Overtime Harry

In my days of being a Union Traveler, I have met quite a variety of people.  I’ll have to tell you about “Overtime Harry.”  We have probably all had the opportunity to work overtime.  I think the best I’ve ever seen at it was Overtime Harry.

Overtime Harry was a plumber.  He was quite savvy at manipulating the powers that be on government jobs.  When we completed a job for the government, we were required to run a test on it.  The test would run continuously for 48 hours and all of the trades on the job had to be there.  If you did your portion of the work correctly there would be nothing to do during the test but wait it out.

Harry was very good at being “short” one part to complete the job just prior to the test start.  The test would be delayed while he acquired the part and installed it.  He and his crew would sit down and wait on the job for the part, sometimes it had to be flown in, and collect their wages for waiting for a missing part.  Then the crew would be there for the 48 hour test.  The requirement was that whoever was on the job at the start of the test had to be there at the end of the test.  Since it was difficult for one man to stay awake the whole time, there could be a couple of guys per trade waiting out the test.  The plumbers had their whole crew; thus the reputation of “Overtime Harry.”

Harry was making pretty good money.  Harry had been mailing his checks (very large checks) back to his wife and he was anxious to fly home and see her.  Finally one weekend the whole crew had the weekend off and Harry was going to go home to see his wife.

Come Monday morning Harry was there nursing a hangover, trying to borrow money from fellow workers so he would have something to eat during that week.  We asked him; “Did your wife take all your money and leave you nothing to live on?”

“I never saw my wife.  I didn’t make it home.”

We asked what happened.  It seems Harry stopped at a bar to cash his check before buying a ticket for home.  Some of his working buddies were in the bar and he started buying drinks for everyone.  (He had an unusually large pay check that week.)

About 3 O’clock in the morning Harry passed out.  All his buddies laid him out in an alley and took his money and left.

I have noticed that the more money some people make, the more dishonest they become.

I didn’t see much of Overtime Harry after that, but I didn’t spend much time worrying about him either.