I was , once again , reading a fellow blogger’s post, this one about peace signs . She’s an artist , too , among other talents , and was creating paper peace signs . It brought up a memory of mine that I must write about now or it will vanish back into the ether for years to come . I am thankful for the inspiration .
I worked at a moving company warehouse when I was in high school , weekends and summers . A friend of mine said today that I was a ” gopher ” and I guess that I was . Any jobs they had around the warehouse I did . As well as moving furniture I put poison on weeds , cleaned up , washed the boss’s car , and painted .
One Friday I was painting the side of the shed . The shed was two-stories high and made of corrugated aluminum or steel . I was given silver paint and I went to work . I spent much of the day up high on a ladder slapping silver paint over the old grayed paint .
I didn’t have quite enough paint to finish . I told Roy , the warehouseman , and he promised to have another gallon by Monday . Fine .
Now , I could have left a corner of the shed unpainted . Sure . But , it was the sixties , after all , and I was a little more creative . I left a giant peace sign unpainted . I painted gleaming new silver paint around what became my two story dull paint peace sign . No big deal , I thought .
The side of the shed faced a vacant lot , beyond which was a Volkswagon dealership . When I climbed back up the ladder and got to work on Monday morning , a salesman from the dealership walked across the vacant lot to chew me out .
” You believe in that ? ” he demanded , pointing at the peace sign . German accent . Angry . Loud .
I don’t remember now his words beyond that first accusatory question . He was calling me a Communist , I think , and a dirty hippie , and other choice idiocies , all delivered in a thick German accent . I worried that he might shake me off the ladder . Otherwise , I let the words flutter off into the uncaring air . I don’t remember whether or not he threatened to tell my bosses . Seems now like the thing he would have wanted to do . If he ratted me out to Roy I would be told by Roy , confidentially and kindly , about it later . Roy would have been concerned and sympathetic with the enraged man . If he had gone into the offices and complained , then Roy would be told to reprimand me . None of the suits would have come back to tell me anything directly . But , I don’t remember any fall out from the incident . Maybe it had been enough for the mad salesman to curse at me and to call me names and to verbally demonstrate that he was a true patriot .
” I had to look at that all weekend ! ” he had yelled . Poor baby ! Poor warmongering Love It or Leave It , pro establishment , reactionary Volkswagon salesman , tortured and humiliated by a giant peace sign across a vacant lot from his place of employment . All weekend !
I still laugh a little when I remember his absurdly seething tirade so long ago . I hadn’t been provoked by him . I simply ignored him and finished painting the side of the shed . I was happy that he didn’t try to knock me off the ladder . He cursed and tossed insults and vented for ten or fifteen minutes , got no angry response from me to fuel more rage , and then he walked back across the lot to , I assume , sell more cars .