"A mosquito bit me ..."

Jack Mans, Plant Operations Editor

January 30, 2014

3 Min Read
"A mosquito bit me ..."

As I think of all of the great people I’ve worked with in my 50 years of (mostly) fun, I realize that it’s the screwballs and worse that make the biggest impressions. The first of these, and maybe the weirdest, was at my first job out of college, which was with the U.S. Steel research center outside of Pittsburgh. Actually, I was assigned to a pilot plant they had established at South Works in Chicago. 

Because it was located at South Works, the plant management installed one of their own people as facility superintendent. I’ll call him Snuffy. He had no authority over the actual project, but he was the contact with South Works and all of our interactions with them had to go through him.

Unfortunately, Snuffy hated being in his office, so he spent most of his time prowling around the plant floor. He loved to demonstrate how smart he was about everything, so whenever he saw someone doing something, he would tell them, “No, no, that’s not how to do that. Let me show you.” Invariably, he would do it wrong and something would happen. I often wish that I had kept a diary, because it would have made a great sitcom.

In any case, I think that one of best episodes was the time one of the workers had cut a half-inch piece of steel with a torch. The slag from the cut had hardened and was still holding the two pieces together, so the worker was pounding them with a hammer to break them apart. Snuffy saw him doing this, so being Snuffy, he tells him, “You’re doing that wrong. You’re hitting down on the steel. What you want to do is hit it from underneath. Give me the hammer, and I’ll show you how.” 

Of course, the word quickly gets around that Snuffy is going to something goofy, and people start drifting into the area to watch. Anyway, Snuffy takes the hammer, puts it down between his legs, and takes a mighty swing upward at the steel. Unfortunately, he leans backward as he swings, so the hammer hits the edge of the steel, bounces off and hits him in the middle of his forehead. His hard hat flies off, he staggers back against the wall and slowly slides down to a sitting position.

By then, a lump the size of an egg has risen in the middle of his forehead, and blood is running down his face and dripping off of his nose. Someone started to say, “Snuffy, let me..,” but Snuffy waves him away, puts on his hard hat, pulls it down so it covers the lump, gets up and staggers off to go to his office.

The crowning touch was when a person coming out of the office sees him staggering and with blood dripping, and said, “What happened?!!” 

“A mosquito bit me,” said Snuffy as he staggered past.

"I have a very strict gun control policy: if there’s a gun around, I want to be in control of it." 

– Clint Eastwood


About the Author(s)

Jack Mans

Plant Operations Editor

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