Wednesday, January 14, 2009

In The Work Van, No One Can Hear You Scream...

Another day...another 84 cents after tax per hour. As I positioned myself uncomfortably in the passenger seat of our work vehicle, ready to hit the road, Muggtagg boarded on the driver's side. Lunch pack on the centre console, ignition to "start", gearshift to "drive"...let the verbal onslaught begin...

Did I ever tell you about my cousin? 1958, winter was coming, and he was desperately looking for a cheaper source of firewood. Didn't want to be chopping no trees down himself. Too much hard work, that. Found out you could buy old shipping crates from a company down the port. All timber, perfect for the fire. Don't remember how much he said they cost. Doesn't matter either. Well, he bought a crate, and had it delivered to his farm. Big crate, it was, about eight foot across, eight foot tall and twenty feet long. Oak, I think, hang on, no, maybe it was pine, Oregon cedar, that's it, doesn't matter. The driver put it out in the yard, and he left it there for a couple of days, waiting for the weekend.
Well, Saturday comes, and out he goes to start dismantling the crate. Gets the crow bar, starts on a loose-looking board about three quarters of the way down the crate. The nail holding the end down gives a little, then the timber cracks, leaving a small hole, about two inches square. Right there, in the hole, is a piece of shiny, black metal. A little bit curved, you know? He didn't know what it was, so he started prying a bit more timber off. Once he had four or five boards off he could get his head in through the hole to have a look at what was in the crate. You'll never believe what it was...a bloody Model-T Ford. Bugger me if he hadn't gone and got the luckiest crate the shipping company was selling. They were selling a few of them too, 'cause he bought a few more later on, but obviously whoever was checking inventory or something like that didn't get around to this one crate.
He pulled the rest of the crate apart double-time, and rolled the car off the bottom planks. Perfect condition, absolutely mint. Still had factory papers stuck to the driver's seat. Bloody thing had sat in that crate since the '20s, just waiting for some lucky bastard to find it.
Well, to cut a long story short, he got in touch with the local Ford bloke, who gave him a direct number to the Ford head office in Detroit in America. He had to stay up 'til 2am to get through, would you believe it. They sent a man out to have a look at it, and ended up buying it off him for 5 million dollars. Once a year, he gets free flights to the Detroit to see the car at the company museum. There you go, eh?

...are we there yet...I wonder if I can hammer this pencil through my ear drum...

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