Monday, March 17

St. Patrick's Day - The Irish

St. Patrick's Day is ofcourse, the biggest holiday for the Irish. It also, is the time if your frequent bars or pubs that you'll hear and see the Irish from the "Old Country". Bars are filled with prideful stories of town legends or country heros from the past or present. The Irish pubs are aunthentically entertaining on this day. The Irish are well known to overcome hardships with resiliency, and rarely wallow in pity. Their known to be hard working and headstrong to over come adversity. Not that I'm Irish or claim that no other country's people have the same the traits. The Irish seem to distinguish themselves more in this way, atleast through my experiences.
One of my first experiences was when I was about 19. I was assigned as an engineering intern at power plant. I was to maintain and track inventory of the certain equipment that needed replacing. There were about 150 pieces of equipment ranging in size and weights, 3ft to 6 ft and 10 to 30lbs each, repectively. It was a union facility with a large Irish contingent. So I went to the supervisor, O'Brien, who's been there of over 21 years, and advised when and where the 150 parts should go. The parts sat there for a week. I reminded them everyday. Several days past again, nothing moved, let alone installed. O'Brien told me, they are union and that his union crew can not touch the equipment because it is in non-union area, the loading dock. So I went to the loading dock personel. They advised they dont touch it after they unload it. My supervisior, Sullivan was out, so no help from the higher ups.
I felt no one who had more work years than I had being alive was going to take orders from me. So I decided to start taking each piece of equipment up to their assigned locations on all four floors. Mind you this is in the middle of summer and this plant with two huge generators created lots of heat! I got rid of the jacket and tie and started coming in boots, jeans and tees. I had to use extra shirts sometime because the first one was soaked by lunch time. I carried about a 15-20 parts a day with no help. Sometimes parts would fall out and I would have to repack the boxes. Sometimes it wasnt worth to take the elevators that were on the farther side of the plant, so I lugged them up the stairs instead. Up and down, all around I went. I learned the plant layout pretty well in the 2 weeks; shortcuts the control room, tight spaces between heat exchangers or super hot spots near the boiler.
I finally moved the last part. I planned to see O'Brien when I got back from lunch. I was engaged to confront O'Brien to get his crews to finally work on the install. Coming back from lunch and walking to his work area to look for him, I see his technicians, mechanics, and electricians installing my equipment. I see O'Brien, I greet him politely instead of rudely since I'm seeing the work. He starts by telling me that it is my last day. Off guard, I said to myself , OH Shiit. he must be pissed. I ask what he is talking about. He then chuckles and tells me it is my last day wearing my crappy jeans and tees; tomorrow I should get back to wearing my suit and tie. He took my full inventory and to do lists for installation and said he'll give it to his crew chiefs. He then invited me the local Irish pub his crew go to after work. So I went.
I get in and immediately hear shouts of my name. It's O'Brien, calling me and ordering me a beer. I make way through the crowd of familar faces that never said anything to me at the plant (nor helped me). He shouts out a toast (it went something like this); "Boys, this kid is the engineering intern. The kid, who on his own, moved 200 parts all over the plant in two weeks, where Riley (one of the crew chiefs) and his boys would take two months!" (laughter all around) "Remember how this kid looks today (I was dirty, stained and sweaty), I'd say he's put in an Irish day's work." (crew murmurs in agreement) "So cheers to the young man's future who can put a hard day's work like ours, but wont have to stink up his suit!" Toasts all around. I was introduced to everyone, mostly the crew from the plant. Turns out I was the only intern that ever got dirty and got rid of the suit! It was my first time drinking Guiness, let alone, black and tans! I was wasted after five pints! Yup I was under age too!
Apparently, the guys who gave me a hard time in the beginning were all clowns and characters. They could access and move anything, anywhere in the facility. O'Brien and the rest just wanted to see what I was made of; to see if I was going to be a real suit and not get my hands dirty. When it was time to work this Irish crew earned every one of their pennies! I guess I had to prove myself. They still didnt take orders from me directly, unless it was through O'Brien. I didnt mind it at all. Just as long as I didnt sweat my ass off again! I learned more than engineering during that internship.

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