"BECOME AN ELECTRICIAN", THEY SAID
“Become an electrician”, they said. “It’ll be fun”, they said. Well, I’m here to warn all you wannabe electricians of your impending doom. If you’re a school leaver and thinking of taking up the call to amps - then forget about it; take that brain fart, and banish it to the deepest, darkest, most isolated Tartarus in your temporal lobe. Do something worthwhile with your life - choose a path with integrity, honesty, and respect - such as a loan shark, banker, or career politician.
And to all you apprentices out there, do yourself a favour, save yourself the pain, misery, regret and long stands - your soul can still be saved. Chuck down that glass hammer and tell your exploitational boss to shove that left-handed screwdriver where the sun don’t shine.
Now, don’t get me wrong, there are a few perks to the job. Firstly, you’ll be able to pinpoint every fast-food restaurant within a 50-mile radius with more accuracy than The King, The Colonel, and Ronald McDonald, combined. Secondly, you will have the ways and means to evade legalised theft from Her Royal Majesty’s Revenue and Customs. And finally, thank the Lord you are not a plumber.
But those small perks are drowned out in an ocean of loft insulation…do you like loft insulation? Well, you better learn to love it; In no time at all, you’ll be rolling around in the stuff like a pig in muck. But don’t fret, when you finally emerge from the hatch to hell with tinsel trailing from the bottom of your shoe - your saturated, sweaty, scratchy body will soon be alleviated by a nice, complimentary, customer brew. A brew served up in the dirtiest, scummiest, grime laden mug that you can ever imagine. Try spontaneously coming up with an excuse as to why your thirst has miraculously been quenched!
And if you’re really lucky, your brew will be accompanied by a homemade canapé - freshly prepared on a worktop where feral felines and filthy flies are encouraged to roam free. If discreetly disposing of food and drink was an Olympic sport, tradesmen would be undefeated gold medallists. But no matter how rotten that mug, or how hairy that appetiser, you’ll always find one wretched tradesman who’ll gulp down every last drop and devour every last crumb - proclaiming it was the best he’s ever had!
But customers and clients are only one part of the story; it’s also well advised to abandon all communications with friends and family; become a recluse, an introvert, a hermit - because if you don’t, in no time at all, you’ll find yourself exchanging thousands-of-pounds worth of labour for a ten-pound-note and a 4-pack of Stella Artois.
And contrary to popular belief, proficiency in math is not required. Newton’s law can be dropped and Ohm's Law can be resisted. The only law that’ll you’ll ever need is the Law of Sod because without a shadow of a doubt, every single job, no matter how small, will be an absolute nightmare. WTF, shit, bollocks, bastard and fuck will soon become a staple part of your vocabulary. What can go wrong, will go wrong: A 5 minute light swap will turn into a 5 hour “B&Q special build” - which will house more diamantés than your favourite BBC ballroom dancer. Dropped screws will vanish without a trace - transported to alternate universes throughout time and space. And electrocution is part and parcel of the job - I mean, how else would you “test for dead” without a meter, other than with the back of your hand?
Having a captive audience is also part of the job, but don’t expect any conversation though, just heavy breathing precipitating over your shoulder and piercing eyes burning into the back of your head. And no, you will not seduce an attractive woman with the length of your screwdriver, because this audience is unequivocally always dudes: The “have a go Harrys”, the “DIY Daves” and the “meddling Mohamed's” - the husbands of the wives who are calling you to rectify their incompetent hubbies botched jobs.
Tools will become an extension of yourself. You will love them, bond with them, but also treat them recklessly and with disregard. And one day while searching the depths of your toolbox for your favourite screwy, you’ll find nothing more than a two-week-old, cat-pubed, fly-puked pancake - stuffed inside of a pop bottle that has a gold medal wrapped around its neck, and at that moment, you will be filled with unimaginable sadness, as you remember your “most useful” has been left for dead under a floorboard on the outskirts of Stoke: just waiting to be uncovered by its new owner - which you hope and pray will not be a plumber.
“Become an electrician”, they said. “It'll be fun”, they said.