The Flying Wrench: The mysterious case of an uncontrolled temper

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When I worked in Williston, North Dakota at a Bobcat dealership, there was one thing that stood out to me about the whole experience. His name was Sven.

Sven was just a few years older than me, but had been a mechanic at the dealership for a handful of years already. He drove a nice Chevy pickup, kept his hair trimmed up and looking sharp, and was always early to work. When I met him, he seemed quiet, but a pretty nice guy all the same.

After about a week of work, I started to see the true colors of how the business was run. There were about six of us working there, so it didn’t take long for them to warm up to me being there.

So here I am doing a routine service on a rental skid steer when I hear some grumblings from under the machine in the next bay. I recognize Sven’s voice and imagine he’s dealing with a tough bolt or stubborn oil filter. Twenty seconds pass.

Out of nowhere, Sven rapidly weaves a string of vulgar profanities together, turns up the volume, and lets them out. A wrench sails across the shop and skids to a halt against the garage door. My ears begin to burn.

I look up at the lead mechanic who was working at his desk to see what he thinks of the episode. He’s laughing so hard that he’s bouncing in his chair. I can only shake my head in disbelief.

It’d be one thing if this was a one time show, but unfortunately, it was part of the daily routine. Any impediment that got in the way of production caused an outrage from the next bay. Thankfully, I was spared from any injuries from the classic Flying 7/16″.

In light of yesterday’s post, how have your reactions (or responses) been to difficult and frustrating situations? Are you able to take a deep breath, accept the frustration as an emotion (not as the universe’s hatred toward you), and move on?

I’d love to hear your experience, and if you’ve seen (or been) Sven and what you learned!

Liked this post on the the Blow-up Mechanic? You might like this one about me getting swore at by a customer!

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4 thoughts on “The Flying Wrench: The mysterious case of an uncontrolled temper

  1. Don’t ask your uncle Ed B. about my early days under the old “Corn binder” trying to get it going for Monday morning. Sven might have had a vocabulary that exceeded mine but that’s about all.

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  2. Guess I have the luxury of leaving things that I just can’t do, for Stan to do. I have wondered how I would react when confronted with a situation that I couldn’t manage and not had Stan around. I thought back and remembered that I would call my Dad then. Now Dad cannot come to my rescue and I would have to learn more about myself than I would like to.

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  3. I’ve been in many situations like this. I used to, like Sven, throw tools and expand others’ vocabularies. I’ve learned to breathe and see what’s really happening, since I’m supposed to be a mechanic who fixes things.

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