The Greatest Scandal

I cannot BELIEVE we’re having a scandal. This is so good, like, you can’t even believe. Months, years I’ve been coming along to these Aluminium Appreciation Society meetings, and while I came at first out of a genuine desire to share my passion and discuss the advantages of under body boxes as compared to draw systems, I felt that slowly fade. It’s just…the organisers don’t seem to think anything should change, ever. Same meeting, every week, seemingly forever.

Until now, because oh boy, this last meeting was a cracker of a time. So we were in the middle of voting on a new policy wherein aluminium accessories should be categorised by usage instead of alphabetically. That’s about as exciting as the meetings usually get, but then Roy- he’s one of the older guys- mentions that he’s been doing some research on steel, and it’s actually more versatile than the official club statement of intention would have you believe. We all have to read it out in front of everyone when we join; it’s a bit strange, but there’s nothing TOO bad in there. Just that we have to forsake all other metals in favour of the one true giver of life and industry, aluminium, may it live forever in human history, and that all other metals are dead to us and…yeah, okay, that’s not sounding great now that I’m looking back on it.

I don’t know why Roy said it, but I think he was as bored as I was. Dissenting voices began to join in, some admonishing and others agreeing, and a few people apparently confessing that they own things like wooden step ladders and plastic tools.

Soon, it was utter chaos, and everyone stormed off in a huff, loading their aluminium toolboxes into their utes and driving off into the night. But maybe…people drove off with a few things off their chests. The place needed a shakeup. Aluminium is great, but obsessive behaviour is not.


Aluminium Makes for Great TV

aluminium toolboxesThere’s always that huge sense of melancholy whenever a reality TV show ends. People may say it’s silly, but they really do make you feel for people on those shows. They’re humans, and they feel like friends. When The Great Australian Trade-Off finished, me and the family just had to sit back in our chairs and take a moment, like how it is when you get to the end of a really good book. The journey has ended. It’s over…forever.

Unless you’re a total junkie and you start looking them up online, that is. You can find every single episode of ‘So You Think You Can Trance’ on Neat-Flicks, you know. That’s the short-lived one from 2002 where people competed to see who could make the very best trance music. Oh, and ‘The Aluminium Race’! That’s the one where teams of two are each given an aluminium toolbox with random contents, and they have to make their way through the middle of Australia to freedom. It only got one season after half of the contestants got lost in the desert and were never seen again, but it still left its mark on the genre. I particularly liked the whole aluminium theme, which was apparently a massive boost to the industry in Australia. Everyone was given a set of random tools in their toolboxes, all of them were made of aluminium, and SOME of them were totally useless…at first, anyway. We quickly found out that there were waystations along the trail where they had to do certain challenges, like changing tires and fixing under tray drawers on utes. When they got to Alice Springs, they were all given utes that were only half finished, with the idea being that they were supposed to use their acquired parts to fix them, toolboxes and all, for the great journey across the desert.

They THINK some of them were eaten by possums and dingos, but either way, they never found the bodies. But it was a great show while it lasted! Suppose the fact that the camera crews vanished as well really set the standard for the safety of these shows going forward.


The Changing Apprentice Mindset

ute draw systemsApprentices just aren’t what they used to be. Time was that they were at least keen to learn. I’ve had this one for six weeks and he still doesn’t know one end of a monkey wrench from the other. I showed him the ute toolbox central locking and he looked at it like I was some kind of wizard. Just…come on. This is standard equipment in 2017. Show a bit of initiative and look it up yourself.

And it could be worse; my guy isn’t all that bright, but at least he’s decent. My mate Harry had a guy who showed up late every day and spent half the time trying to check his phone. But if it’s not one thing it’s the other. All these workplace laws we have nowadays just make things difficult, as well. I remember when I started, back when I was only fourteen. The only rule then was ‘you screw up, you’re gone’, and it worked like a charm. It was a plumbing job, and my very first job on my very first day had me crawling through a septic pipe to get rid of a blockage. They didn’t even wait until I was out before they turned on the jet cleaner. The boss said I probably needed a good hose down anyway, which was pretty much true. And then d’you know what happened? I didn’t go crying to the ombudsman; we went to the pub afterwards and had a good laugh about it.

Sure, we might not have had toolbox central locking, and actually ute toolboxes weren’t a thing either. We just carried toolboxes by the handles and dumped them in the back of the ute. But it was a lot simpler, I can tell you that. I learned quickly by getting stuck in and observing. I didn’t go home at the end of the day and have all that knowledge fall out in my sleep.

Ahh, maybe I’m being too harsh. Everyone learns differently, and at least I got a nice guy working under me. Still, a week in and he still doesn’t get custom draw systems? Now THAT isn’t rocket science.


A busted ute canopy

service bodiesI know I’m going to sound like someone just trying to avoid the consequences of their actions, but this really wasn’t my fault. If anything, it was the fault of the guy who sold me this ute in the first place. It was in perfect working condition, he said. Almost brand new. Barely used. What a load of bull.

Yesterday, at about three o’clock in the afternoon, I was driving to an appointment from work. As you’d expect, the roads weren’t particularly busy or anything, which was a good thing, since without my knowledge, the ute canopy that had come with this car when I bought it second hand was buckling under the pressure. Sitting in the driver’s seat, I didn’t feel it at all when the thing broke, spilling its contents out the back onto the road. Thank goodness, it only caused a minor dent in the front of the car behind me – an accident like that could have killed someone.

Although I’m pretty annoyed about the whole thing – causing someone else to have an accident is never a nice feeling – I have to look at this from a practical point of view. In my line of work, everyone needs cars with functional service bodies. It’s just a part of the job. Problem is, at the moment I really can’t afford anything too fancy. I mean, there’s a reason I bought this car second hand. So I spent a couple of hours this morning scouring the internet, looking for a high quality company that can work with my ute to find a solution.

At the moment, I’ve found a couple of Melbourne based companies that look like they can handle this kind of thing, but they all deal with these amazing aluminium ute canopies. I feel like something that high quality is going to be a little out of my price range. Worth a shot though.