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Notes from a United Auto Worker, Vol. 2 photo

The time I got robbed at my house I was waiting on a friend of a friend, somebody I’d never met before, to drop off, say, 100 Percocet. I was sitting at home playing with my two-year old son in the living room trying to keep my mind off of being dopesick, when I saw the old shitty conversion van pull up in front of my house. I walked out to the street and said “what’s up” to the guy in the van. I pulled out $400 and handed it to him and soon as I gave him the $$$ he raised up, didn’t point it at me, but held up the pistol to where I could see it and then floored the engine and sped off as fast as he could. I didn’t know him. I didn’t even have his phone #. I knew his cousin who sent him over and I barely even knew the cousin. I couldn’t get in my car and give chase because my two-year old child was in the living room. I called the cousin as soon as it happened but he didn’t answer the phone. I left him an angry message, but he never called me back. Obviously, he was in on it too. I probably found my girlfriend’s prescription hidden somewhere in her separate bedroom and stole some pills from her. I didn’t know where the guy who robbed me lived but I knew the apartment building that his cousin lived in, not the exact apartment, just the complex. Later that night I drove over there, drove circles around looking for him or any sign telling me exactly what apartment was his. But I was not able to find him. Eventually, I just gave up on trying to get my $$$ back and never talked to or saw him again. Years later, the cousin robbed my friend, Twig, stole his brand new, $2,000 Weber barbeque grill. Twig had some friends up at his parents’ lake house, and he got blackout drunk and passed out. When he woke up the next day, the guy was gone and so was his brand-new grill. Twig drove to the guy’s house and saw his grill in the driveway. He called the guy and cussed him out and said he’s calling the cops on him. He then proceeded to attempt putting the grill back in his truck, but the man, Heavy, pulled up in front of the house right in the middle of Twig trying to load it. A fight ensued, but Heavy had one or two friends with him and they kicked the shit out of Twig. Twig got in his car and sped off and called the police. I’m not sure whatever happened with criminal charges, but I know Twig got the grill back and then he also got another brand-new grill because the original grill was damaged from the theft and under warranty. So, Twig ended up getting two grills out of the deal.


Then there was the time I went to the ER because I couldn’t shit. I was so constipated from eating opiate pills that I hadn’t shit for four days. At this point I was eating 25-35 Norcos a day.  I couldn’t shit but I constantly felt like I had to. It was never ending. I would sit on the toilet for 20, 30 minutes, ten times a day, but nothing whatsoever would come out of my ass. I tried everything. Laxatives, prune juice, apple juice, eating high fiber cereal. But nothing worked. And I refused to quit eating the pills because I liked getting high and didn’t want to get sick. By the time the fourth day rolled around, I couldn’t even get off the couch. That’s how fucked up my stomach and intestines felt. Finally, I told my girlfriend I needed her to drive me to the hospital. She made light of the whole situation, and told me I’m overreacting, I don’t need to go to the hospital. But I didn’t give a shit what she said. I knew I had to do something right then. I felt like I was going to explode. So, we go to the hospital and I explained to the nurse my symptoms and she starts questioning me about why I think this is happening. I nonchalantly tell her that I had been eating pain pills and right then and there she stopped me dead in my tracks and told me with an attitude, “That’s it. That’s the problem. Ok, wait here for another hospital employee.” She told me that like I was some sort of piece of shit who didn’t deserve any kind of sympathy whatsoever. So, I waited about 15-20 minutes, and then a big giant dude walks in the room and says to me, “Come on, are you ready? Take your pants off.” I hesitated and felt like maybe my girlfriend was right after all and I didn’t need to be at the hospital. I said, “Maybe I don’t need to do this,” but the guy said, “Don’t worry. It don’t hurt that bad. It’ll be over in a minute.” So I took my pants off and he explains to me, “You’re gonna feel a pinch” and then he says, “Try to wait as long as you can before you tell me to pull it out, we want to get as much of the fluid from the IV bag in you.” So, I roll over and he sticks the thin tube up my asshole and soon as he gets up far enough, he releases the valve, opens the valve that allows the fluid to start flowing up my rectum. I felt like instantly I needed to pull it out and run to the bathroom. And I said “Pull it out! Pull it out!” but he told me, “Just wait. Just wait. Give it a few second longer. Let more of it get in there.” After a few more seconds, which felt like an eternity, I said, “I have to go now!”  and he immediately pulled the tube out of my ass, and I jumped off of the bed and ran to the bathroom as fast as I could which was connected to the room. I took the biggest shit I’ve ever taken in my life. When I first hit the toilet, one giant solid turd came out of my ass. And then, as soon as that initial turd popped out, it was straight diarrhea. And a lot came out. The toilet was FULL, FULL. Before I went into the bathroom, they had instructed me to not flush the toilet so they could inspect what came out of me. I remember after I was done looking in the toilet myself, seeing all the shit and blood. I remember thinking that whoever’s job it is to inspect my shit has the worst job I could ever possibly imagine and hopefully gets paid a lot of $$$ for it. After that experience I took preemptive precautions to never get constipated like that again. I ate high fiber cereal every day. And if there was a hint of constipation, I would start taking stool softeners.


