Pallet Jackass

This is also going in my report:
Admit it, you’ve been there. That place where you’ve had a moment of boredom of work and you’ve dealt with it by doing something outside the rules. Nothing necessarily illegal. Not necessarily dishonest conduct. But something a little bit naughty to break up the monotony of the day. Something that will cause someone in a high visibility vest and a clipboard under his arm to say “This is going in my report”.
One time in a factory there were pallet jacks for hauling large loads around the premises. Not one of those new-fangled automated ones that you could walk alongside while holding a button. I’m talking old school. One that had to be pushed manually. From time to time workers were known to make the return trip on an empty trolley if the floor had a gentle slope just like riding a scooter. More accurately, the forks making it resemble one of those three wheeled scooters. Who wouldn’t right? What harm could happen? What could possibly go wrong?
So, one day, a hot sweltering afternoon, a number of garbage bags chock full of discarded plastic had to be hauled up the driveway and placed in the hopper. The bags weren’t all that heavy but using the pallet jack made for an easy and efficient way to do the lot in one trip. Admit you’ve been there too. 12 grocery bags in the car? Take them in one go rather than multiple trips. Six bags in each hand. Circulation being cut off. The low-density polyethylene straining under the weight of the fruit and veg. It all goes with the territory. No way on earth, would you do more than one trip. It was the same with me. With some mechanical help no less, but still one trip.
As light as the bags were, the long day plus the afternoon heat plus the uphill slope of the driveway meant a bit of effort getting it all disposed of. But I got there, got rid of the trash and was about to get going. Now did I mention that the driveway had a slope? A steep slope? Oh, I did. Those of you with a sense of direction would have picked up on the fact that a steep uphill slope (about one metre in ten) plus a return trip equals a steep downhill slope. And those with an even better sense of direction would quickly realise that the downhill slope is also one metre in ten.
So, I’m standing at the top of the driveway. Looking down at the return trip as if it was a downhill ski run at the Winter Olympics. Got my three-wheeled scooter by my side and I’m thinking, “should I or shouldn’t I?”. Right now, I’m thinking the same as you. “No, don’t.” But back then, what was I thinking? Good question. The answer is obviously not much because a grip of the handle in both hands, one push with my foot and I was off.
If the slope didn’t seem all that big going uphill, that perception changed dramatically going down for real. I was going fast. How fast? I don’t know. And I’d rather not know. If I was measured, I’d be absolutely horrified at the reading. In a strange paradox, I wasn’t going as fast as my mind was racing. “What if the boss sees me?” “What if someone steps out and I can’t turn away in time?”. “What if I collect them?” “Or smash what they’re carrying?” It was too late to change my mind but all I could do was hope that it would end well. No brakes. Steering so heavy it makes semi-trailer appear to turn on a ten-cent piece. No helmet. No safety gear. At least none fit for this purpose. And now I’m heading for a giant speed bump. Not one of those smooth round ones. It was about two or three inches thick with an edge that was at ninety degrees to the ground. It was painted bright yellow which brought me a lot of relief as I was able to calculate how many milliseconds I had left as a living person.
Three…two…one…jump. Not sure what else I could do. The day started with the boss saying “there’s a lot to do so hit the ground running”. Not sure what had gotten into me but I was determined end the day the same way. The trolley went left, I went right and without any safety footwear, at least none that were fit for that purpose disembarked with a sprint that would do Usain Bolt proud. Somehow, I’d landed my landing staying remarkably upright knowing that I’d dodged a bullet with my own stupidity. I had demonstrated why we have warning labels that say things like “Shampoo. Do Not Drink”. Don’t try that at home. I was a fully qualified idiot. If there happened to be someone in a hi-vis vest and a clipboard under his arm saying “This is going in my report” I would have deserved it. Fortunately there wasn’t though. It would be worth pointing out that no people or animals were harmed in the making of the video. Actually, this was before smartphones and You Tube. I could have at least become an internet sensation, but it was all for nothing.

This is why we can’t have nice things.

Malcolm Makkinga is a full-time finance broker, part time joker and experienced octopus wrestler. He takes his work seriously but not himself. For a seriously human approach to your home loan needs call 0430 464 280, go to Facebook or send an email to malcolm.makkinga@aussie.com.au.

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