Milton Schpilcht was dead. Everyone knew it but nobody liked to think about it. It was a really bad accident that nobody deserved, not even him. But now he was gone. Finished. Kaput. He should have known better than to have had the foolish accident he did. After all, he was the safest foreman around and was always letting everyone know it. And now… No one could believe it though. Even some of those who had seen it with their own eyes refused to believe it. He was one of the most safety-minded guys around and he was the biggest jerk that anyone had ever met.
A typical conversation often went, “That is a violation of the regulations of the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.”
“But Milt, it’s just…”
“That’s MISTER SHPILK, to you.” That’s how he said it, not pronouncing the “t” at the end and saying the “sch” as a “sh” sound.
“But MISTER SHPILK.”
“There are no ‘buts’ about it. Regulations are regulations. This company has the best safety record of any in the country and probably the world because we stick to the regulations at all times! Now, get to work and stop acting like an idiot!” That’s the kind of guy he was. He never actually called a person an idiot or stupid or anything, just said their actions or behavior were like someone who was stupid.
And that was how he was toward everyone and about everything. Even the bosses who hired him gave him wide berth and only spoke to him when they absolutely had to.
There was not one person at the factory or even anywhere in town who liked him, but they all respected him. When it came to roofing materials he knew everything. It was impossible for a guy like him to have an accident like that. Completely unbelievable, except to the men that fished him out of the machinery. They believed. It was the worst case of shingles they ever saw. How could it happen, though?
Milton Spilcht had worked in the roofing industry all his life. It was a shame about his personality, but nobody cared much. The investigation was done, of course, but there was no evidence of anything and if anybody knew anything, no one came forward.
When the funeral came it was sad. Not that anybody was going to miss him, which was probably the saddest thing about it. Many of us have heard the expression, “There wasn’t a dry eye in the house,” meaning that even the toughest and hardest people would have shed a tear. This was the opposite. There was no weeping or sadness. Good riddance. I mean, after all, there was no use crying over Milt Spilcht.