Try to Kick your Foot through this Door

John Azzinaro: Started as a Welder in 1963; Retired as a Supervisor

In my world, in the machinist’s world, everybody helped everybody. It was pretty good. Yeah, we played a lot of practical jokes. Some of them not too nice, but practical jokes.

Like nailing down your lunch box to the table, stuff like that. Or they would take your lunch out and fill the box with lead so that when you picked it up – oh man!

There was one individual who was high enough on the ladder that he would drive his Volkswagen into the yard. One day a crane kind of picked it up and hung it over the river. He went to go home and he couldn’t find his Volkswagen.

What did I like least? I lost a lot of time with my family. When we were building the Seawolf submarine, it was Easter Sunday or Mother’s Day. It was 6 o’clock in the morning and we had to have a meeting. We’re sitting in this room. We have to answer to what we didn’t do or needed to do to get the ship ready.

Mr. Toner comes in, he listens for a little while and he just berates us. “None of you guys care.”

He marches out and puts his foot through the bottom of the door. Now some of that is all show. But what did we do? I know what I did.

I went back to the machine shop. Told the guy, “Give me a panel of sheet metal for the bottom of that door. Stainless steel.”

I brought it over to the room. I had the guys screw it all together. And then I put a sign on it. I said, “Mr. Toner, try to kick your foot through this one.” So even then we had a humor.