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Godwin's Lawyer tells us: "I once worked with a lad who believed 'Frankenstein' was based on a true story, and that the book was written by Shirley Bassey." Tell us about your workplace dopes.

(, Thu 3 Mar 2011, 15:34)
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My first job out of sixth form (I only completed one year) was as a labourer for my uncle’s building company. It was only meant to be short term whilst I sorted myself out, but I ended up working for him for two and a half years. One of my fondest memories of my time working with my uncle was when he employed the local ‘weirdo’ for a couple of weeks to help with a particularly big extension we were building. Keith was his name, and before I go into the ‘stupid work colleagues’ part of my post, I’ll give a bit of background as to how I knew of Keith and the type of person he was.

When my group of friends and I were in our early teens, there was an 18 year old bloke that always used to be in the local park on his own, listening to heavy metal music loudly on his Walkman. Scary to look at, we avoided him as much as we possibly could. During one summer holiday break we got talking to him, and although he was quite strange, we would hang around with him despite protests from all of our parents. This man we were meant to be avoiding was Keith.
Keith was a loner, but he looked out for us once we’d ‘made friends’; giving us money he’d stolen from his mum so that we could buy multi-packs of Chewits and numerous packets of stickers for our sticker albums. He would let us try his cigarettes, and sometimes, if he was in a good mood, even give us a can of beer.

To say Keith was unhinged would be an understatement; I’d seen him flip out and go mental on numerous occasions; be it at someone who had told him to pick up his rubbish, or at one of us for taking the piss out of him too much. Despite this, we grew to like Keith, and a lot of the time made a concerted effort to laugh with him, rather than at him. Sometimes though, it was just too hard not to, for we witnessed some truly spectacular Keith events. In no particular order, these are some of the wonderful things Keith did during the time I knew him:

- After getting fed up with his life, he tried to hang himself from a tree in the park with his old school tie. When in the tree we begged him not to do it, but he jumped anyway. The tie snapped. A month later he tried the same thing with one of his dad’s ties and the same thing happened, the tie snapped again.
- We made a small bike ramp over an old tree stump which we were riding over. Keith came over and asked to have a go. After taking an almighty run up, he hit the ramp, crashed, and broke his collar bone.
- From my mate’s kitchen window, we saw Keith coughing and spluttering outside during a hail storm and called him over. He could barely talk and it looked like he was struggling to breathe. He then started rubbing his throat frantically and after about 30 seconds said, “Ahh, that’s better”. When we asked him what had happened, he told us that he’d swallowed a hail stone the size of a golf ball and it had been stuck in his throat, so he had to melt it by heating his larynx up.
- He had a (not serious, but rather ugly) cyst removed from on his face, between the top of his nose and the corner of his eye. The cyst was about the size of a malteser. It grew back, three times.
- When the resident of one of the houses that backed onto the park told Keith off for being too loud, Keith started trying to climb over the high wooden fence to get to him. When he realised that he couldn’t get over, he picked up his own bike and threw it into the man’s garden in a fit of rage. He never got it back.
- He actually had a girlfriend for a brief period, a large girl by the name of Sarah. Quite disgustingly, he would get his todger out, hold it between his thumb and forefinger, and then waggle it at her saying, “Come and have a play”.
- He would climb onto the church roof and sing heavy metal songs to the empty graveyard, as if he was in concert. He once did this on a Sunday morning, when a service was on. Inevitably, he got told off, but Keith responded in the only way he knew how to; by running into the church and shouting ‘GOD’s NOT REAL’ over and over again.
- We built a rather impressive base in the woods, complete with roof. We went back the next day to find that Keith had demolished the whole thing in a drunken rage, and taken a poo on top of the debris.
- When he got really angry, or when trying to impress the younger kids, Keith would see how many times he could wrap a swing around the top support pole in one push, and then walk away with his hands in the air, fingers pointing skywards, nodding his head enthusiastically.

There are plenty of other anecdotes I could mention, but, I’m rambling. My uncle offered Keith some work; he wasn’t a bad lad, just a bit ‘different’ shall we say, and we needed an extra pair of hands to help with knocking up cement, moving bricks etc. My uncle had got to know Keith through various conversations in the park when he walked his dog and felt a bit sorry for him if truth be told.
Now all of the following happened in one single day to Keith at work. He’d been doing the job for a few weeks, with a few minor incidents, and he did continue to work for my uncle afterwards, but never lived this day down.

First, I was helping Keith to dig a soak away (a two metre deep x metre x metre hole for rainwater to drain into). We were shovelling the mud into a small dumpster type vehicle and then once full, driving it to the skip to empty. Keith liked driving the dumpster, but upon returning to where I was digging, he got out to walk to me, lit a cigarette, and fell straight down the hole. This made me laugh, and when I looked down at him, he just looked up at me and said, ‘ I forgot we’d dug that’.
Then, after lunch, my uncle asked Keith to cut down a small tree that was in the way of where some foundations had to go. He (scarily) gave him a chainsaw and left him to it. He returned a while later to find Keith trying to cut down the tree with a chisel and hammer, explaining that he was a bit scared of the chainsaw. My uncle asked why he hadn’t used a handsaw, to which Keith responded, ‘it’s a bit sharp’. Stifling laughter, my uncle then moved him inside to help insulate a loft. First Keith somehow managed to get wedged in the loft hatch. When he finally got into the loft, he fell through the ceiling after missing the rafters. He was told to go home for the rest of the day, and try and chill out a bit.

Keith, what a hero.
(, Fri 4 Mar 2011, 14:15, closed)
I assume he's dead by now?
(, Fri 4 Mar 2011, 14:26, closed)
I haven't seen him for years
Last sighting was in Aylesbury, Bucks, about 6 years ago I think.
(, Fri 4 Mar 2011, 14:32, closed)

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