Unforgettable Characters Part 1
Everyone liked Fred
I worked in a fiberglass building insulation plant, in the Midwest for 24 years. One of the many characters I encountered, we will call Fred. Fred was a giant of man and some people might call him “dim”, but if you got to know him, you would quickly see he had a great deal more intelligence than he let on.
I always liked Fred. Inside he had a good heart, and he was a real pleasure to be around. In the early years, there was never a dull moment. Fred would do some pretty off the wall stuff. I remember one time, a bathroom in the warehouse had a broken toilet and no one would fix it.
Fred took the matter in hand, actually with a cherry bomb in hand. Dropping the explosive down the stool and leaving, it made a terrible noise, and even worse mess. And of course, not too long after that, the toilet was replaced.
That is not exactly how I would do things. But one thing about Fred, he got results. And whenever I worked with Fred, we always made our 80. An eighty, refers to the bonus system we had. If you did so much work, you would be paid up to 80 minutes on the hour.
Fred would always have some very creative ways to count the things that we loaded or stacked. And we never got into any trouble, so I guess he knew what he was doing. Fred also had some very colorful language, and sayings, but I really can’t print any of them
One time Fred was caught doing something that made the whole warehouse roar in laughter, but I am not sure how to put that into words. I guess you could say he was quite fond of himself and we will just leave it at that.
One thing Fred did not do, was car maintenance. He had a brand new 1973 Ford and a brand new 1977 Monte Carlo. After six months, those cars looked like they had won a demolition derby (well almost). They were beat up and smoking out the exhaust and looked very old for their age.
Fred once drove an old car with a doughnut spare for well over six months. If you have ever seen those little spare tires, you would know how cock-eyed it made his big Oldsmobile. I talked to him in the break room about it one day.
I told him, “Wouldn’t it be nice to drive a car that was sitting even?”
“Sure,” he replied, “but where am I going to get another doughnut tire?”
That is just the way Fred would see things. And as I look back, I guess that was OK.
Recently I learned of Fred’s death. It saddened me greatly as I remembered all the great times we had.
Here is to you old friend. You know who you are and what your real name is. Rest in peace!