"Electricians, draw your swords and sheathe them not." *
-- Saturninus, Titus Andronicus
Up until the 1860s Samurai were permitted to kill anyone who touched their sword; even accidentally. It was a matter of sacred honour, you understand. On the spot, off with the head; swish, chop, plop. A nonchalant brandish to flick off the blood, that measured resheathing of the blade, a solemn bow and a final piety; "Stitch THAT, Touchy-San!" Justice done.
To be frank, it's a concept with merit.
You see, they may well be worth a million dollars, but Samurai Swords are also tools of the trade. More than unusually ornate ones, not quite your grubby spanner, but tools of the trade nevertheless.
In the same vein, then, you can imagine that tradesmen are a fractious bunch when it comes to their tools. When they aren't blaming them, that is. My old workmate Phil, for instance, was particularly sensitive. Grab something of his and Phil would thump you without warning; "Ask, c**t!" Whack.
It's an attitude I endorse. Touch my pliers and I should, at the very least, be allowed to gouge your palm with a screwdriver. Or slash up your pants with a Stanley knife. Tamperers and thieves need to be taught a lesson, and it never hurts to set the odd gory example.
There are plenty of theives at the Ford plant in Campbellfield. Years back I was working there, up on a crane. Glancing down I noticed a bloke loitering around our gear. The word furtive might have been invented to describe his dodgy demeanour. Sure enough, right when he thought the coast was clear he reached out to grab my crimper. "Oi, c**t!" I yelled from above. Sprung red-handed, he jumped like a cartoon cat and scuttled off with his head down; never once looking up.
My apprentice, Jason, laughed and yelled after him, "Suck shit! You shat, wog c**t!" Jason is Italian and could get away with that. He was always saying things like "Who are you calling a wog, wog?" The irony never worried him. Anyhoo, he advised me, "You should have dropped your toolbox on his head. Said it was an accident." I agreed it was a golden opportunity missed, but wasn't really up for the paperwork. Later on we saw the guy in the canteen. He saw us, too, and immediately buried himself in the paper. But Jason walked right up to him and loudly announced "Your pants are still brown, you thieving c**t," and spat chocolate milk at him. It was hardly a samurai sword up the throat, but it'll do at a pinch.
I wonder what's happened to Jason.