Working men generally tend to get along by using friendly razzing.  I remember one shop where we had a good variety of ethnic groups.  On boy was of Japanese descent.  Another boy was Italian.  Another one was French and one boy was Irish.  One guy had an easy name to read, “Brown.”  However I think he was just a run of the mill Caucasian with nothing strikingly different about his ethnicity.  Myself, I am Swiss/German, but I was mostly razzed about my farm boy background.

One day the Irish guy made a joke about Italians that would be considered politically incorrect today.  Everyone laughed, including the Italian guy.

The Japanese guy was more or less the foreman.  One time he had written out instructions for a job and sent the Irishman to do it.  The Irishman came back that night and told the foreman he couldn’t read his handwriting.  The Japanese boy took the slip and said; “Well it says…”

He hesitated, walked over to where the light was better and said; “It says….”  He paused and handed the slip back to the Irishman.  He said;”What’s the matter?  Can’t you read Japanese?”

In that shop the Boss had a good sense of humor also.  I remember when he was standing on the top of a five foot ladder trying to reach some light fixtures on a shelf.  His wife, who worked in the office, came back to the warehouse and saw him standing on the top step of the ladder.  Knowing it wasn’t a good idea, she asked if he wanted her to get him a different ladder.  He looked down at the ladder and said; “No thank you.  This one is almost too short as it is.”

I used to get a lot of razzing about being so skinny.  One time a bunch of us were outside eating our lunch on a hot sunny day.  It never took us a full ½ hour to eat our lunch so there were usually a few minutes to relax.

I would usually lay in the shade of a telephone pole.  The trouble with that was that as the sun moved so did the shade.  There was a few times my rolling around trying to stay in the shade of a telephone pole prompted reminders about how skinny I was.

At a different employer we would hire some summer help.  One was a young boy who was in High School in the fall, winter and spring.  Another was a High School shop teacher.  By coincidence they knew each other from school and the two would razz each other constantly over the summer.

One time the Shop Teacher was on a ladder working on something above his head.  The student, looking for a ladder he could use, came over to him and asked: “How long are you going to need that ladder?”

The shop teacher very deliberately looked down at the ladder and counted the rungs; “One, … Two, … Three” out loud.  Then he looked at the student and said; “About 3 feet.”