I guess now that I am so old I should recount my memoirs. Here’s one you might like. I have a few now. As a boy of fifteen, and an apprentice to boot (literally), my tasks were very simple and age-, position- and experience-appropriate; catch from all out-feed tables and stack, sweep the shop at least once a day and then locally on location-demand, brew tea three times a day and then be the general dogsbody, whipping boy and head cook and bottle washer to a dozen men. There was no doubt about my position on the totem pole and I knew where I stood.
When Jack Collins finished work each day he insisted we put our tools away sharp. It was a given for us to spend ten minutes after sweep up to sharpen up the edge tools like chisels and planes before we went so that we were ready to go when we started in the morning at 7.30. He also insisted that the tools be put away in the toolboxes even though we owned our own tools and had responsibility for them as they were uninsured. After a while of working under Jack, he being the foreman and totally ‘A’ alpha-male shop controller, I noticed his insistence never extended to his workbench and that he always left his bench piled high, unswept, unkempt and totally disorderly when it came down to tools. So anyway, one night, tired, above my station, just a little belligerent, I asked Jack if he needed help to sort and tidy his bench. He seemed quite relaxed when he said, “No.” I went on and asked why he never put his tools away. This was tantamount to suicide for a “boy”. He said, “Well, if someone breaks in here and wants my tools I’m not packing them up for them. If they want my tools they must pick up and pack each one if they can indeed find them. The first tools to go will be the boxes packed and filled neatly with sharp tools ready to go.” “Oh!” I said. Then he said, “Sweep the shop.”
Jack was one of my guides and my mentors, but I like to keep more order than he did and so I clean and sort throughout my day no matter what I do.