. She too screamed.
    I accused her of trying to steal nuts and washers. Hoohah!
    Assembly line work, 'back in the day', could be tedious. I didn't often work there for some reason, working instead in off-line jobs assembling essential parts. Women out-numbered the men probably two-to-one, and so there was never a shortage of drama or fun to be had at their expense. I worked with a somewhat religious woman, about my age, who really didn't know how to take me. I was unfamiliar to her. I wasn't from the area originally, so I was suspect for years until I proved myself somehow, the bar never defined for some reason. This episode confirmed the fact I shouldn't be trusted. .  .
    Factories use a great deal of cardboard. Large sheets often come in as layers between parts in great big boxes. Being as I had taken commercial art in high school, I had a knack for lettering signage. Back in Iowa, I had lettered a few truck doors, outdoor signs and the like, so when the idea for her sign came to me all I needed was a can of black spray paint and a big felt marker. 
    I was mobile on my job. It required me to carry something to another job station away from where she and I worked with three or four other people. She never left her work area, so stood there, until she went to break every two hours. Gathering my needed supplies, while on these trips back and forth: a can of (had to use blue) spray paint here, a big felt marker there, a four-foot square piece of cardboard someplace else, I waited until break then went outside to paint a huge sign.
    After she returned from her break and wasn't looking, I hurriedly taped the cardboard sign to the opposite side of her worktable where it could be seen by people approaching her, but she couldn't see it herself. The sign read:
                                  INQUIRE WITHIN
Well, everybody else got a good laugh out of it.



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