Tradies are like layman incarnations of a spiritual leaders or advisers with their worldly outlook on life and people. Their stories are usually riddled with funny anecdotes, street-wise advice and, in Australia, a hint of ocker. And for us Aussies, I don’t think we’d have any other way. Even though we won’t freely admit it, we all love a bit of ocker.
Recently I came across a tradie, a removalist to be precise, who, after a while of minding his P’s and Q’s, started to relax around us and tell us the stories of clients he had in the past. As a removalist, there is a good chance you will see more than most people will ever see, some good, some bad but mostly cringeworthy.
One job had him clearing out the contents of “this poofter in Heidelberg” who was moving to the other side of town. As he and his assistant were carefully packing away sofas, tables and beds into his truck, they flipped over a small coffee table that had a large tube of lube stuck to the underside of the table. The two freaked and dropped the table immediately. After bickering over who should remove the lube, they approached the owner who then had to pack the coffee table themselves into the truck, after removing the suspect lubricant. The removalist thought about asking for rubber gloves, but then quipped that “they’d probably get the wrong idea”. Indeed. After all, fisting is a global gay pastime. Isn’t it?
But he had no qualms asking for rubber gloves when helping Melbourne’s infamous Maxine’s move to its current premises. Maxine’s, a well known bordello, had employed his services and all was going well until the owner asked him to move a giant throne which sat in the bordello. Upon closer inspection, he noticed the throne was covered in very questionable stains. Dry retching, he approached the owner and said “there was no way I’d be moving that unless he provided gloves”. Suffice to say, he now limits what he moves.
Another client, a somewhat regular, is a prostitute (or more specifically a madam) who runs an illegal brothel which tends to move every few months. An expensive task for those who do it just once or twice in their lifetime, but clearly no problem for this client. The removalist told us that she would call him every few months as “the cops were sniffing around or had busted her” and had him move all her furniture to the next venue. Included in her possessions was a giant box of dildoes in all shapes and sizes for her girls and clients. She is now in a mansion in the suburb of Doncaster, and the removalist is just waiting for her call. To me it sounds like a Benny Hill sketch waiting to happen… Que the theme tune.
His stories went on and on from clients who demanded he cut their furniture to fit through doorways to loading up four large trucks for young couples to the inevitable stripper story.
Their stories entertain, amuse and surprise not only us, but themselves and despite the generalisation by society that a tradies job is dull, I must say that after hearing just a smidgen of stories from a removalist, his is the job that is the most exciting but I’m sure other tradies have stories just as riveting.
I’m off to trawl through the Yellow Pages to pick out a plumber, a chippie and a landscaper just to hear their stories. Oh and if they’re cute and ripped then that’s a bonus. I just won’t tell them I’m one of those “poofters from Heidelberg”. Unless he tears his top off…