What did he say?

This is a post from way back. I found it on an old backup drive the other day, so in the absence of any ‘actual’ posting, here it is:

Years ago, when I lived in England, I worked for department store called Marks & Spencer. Not all dressed up nice and selling quality goods, but in a small warehouse loading trucks. And not even loading quality stock but instead, shop fittings, toilet rolls, stationary and anything else to do with the running of the stores.

This was unskilled labour, and everyone except me was Irish. On this particular day I was working with Paddy and Paddy (that wasn’t their real names but to Poms all Irish are Paddy and all Scots are Jock, interestingly the Scots call everyone Jimmie). Old Paddy had lived in England for a long time and spoke quite clearly. Young Paddy was another matter; he had only been there for a couple of weeks and was near impossible to understand.

We had to load one of those (heavy) refrigerated deli display units onto a truck. This was one big mutha and it would be a tight squeeze getting it onto the loading dock. I was at the back pushing and young Paddy was at the front pulling and guiding it through the door. All of a sudden he called out “Weet! Mairnscart!”.  Not being fluent in Gaelic, and seeing no sign of a Wheatman’s cart, I took this to be Irish for “Push harder!”. This was not the time to discuss the Irish language, so I just pushed harder. “Asset weet! May Airn Scart!” he repeated (this time a bit louder) and once again I complied. It was then that Old Paddy, who had been alerted by young Paddy’s increasing volume, came rushing over and shouted at me “He said wait! His hand is caught!”. Which, I now saw, it was.

In fact all I could see was four fingers sticking out between the fridge and the door frame. Unfortunately we were laughing so much it took us another couple of minutes before we could free his hand. (It didn’t help that while we were pulling our guts out trying to get the unit off his fingers, I yelled “Pull man! Pull like you’re pulling an Arab off your sister!”). Until now I had never before seen an old man collapse in hysterics on the ground. That’s one thing about the Irish, they not only tell a good joke; they appreciate one too.

Oh yeah, no broken fingers, just bruising and swelling.

22/10/11: I didn’t edit it, in fact I didn’t even read it!


What did he say? — 3 Comments

  1. Great story! I figured out what he was saying the second time you typed it. Loved the way you communicated the accent with your spelling. Also, I think what you said about the Scots finally clarified something for me. My grandma’s maiden name is “Galloway”, and her name is Jimmie. An uncle on that side is also named “Jimmie”.