How my dad decided to be a millwright instead of another trade was one day while he was working on the assembly line at Ford, in 1975, he saw two men walk up to a coolant pit at the beginning of the shift, and both pull up a chair, and sit there staring into the pit. After about three hours, they both stood up and walked away. About an hour and a half later, they came back and sat back in their chairs and continued to stare into the pit until the end of the shift. At the end of the shift, they both stood up, and were getting ready to walk away, when my dad ran up to them and stopped them. “What do you guys do here?” he asked. They replied, “We’re millwrights.” My dad told me with a chuckle that he decided right then that he wanted to be a millwright. My older brother and I are both millwrights too. Sometimes we sit in chairs for whole shifts at a time. Sometimes we actually do some physical labor.


The worst accident I knew about since I’ve been working at Ford was this one guy, about fifteen years ago, a millwright, was killed, literally crushed like a pancake by a machine. Two millwrights were unloading a truck of machines, when one of the guys, the one on the forklift, picked up one of the machines off of the truck, and when he lifted that, another machine next to it had shifted and fell on his partner, and literally smashed him, crushed him, flattened him. He was dead instantly.

Another guy I know was killed. An electrician. He was working inside of a robot cell and in a hurry because it was almost the end of his shift, so he didn’t shut the power off and lock it out like he was supposed to. He went into the robot cell to check an electrical switch. He leaned over to look at the switch, and when he did that, he tripped a sensor which caused the robot to cycle and it swung at him and crushed his head like a melon. He was dead instantly.


I remember when I was a kid back in the mid 80s, my dad got injured at work. He was trying to hitch a ride on the back of his partner’s forklift but his partner didn’t know that my dad had jumped up on the back of it. His partner started to go in reverse before my dad could get all of the way up on there. He still had one leg hanging off. As his partner was backing up, he backed into a concrete pole and smashed my dad’s leg between the forklift and the pole, which broke my dad’s leg in six different spots and ripped three of his toes off. They ended up reattaching all the toes but a few weeks later, the tip of one of the toes turned black. So, he had to go back in and have them cut the top of that toe off. This was on his lunch break. Well, one thing you should know about my dad is, he was a massive functioning alcoholic and he started drinking every day on his “lunch break.” Him and his shop buddies were always at the bar on their lunch breaks. Started at 9am and lasted until noon. So, I’m sure by the time he made it to his doctor appointment, he was already ¾ way in the bag. They had told him that they needed to knock him out, put him fully under, minor surgery, but my dad insisted he didn’t have time for all that and to just give him a shot to numb the toe and cut it right then and there. So, the doctor did just that, and then my dad returned to work that day for the rest of his shift. He was honestly one of the hardest men I’ve ever known in my life. Clem Stanek was one of the toughest sons of bitches I’ve ever met. The man did not feel pain. Or the alcohol numbed the pain.


I remember another story my older brother told me about this one time my dad was at a bar, sitting up at the bar on a stool, and a guy was talking shit to him. Well, I guess my dad just brushed him off, told him to get the fuck away from him, and turned his attention back to his drink. But a few minutes later, that guy picked up a bar stool and smashed it over my dad’s face. Obviously, my dad fell off his stool and hit the ground. Then my dad stood up, looked the guy straight in his eyes, while blood gushed out of my dad’s head and face, and the guy is still holding the barstool, and said to him, “You should have killed me,” then preceded to kick the living shit out of the man. And probably put him in the hospital.


At the time I was pretty young, so I wasn’t there, but my older brother told me that my dad still went deer hunting that year with a full leg cast on his leg, toes sticking out the bottom and all. He hiked two plus miles out in the woods to his deer blind in a foot of snow. On the way to his blind, he had to cross a creek over a beaver dam and he slipped and fell into the creek, soaking his cast in the process, and by the time the day was over, probably a quarter of his cast was torn off and strewn throughout the woods. He was just tough as nails. He didn’t feel fuckin pain. And his name was Clement Stanek.