Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Gizza job boss

I've only ever been fired from one job. I was 16, and it was my first. I worked in the school - three of us (with two subs), for a couple of hours each evening, would sweep out classrooms and corridors and whatnot. During the holidays, we painted and scraped chewing gum off the floors for £2 an hour. I still remember the Friday of my first 35-hour week, walking home and tearing open and sniffing the brown envelope with £70 in crisp notes inside - the stink of being rich.

Easter, 1995. We looked forward to a couple of weeks of raking in the dough as the school holidays kicked in. The janitor, Tom, seemed to think I had a sensible head on my shoulders, so he put me in charge of the team. The fuckin eejit. I, of course, reacted as any young fool given a bit of responsibility would react: I let the power go straight to my head and became as corrupt as Charlie Haughey's writing hand.

It started small. Giving the classrooms a quick lick instead of carefully lifting all the desks and sweeping under them. Stealing biccies (Custard Creams and those dry crumbly ones with the burnt raisins in them) from the stores. Calling down to the lads who ran the tuck shop and nabbing a few bars or some crisps.

Practical jokes abounded. On normal days, there were three of us working, one person per floor, and we were more or less left to get on with it. Tom the janitor would occasionally do surprise patrols, but for the most part we had the dim after-school corridors to ourselves. Perfect for scaring the shite out of your co-workers. Sneak up the stairs, slither down the corridor, then scream like a priest in a room full of girls as poor oul Dennis emerges from the classroom, pushing his broom ahead of him.

The best bit was when we had to clear out an old part of the school. It used to be a monastery, back when Irish people were religious. One of our jobs was to dump a whole pile of skanky single-bed mattresses that had been sitting, dust-laden, since Christ pulled up his first pair of britches. However, we decided that our purposes would be better served by assembling the mattresses in a pile in the middle of an unused classroom - two stacks, six mattresses high - and then leaping from the teacher's platform for a delightful soft landing.

It was the closest thing we had to bungee jumping in Galway. Most lunchtimes would find us blaring Rage Against the Machine on the old tape deck and leaping onto the mattresses. Then someone (I don't know if it was me or one of the others) took it to the next level. To the extreme. The absolute Pepsi Max. Word.

There was a cabinet about ten feet tall at the edge of the teacher's podium, which housed a tv/video combo in its upper half. We discovered that we could climb up on top of this, and leap, leap like the wind! halfway across the room, before landing gracefully in the pile of horrible mattresses.

It was fucking brilliant. Never mind your feckin bungee jumping and kitesurfing, we were the real extreme sports pioneers. Mattress lepping.

You know what's coming. Yeah, I took it too far. Just like in a film, one day I said "Lads, watch this!" and shoved myself off the edge of the cabinet, a leap of unprecedented mightiness that left me gliding through the air just as the mental part of Bullet in the Head kicked in.

"Holy fuck, it's gonna go!" I heard someone say as I joyously hit the mattresses.

My joy turned to shit running down my leg as I arched backwards to see the enormous tv cabinet totter once, twice, and then fall towards the floor. Remember that scene in Titanic when the whole ship is up in the air and then it breaks in two and half of it comes crashing down? Well, this was worse. In a stroke of outrageous fortune, Brian and Dennis happened to be standing either side of the cabinet as it fell, so they were able to get a hold of it and prevent it turning to tinder.

They couldn't stop the tv though.

The momentum of the cabinet forced the tv to slide forward behind the cabinet doors, so as soon as Brian and Dennis halted the cabinet's fall, the telly came crashing through the doors and propelled itself towards the floor. It was saved from explosive impact at the last possible second, when the power cable snapped taut from inside the cabinet and whipped the worst out of the fall. However, one corner of the tv did hit the floor with a fair crack, hard enough to damage it beyond repair.

Know Your Enemy had started playing by the time we stuffed the tv back in. That was the end of extreme mattressing.

Surprisingly, I didn't get fired for that little incident. To this day, only the guys I worked with know that I was responsible for a certain teacher's embarrassment some months later, when the video he'd brought in for the boys that day was unplayable and he had to ad lib his class. My blog is my confession.

I got fired because the janitor's wife spotted me and my mate Paul dressing up as aliens. Aliens from space! Tom the janitor had ordered in some new mop heads so we could put some fancy new polish on the floors or some shit. Fuck. That. Paul and I carefully donned the mop heads - passable wigs, they made - and then wrapped ourselves in black bin bags, using masking tape to hold them in place. We climbed into the metal bin holder frame-things normally used to secure bin bags while we filled them up. I'm telling you, we wouldn't have looked out of place on Doctor Who.

