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Most memorable technician you worked with?

RayWohlfarth Member Posts: 1,318
Many technicians have quirky personalities and they never fail to make me smile. When I was an apprentice, I was teamed with a guy who shall remain nameless. He reminded me of Popeye the Sailor. His jaw stuck out far and when he laughed,it sounded just like the cartoon character. "Ugugugug". He was strong as a bull and mumbled constantly. Whenever I completed a task, I would ask him, "How's that?" He would smile and saw "Cow's A**?" and then laugh loudly. Same response every time I asked. One day we were in an office installing a fan coil unit when a little mouse ran out from under a desk. The woman in the office screamed and squealed loudly. "Popeye" was cleaning a piece of copper with sandcloth and reached out and stepped on the mouse, killing it. He picked up the dead rodent by the tail and said, "Got it." The woman screamed again and fainted. Another crew was sent to finish the job. I would love hearing about your most memorable coworker.
Ray Wohlfarth
Boiler Lessons


  • Mike_Sheppard
    Mike_Sheppard Member Posts: 696
    The first guy I ever worked with in the trade. His name was Reggie Watson. He was on the team they made the movie "Remember The Titans" about. He was very proud of it. His name is written on a chalk board in the movie. He was an interesting fellow. Never a dull moment. He was a welder at first but shortly after I came on he stopped welding and we did nothing but clean boilers (commercial sized) every day. He didn't like getting his shirt dirty, so he would take it off before climbing into a Morrison tube to brush and vacuum. He would come out completely black and would always ask me to wash him down with a hose when we would get back to the shop. His pants would always be below his behind, and he'd go walking right into the lobby of a building with no shirt on, covered in soot, and his back side completely exposed. It led to several complains over the years... He was a great guy though and I miss him being around.

    The second guy I ever worked with, also boiler cleaner, drank a few six packs every night. Came to work smelling like Budweiser and looking like a mountain man. He would pull a playboy magazine out of the center console and call it "reading his book". But he is the best boiler cleaner I've ever met. Extremely passionate about it. He works his **** off and sweats Budweiser.
    Never stop learning.
  • Larry Weingarten
    Larry Weingarten Member Posts: 3,076
    Hi, Long ago and not far away I worked with a guy named Otello. He was the maintenance guy at a fancy girls school and I was his helper. When I was cleaning paint brushes with solvents, he'd show me his way, which was to hammer on the hard brush and then take it to a wire wheel. It was fast, but the brushes always were a bit shorter. To unstop drains in buildings, he'd pour granulated drain cleaner in a cardboard tube, remove a cap from the drain line, shove the tube in and quickly reinstall the cap. After a few seconds you begin to hear the rumble, feel the pipe get too hot to hold and then a great whoosh as something broke loose. He'd mix both acid and base drain cleaners together to clear a toilet, and try to hold it down with a plunger! This resulted in a quick trip to the hospital for burns all over his face and hands. For main lines, he'd take the steel sewer rod, tie a ball of barbed wire to one end of it and a school bus to the other end. He'd then use the bus to pull the wire through the line and we'd get wheelbarrows of crud from the pipes this way. He'd take his motorcycle to the desert and "thinking like an Indian" would go find relics nobody else could. Then he' feel bad and return the relics the next year. He could make "antique" furniture that could fool the experts. At a coffee shop, he'd pour hot coffee into his milkshake and not stir. Then with a straw, he'd slurp up the drink, moving the straw to get hot, cold, sweet and bitter in quick succession. I learned a lot from him about creative thinking. ;)

    Yours, Larry
  • GroundUp
    GroundUp Member Posts: 1,652
    Oh boy... Being union and commercial/industrial, I've worked with a lot of memorable folks in my short 11 years. One that comes to mind, name was Steve. Also tipped back the Steveweisers (his terminology) rather heavily on a daily basis. Sitting at lunch one day BSing about nothing, Steve reaches in the cooler and pulls out a can of pop like every day, cracks it open, takes a sip, and sprays it out all over the table. It was a Steveweiser. So now that the whole crew smells like beer at noon in a hospital, the decision was made not to let it go to waste and he slammed down the rest quick. Same guy had a terrible gas problem; you could always tell if he'd been in the room lately because it smelled like hard boiled eggs and stale Budweiser. He was always gracious enough to warn a guy though, "you're about to walk into a wall of $h!t". Great guy and awesome to work with, just had some bad hygiene.

