Awful Business

Do they get overtime for this?
They do some awful long hours.
Does a manager assess their performance?
Their promotion based on objective metrics?
Like teeth drilled?
Like confessions extracted?

Or do they do it just for the love of the job?


Did someone actually teach them how to do it?
Do they have schools?
Operational manuals?
They know an awful lot.
Did they have to take theory tests?
Do hands-on practicals?
Did they serve in apprenticeship?
Like hold the tongs for a week?
Like swab the electrode spots for a month?
All that before they could throw the switch on the box?
And before they got to pull their first fingernail?

Or are they just naturals born into it?


Do they attend conferences?
They have an awful lot in common.
Do they exchange notes?
Like the most efficient configuration for a Palestine Hanger?
Like the most painful route for a Coca-Cola bottle?
Do they attend refresher courses?
To bring up-to-date on the latest techniques with sandbags?
So they don’t leave external marks?

Or do they learn on the job?


Do they pencil in meetings?
Do lunch?
Touch base?
They are awfully busy.
Do they fill in progress reports?
Like the ratio of walkers versus stretchered?
Like the month end body count summaries?
Do they have budgets?
For electricity?
For cocktail sticks?

Or are they hands-on types?


Do they have wives?
They have an awful lot of nerve.
Do they have quality time with them?
Like dinner together?
Like a day out at the zoo?

Or do they beat their wives, too?
And stub out their fags on the back of their kids’ hands?


Only they know the answer.
And bugger me if I’m going to go through all that again
Just to fill in the blanks.
As if I’d get to ask a single question,
once in the chair again.
Where even the most innocent “Please”
gets snuffed out of your lips
awful quick.

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