While attending college, my dad encouraged me get part time work in order to help with paying my college expenses. One of the various part time jobs I had was working as a welder in a factory that assembled parts in the manufacture of tractors. I worked on what is known as a spot welder.

A spot welder in a floor mounted welding device that has two opposing copper electrodes; and these electrodes are about a half inch in diameter. The distance between them is maybe an inch or so wider than the two pieces of sheet metal that is placed between then so when activated the electrodes are hydraulically pressed together with great force and a current is passed through these copper electrodes so that the metal is fused together.spot welder

My mechanical dexterity in fabricating the parts, in my assigned niche in the far corner of the assembly plant, was exceptional in quality and quantity. I could really work that machine.

There were three of us from the college, working as welders, for just pennies above minimum wage.

However, we had a shift supervisor who we doubted had neither any welding skills nor any managerial ability, as he was related to some other manager in the company and apparently somebody needed a job to keep them busy. He had no apparent managerial skills.

Then, realizing he had other qualities, he sure knew how to be and excelled at being an irritation. We soon discovered that he was paid both on the quantity of parts produced during his shift, a bonus to his salary.

…and this supervisor also received a ‘safety bonus’ for having so many days without injury in his department.

His making a lot more money that we were was ok, but please, just leave us alone and let us do our work.

Many times we would catch him peeking around the corner to see how well we were working… and it was both comical and annoying.

The supervisor was also unaware that I was missing those three fingers.

So, what I decided to do was stuff tissue into my empty glove fingers so they would have the appearance of having fingers in them.

Then, I would wait till I could see in the mirrored safety mirror that he was peeking around the corner watching  me work; and when I was moving the metal under and through the electrodes, I’d make it slam down on one of the stuffed glove fingers… just so he could see me do it.

I could see that he froze and while trying hard not to laugh, as I was quietly jumping up and down while holding my gloved hand acting like my finger(s) hurt like the dickens.

In looking back, I suspect that he was waiting to see if I was going to report the incident to the safety supervisor, but I didn’t. He never did check on me nor ever said a word to me about it and he just slipped away.

Over the next few weeks, he would occasionally slip over and peek around the corner and just like the sunshine follows the rain, I repeated my performance at least two more times. Gradually, I suspect, he just didn’t want to know and for all the remainder of my working time at this factory, he never bothered us again.