Dangerous Dan and the Hole in the Ground
This happened exactly as told.
Dangerous Dan and the Hole in the Ground
I'll tell you a tale that will keep you spellbound,
About Dangerous Dan and the Hole in the Ground.
It started out simply on a day just like this,
At a steam seminar I wanted no one to miss.
Especially Pete who was a plumber by day,
And who wanted to come, but his boss said, "No way!"
But I wanted him there for this was Pete's dream,
You see the plumber by day was a Student of Steam.
And at night he would sit 'til the first crack of dawn,
With the books and the drawings from a day long gone.
And he'd study The Steam and the work of Dead Men,
Who had come years before but who weren't there then,
To teach him the art he so wanted to know.
So when he heard of this class, well, he just had to go.
So I took his fight and I spoke to Pete's boss.
I said, "Look at this day as a gain, not a loss.
"How valuable Pete will be after that day."
And then Pete's boss relented, and he said, "Okay,
But have him back Friday, or you'll take the heat.
I've a steam job to do, and for that I need Pete.
He's the only one here who can or ever would,
Tackle the steam. The others are no good.
Sure they know hot water, leaky pipes and stopped drains,
But for them, steam's always been too much of a strain.
So I promised sincerely that I'd have Pete back there,
But what I didn't count on was Pete's glassy stare.
Like a small kid at Christmas he was at our place,
And I should have known then by the look on his face,
That the very next morning, not giving a whit,
Pete would call up his boss and just simply...quit.
"I'm striking out on my own!" he said with a scream,
"Now that I know all there is about steam."
And as he hung up the phone the boss started to gag,
Because he was left there holding the proverbial bag.
So my phone rang that morning at nine.
"I'd kill you, you bum, if I just had the time!
But I don't," said the boss, "I've a steam job to do,
And no one to do it - thanks to you. THANKS TO YOU!
YOU'RE DANGEROUS, DAN!" He said, losing control.
And this is how Dangerous Dan dug his hole.
I offered to help. Oh yes, there on the job!
"I'll bring my books, and you bring your mob.
So what if your men don't know what to do.
With my books and their tools, somehow we'll get through."
Then I hung up the phone and choked back a sob,
Because up until then...I'd never been on a job.
But what was there to it? I had this old book.
Why, I'll just go on down there and take a good look.
But when I got to the job I stared thunderstruck,
Because there on the back of this blue pickup truck,
And straining the tires down into the mud,
And hissing and bellowing and crying for blood,
Sat the meanest and heaviest shape known to man.
"What's that?" I asked.
"Why that's the boiler, Dan."
In all of my days I'd never seen such a sight!
And I blinked with my eyes to make sure they saw right.
'Twas a boiler for sure, but I was soon to find,
It was bigger than the one on page 99!
I'd flipped past that one many times with great ease,
But this beast would soon have me down on my knees.
Well, we struggled an hour with that son-of-a-gun,
And just when I thought that the battle was one,
The men with the tools asked the kid with the book,
"Where do you want it?" So I took a good look.
And then in my very most confident voice,
I said, "Over there is the logical choice."
So we struggled and grunted for ten minutes more,
'Til the beast settled heavily down onto the floor.
And we sat back exhausted, and we all took a break,
While I thought of the decisions I'd soon have to make,
On supplies and returns and the Hartford Loop too,
And I opened my book so I'd know what to do.
And I walked to the boiler. And I set my book down,
When just then my ears heard this crumbling sound!
'Twas the book that had done it, the very last straw,
And that boiler went crashing right down through the floor!
Down in the hole the three of us fell:
The boiler, and me, and my textbook as well.
It seems a washing machine piped into the ground,
Had undermined the floor and made it unsound,
And try as I might for the rest of that day,
I could find nothing in my book that would say,
What to do when a job takes an unfortunate hitch.
So I decided to "pit" that son of a bitch.
"Look here," I said in a confident voice.
"This, after all, is the logical choice!
With the water line difference of an inch or two,
The boiler belongs in a pit. It's true!"
And the men gathered around me, and they stared at my book,
And each had his turn to take a good look.
Then they all started nodded, and they laughed with delight,
For they saw by the book that the hook-up was right!
And once they'd gotten over their initial alarm,
They piped in that boiler and it worked like a charm!
And Dangerous Dan was a hero that day.
And the boss called me up 'cause he wanted to say,
That experience shows, and this really proves it,
Because he never would have thought of digging that pit!
Well, I learned me a lesson from my day in the hole.
A lesson that went to the depths of my soul.
There comes a point in your life when you put the books down,
And you learn all the rest from a hole in the ground.