Tom appeared from nowhere while we walked the corridors in our garb, making robotic noises just like yer man from Police Academy. In our child-like naivete (we were but children, after all), we decided running from him would be the best tactic, so we shook off the bin holders and sprinted up the stairs. The second floor was covered with desks which had been pulled out of all the classrooms while they were getting painted. Perfect cover.

Needless to say, I was caught, hauled out, and given my marching orders. Paul kept his job because he was still technically in his area - I was in another building, across a road, from where I should've been working.

I kept to the straight and narrow after that. I wasn't able for such a crazy lifestyle.


Dario Sanchez blathered this crap:

When I worked as a supervisor for the Leaving in 4th year, we didn't have anything like that. But we did have the empty boxes that the exams came in; one of our jobs was to bring them back to the basement via the kitchen.
Caterer: Boys, I'll be away for a while. Make sure no-one steals anything.
Me and JC: Okay!
We found a new box of Walkers, put it into the box, and walked down to the basement and laughed our way through each pack of free crisps!

And yes, RATM does make people do crazy shit. I see why you were playing it.

whyioughtta blathered this crap:

That must be the most fun any child has had in school, ever, anywhere. Figures it was when the place was closed for the summer!

Come to think of it, we used to get up to all kinds of nonsense at the school when it was closed. Throwing things at it, going where we weren't supposed to, and generally bullying the place. It was my first taste of sweet, sweet revenge. Bwahahaha.

Alien costumes - ROTFLOL. Boys are so goofy. My husband has a story where he and a couple of other boys, their dads were in the military and they lived on a PMQ, which is like a neighbourhood just for military families. There was this old abandoned concrete parking lot on the PMQ and one day they decided experiment with combustion...i.e. blow something up...in there. So they made a fuse from, I dunno, toiletpaper or something, leading from a large pile of spray-paint cans and out around one of the big concrete posts holding up the place. Yeah. By the end of it they had cracked the entire roof of the place and my husband has chronic lifelong tinitis (ringing in the ears).

Old Knudsen blathered this crap:

Its a sad day when you get fired for dressing up as aliens and not doing yer job, worse than the nazis they are.

Fat Sparrow blathered this crap:

Now, see, here I've been thinking, "Gee, Kav talks about how he never got his hole as a teenager, how the girls were never after him. I just can't see it. I mean, he's a handsome guy, obviously quite bright. Funny as hell, too. He must have just been too shy, too self-deprecating."

Thanks for clearing up that little puzzle for me.

I have to go lie down now. My stomach hurts from laughing so hard.

The Hangar Queen blathered this crap:

Hmmmmm..Just how much of that ancient dried monk spunk did you inhale when you hit the mattresses and it all came sporing out?

None? Ah grand so!

Kav blathered this crap:

dario: Heh. Getting one over on the man is cool.

whyioughtta: It was pretty cool being around the school when nobody else was - we got to see nooks and crannies normally off-limits to students. Hella fun.

Your husband sounds like a good laugh. I have a couple of explosion stories that I must write about some time.

old knudsen: Right you are. It was his wife that was the dirty old fascist. Tom was actually an okay guy. She was a sneaky mole.

fat sparrow: Come back and say more of that stuff! Heh, nah, I wasn't quiet, I just wasn't very confident with the ladies. I went to an all-boys school, so I had turned 17 and started university before I had the opportunity to properly interact with girls.

devin: Monk spunk, oh you fucker! I never even thought about that until now. I'll tell you what though, whatever that dust was, it aggravated my lungs something awful. I used to be wheezing like a 40-a-day grandpa after those sessions.

The Swearing Lady blathered this crap:

the janitor's wife spotted me and my mate Paul dressing up

Teenage years are a time for experimentation. You shouldn't beat yourself off about it. UP. I mean, you shouldn't beat yourself up. Shit, sorry.

Kav blathered this crap:

Oh, I just love being quoted out of context. No, really.

Flirty Something blathered this crap:

hilarious - you see you did get some mattress action as a teenager, just not the type you wanted.

Kav blathered this crap:

I like that attitude flirty, putting a positive spin on the hell of my teenage years.