In my last post I described the best prank ever pulled on me at work. Now I want to post about the best prank at work I ever pulled. The company was remodeling our break room, from top to bottom, new ceiling tiles, new lights, new flooring, new windows, and of course painting the walls. So all the tables and benches were drug out into the shop and lined up against the wall just outside the break room. All the vending machines and microwaves were set up in the shop just outside the break room door, with extension cords running back in. It was like this for several weeks.
I was on third shift at this time. So first shift would start arriving at 6:30 or so to begin their shift at 7. At the time I was operating flanging machine #1, which is opposite the break room door. All of the tables were just across the aisle from me. Most nights I stopped early enough to pick up the metal shavings I have machined off heads during the night, and to put my tools away and clean up the machine a little. So I usually quit working by 6:40 to do this. But I was having trouble with the head I was working on, and I wanted to finish it, so I worked later than usual. So at 6:50 I was still working. By that time most of first shift had arrived and were seated at the tables. I was concentrating on the head I was running, with my back to them, when a large bolt hit me in the back. So I stopped to look. Everybody at the tables was laughing. Especially John M. He said, “You don’t know who threw that, do you?” And he was right. I didn’t. So I resolved to get everybody back, that way I’d be sure to get the right one.
About 6 the next morning, before anyone from first shift arrived, I ran the overhead crane to one end of the tables. I ran the hook all the way up, hoping no one would notice the crane being there. Then I slid the control box over to my side of the aisle. And waited. The tables began filling up with first shift people. By 6:55 nearly everyone was seated. I went and got Jack S. I told him something good was going to happen, so he came with me. I wanted a witness for this.
The tables were scooted right up against the wall, to keep them out of the aisle as much as possible. Which meant they were right underneath one track of the overhead crane. If you remember, the overhead crane moves on two tracks, mounted high up the wall on either side of the aisle. Now I’ve mentioned we form a lot of carbon steel heads, and that carbon steel is dirty. So a lot of carbon steel dust is in the air, and it settles on everything. We are all the time cleaning this stuff up. But no one ever goes up to clean the overhead crane rails. It just builds up there. And most times it isn’t a problem because usually no one ever stands up against the wall directly beneath them.
So picture this. It is five minutes before the beginning of first shift. Nearly everyone is seated at the tables beneath one rail of the overhead crane. And they are eating breakfast. Many have stopped by McDonalds or Wendy’s or wherever to pick up breakfast sandwiches, or have stopped by Dunkin Donuts to bring in something sweet, or have bought something out of a vending machine and warmed it up in the microwave, or have brought in something they cooked at home. And all this food is spread out on the tables. So I take the control box and run the crane to the end of where the tables are set up, then I run it back to where I started at the other end of the tables, then I run it back and forth several times. By now everyone at the tables is watching me, having no idea what I am doing, asking if I’ve gone crazy. But I and Jack, from our vantage point across the aisle, can see a shower of carbon dust drifting down from the rails like a black snowfall. So we are both laughing our butts off. I keep running the crane back and forth until the first bits of carbon dust land. On scrambled eggs, on pancakes, on breakfast sandwiches, on doughnuts, in coffee cups. People start yelling, jumping up, trying to cover their food. But it’s too late. The carbon dust keeps coming down. Their breakfast was ruined. Of course, I and Jack took off running. John gave chase, but we were way too fast.
So that was the best prank I ever pulled at work. I had no idea which person threw the bolt that hit me in the back. I know it was only one person, most likely John M., but they all laughed at me. So I got them all back.