Friday, July 15, 2016


I am having a problem with mice at one of our rental properties.  My brother asked, "Why don't you just go over there and take care of it, RK?"  I had nearly forgotten that in the 1980s I had earned the nickname "RK" Raypole.

While working at Rockwell, we were having a new Gemcor Automatic Riveter installed in my department.  The hole for the riveter had to be 12 feet deep because of the force of the equipment. The digging could only be done on second shift because everything had to be cleaned on third shift for the first shift's operation. Each morning, nearly everyone in the department would go to peer in the hole to see the progress. One morning, Eddie, one of my operators, came to me and said excitedly, "You're going to have to call an exterminator because there's a rat down in the hole!" Eddie's riveter was right beside the hole.

I looked in the hole and there was indeed a rat.  I said to Eddie, "I'm going to climb down in the hole and you hand me a mandrel."  When I was on the third step of the ladder Eddie handed me a mandrel which weighed about thirty-five pounds.  I tossed the mandrel toward the rat and it missed the rat about two feet.  I said, "Hand me that bottle of MEK!"  (MEK:  methyl ethel  ketone, a cleaner which is poisonous to humans if ingested).

By that time I had quite an audience including the Union Committeeman who yelled at me that it wasn't my job.  I climbed further down the ladder and began squirting the MEK into the rat's face. The rat began squirming and keeled over on its side.  I jumped on the ground, picked up the mandrel, and crushed the rat with the tool.  I yelled up at Eddie, "Do you need this mandrel for today's orders?" He said that he didn't;  I left the mandrel for the excavators to bring out of the hole.

When I climbed out of the hole, I felt quite triumphant and I received a round of applause from those assembled, except for the Committeeman, who told me that I should not have been performing that "work" and that I should have called a Union employee.   I laughed and said that we didn't have in-house exterminators and that I had just saved the Company $150 and resolved a safety issue for Eddie.  The Committeeman said, "What safety issue?"  I said, "That rat was scary;  right, Eddie?"

Eddie said, "I can't believe you did that;  I thought you were a nice lady!"

I asked, "Eddie, what are you having for lunch?"   He said, "A ham sandwich." I asked, "Do you suppose they killed the hog before they cured the ham?" I told him I grew up on a farm and I gave him a demonstration of how to kill chickens and then I told him I didn't mind killing anything except the rabbits because they cried. He gasped, "You mean you killed bunny rabbits?" I said, "Yes, and I enjoyed eating them too."

After that, my nickname was RK (you already figured out it was "Rat Killer", didn't you?)


1 comment:

Anonymous said...

There you were, saving the Company money! ML