Embarassing Word Slips

While working in the sheet metal factor one summer during college, I developed a circle of friends who were also going to college or trying to amass money to pay for it.

We would ride to work together if possible, and then eat lunch together. We sat at a lunch table during break and chatted. The other  regular  union members and women sat at other tables, and we didn't mix much, but that was OK. We were young and not "lifers" yet, as far as we knew.

One day the conversation went around to motorcycles, and I admitted that at the time, I just didn't understand their appeal. I could not understand for the life of me why someone would put themselves at risk. Every news story that I read or heard about had someone hurt or maimed while riding a cycle.

I commented on this firmly to the young lady sitting to my left. She was a classmate from high school who was interested in me, but had not made a move and was waiting for me to do something. She had a bit of a wait coming, as she still lived at home. (It was nice to be desired. Someday I'd take her up on it. But not now.)

I was quite vocal in my criticism of a cycle. "Don't you ever think you'll ride one," she asked?

"Oh Elmer, the plant manager, owns one..a big one...and he's given me a ride just a mile or two out into the country, to impress me, like most of the neighborhood kids." (Elmer was the man who had hired any neighborhood kid willing  to work summers in his factory to make money for college.) "But it's not for me."

"I'll never wrap my legs around a large vibrating machine," I said boldly.

There was a shocked silence from the lunchroom, broken as the young lady said, "Well, I certainly would hope not!"

I was puzzled by her comment, not understanding. Then I rethought what I had said, and  turned beat red. Our  lunch table erupted into laughter. I and tried to ignore the comment. I hadn't meant itl, but it sure sounded like I had.  I changed the subject quickly and the break bell summoned us back to the factory  floor.

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About a month later, we were walking out of the plant when she looked up at the cooling units hanging from the ceiling. Stenciled in red block letters was something about the brand name and to keep clear.

"Oh, so that's what it says" she remarked. "I've been trying to read that across the factory floor all month."

I looked up and remarked, "Yeah, it says it on everyone one of them, even the ones closer to you!" I chuckled that she had not been observant enough to see there were others if she had turned to look.

As we walked past her supervisor on the way out, I said, "Boy, you must be really bored with your job!" And we fell silent as we walked past the dour man with his arms folded. I nodded and said "Goodnight" to acknowledge him.

The next week she was fired by her supervisor. The reason given, she refused an order. She was insistent that she had not.
All I could think of was that comment I had made within earshot of him. It was a slip of the tongue.
studfinder studfinder
56-60, M
May 20, 2012