    Another little fella, self proclaimed the best welder that ever lived. 5 foot nothing and 400lbs, looked like a marshmallow with legs. I could go on for days about the trash that came out of his mouth, but my favorite was one day I was cutting a sleeve through a boiler room floor to be poured full/repaired. Someone had apparently packed the void around the sleeve with newspaper and wood back in 1942, so the gas axe started a little fire. A trickle of that smoke ended up down in the steam tunnel where Woodtick was working, so he poked his head up the hole and went absolutely ballistic on me for making smoke and before I could even apologize, one of the insulators yells "WAAAHHHH" across the boiler room (the whole job hated this guy) and the tick decides to kick his a$$, so while he's squeezing his marshmallow out of the hole, his foot slips off the ladder rung and he falls back into it. And got stuck. His stubby little arms were flailing so frantically, it looked like when a junebug lands on its back and kicks around in circles. Fire department had to come hoist him out of the hole, and then the next day he got arrested for hitting that insulator with a 3" schedule 40 weld 90. Hard to forget that guy
  • SuperTech
    SuperTech Member Posts: 1,940
    Much like @GroundUp I have been at it 11 years and also got my start in the union. I've worked with some really crazy characters. One that stands out to me is a morbidly obese apprentice they gave me to work with. He claimed to be 390 pounds at the time I worked with him.

    He tried hard but the sheer mass of his body prevented him from successfully performing his job correctly. And homeowners get uneasy when such a massive man ventures into their attic.
    One time a homeowner came up the pull down stairs and yelled "do you know what you sound like walking around up there? Boom! Boom! Boom!
  • RayWohlfarth
    RayWohlfarth Member Posts: 1,318
    @Mike_Sheppard Loved that movie. Dont know if I could have washed the guy. Thanks
    @Larry Weingarten wishing I had a video of the pipe cleaning LOL
    @GroundUp At least you got a warning of the gas attack Yech!
    @SuperTech Thats a scary thought How did he fit through he opening?
    Ray Wohlfarth
    Boiler Lessons
    EBEBRATT-Ed Member Posts: 13,799
    Old timer named Foster. Quite a guy. He was about 66 & I was 20 when I started. He worked full time until 73 and part time 2-3 years more. When I started he could outwork me and ware me out.

    We could work all day and not talk. It was like we had ESP with each other. We both knew what the other was doing and thinking. When we worked together we didn't get two man days worth of work done we got at least 3.

    he didn't like reading the install manual. but he had more common sense that 20 people that you would meet.

    Old time ammonia refrigeration guy, licensed electrician, pipefitter and oil burner tech.

    learned a lot from him. If you were piping and he didn't like what you were doing he would just come over and take the wrenches out of your hands. Wouldn't say anything. So I just watched and learned

    Some left because they couldn't deal with it. The best ones stayed.

    After he passed one of the good ones told me ' he didn't just teach us the business, he taught you how to be a man"

    Very true
  • RayWohlfarth
    RayWohlfarth Member Posts: 1,318
    @EBEBRATT-Ed Wow great story
    Ray Wohlfarth
    Boiler Lessons
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 21,536
    An older man named Tom. Real old school plumber, but meticulous to a fault, and a wonderful and patient craftsman -- even with me, who at the time was green as grass. I don't think I ever saw him sober, but he was very careful with his work, and gentle and kind. Spent three years working with him, and he really tried (and sometimes succeeded) in teaching me the trade.

    He's gone now, but thanks, Tom for giving me a good start!
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • Tinman
    Tinman Member Posts: 2,806
    This will be the shortest story on this subject but it/he was definitely memorable. It was back in the early 80's. There was this tech who somehow, some way mounted a T87F thermostat upside down. I don't know how someone could not see that the word "Honeywell" was inverted??? Customer called to complain and the bosses called him back to the shop right away. One of them met him in the parking lot, smelled beer on his breath and found half of a 12 pack of Old Style had been consumed. It was 11:30am. He was fired on the spot.
    Steve Minnich
  • RayWohlfarth
    RayWohlfarth Member Posts: 1,318
    @Jamie Hall thanks for the input
    @Stephen Minnich Wow alcohol makes people do strange things. Still tho upside down?
    Ray Wohlfarth
    Boiler Lessons
  • DZoro
    DZoro Member Posts: 1,048
    That would be our Gary, in the 90's I had 7 guys working for me and one was Gary. Gary would always have a story and a beer for the guys after 5:00. You never knew what adventure Gary would be on until 5. There was always a "bang, boom, pow, crack..." in his day. He was smart as a whip, my best controls guy, older gent who loved new technology. Had the newest gadgets available, call himself the redneck guru, and it was true!
    We were working on a ethanol plant, and one day, supposedly the crane operator was late or something and Gary saved the day by operating the crane for them, lol. He was always the guy who had the naked lady let him in the house. Or the furnace that danced across the basement, or helped the trapped pregnant woman.
    There was never a dull moment or day with Gary, he always had a bigger and better story than you no matter what. :)
    RIP Gary
  • RayWohlfarth
    RayWohlfarth Member Posts: 1,318
    @DZoro Wow Ill bet he would have been ann interesting guys to know
    Ray Wohlfarth
    Boiler Lessons