Here you go Diogenesister:
Sorry this is so long and that I may have some names wrong. I guess there’s a lot I didn’t want to remember.
I consider myself fortunate that my parents helped out and provided me with a car while I was living at the Bethel Farm. On one occasion, the car stopped running. I’m not mechanically inclined and couldn’t get other guys (the farm equipment handlers) to help after-hours. They avoided me when I walked into the farm shop.
Meanwhile, there was a provision that one could borrow one of the “office” cars in order to drive to the congregational meetings at night or on weekends. I, along with three other brothers, was attending a congregation in Middletown. They would pitch in for the gas. So, I would call the office and put in a request. The next day, I had to return the car promptly by 8:00 am when work started. So, I waited for the office to open at 8:00 and turn in the keys. This went on for a while as I tried to find out what the problem was with the car.
I reported to the “Trimming” (?) department, where they cut the WT & Awake! magazines into final form. One day while entering my workplace, I noticed that the assistant in charge of the crew (a fairly nice fellow named Curtis) was writing something down. I asked him what it was and he told me he was marking me late. I asked why. He said, "because you’re late". I said that I had to return the car keys to the office so they could use them by 8:00 am. He said he understood but I was still late. Somehow, it had escaped me that he had often asked where I was before I knew he was making a note.
My argument was that if I wanted to attend meetings, I needed a car and since I had that provision, I complied by turning in the keys when they opened. He basically said that I was still late and it was his job to write it down. We went back and forth on this. I finally said that since it doesn’t matter whether I have a good excuse or not, I was not going to tell him where I was and why I was late. He insisted that I must tell him. I refused. He called over the guy in charge; another fairly nice guy named David (?) and related the situation. I stood my ground and said I would not answer any questions as to why I was late because I would still get marked late and it didn’t matter. This all happened in a nice calm manner over several days.
So David had no choice but to call the assistant factory overseer, Dan Myers. This guy worked at being an asshole. I think Dan got where he was by kissing ass. He had a bad streak that made him lust for power. Maybe he was cruel because he was made fun of as a child for having a bad limp. I think one leg was shorter than the other. We rehashed the issue and came to an impasse after I explained I should not be penalized on my record as being late for something that could not be avoided.
This is the famous Bethel logic that I constantly encountered. Dan replied to me that the fact that people are on time means that I can be on time. I replied that then the fact that some people are late means I can be late. I guess I detected his frustration when he told me that the factory overseer and other elders thought badly of me, that they thought I had a poor attitude. That triggered something in me and I saved it for the right moment.
It took a few days but I managed to have a talk with the factory overseer in his office. He asked me to enter and take a seat. I declined and stood in front of him at his desk. He was someone I respected and liked, but I wanted to set the tone of the conversation. So I asked him straight out if he had a bad opinion of me. He asked why and I told him his subordinate Dan Myers had told me that. I could see his countenance change quickly. He clearly had not said that or was that much aware of me. But he was furious that Dan had put him in that position. What the overseer did was come up with an excuse for Dan; that perhaps he was under pressure. That’s when I lost all respect for him. I imagined that later he took Dan over and tore him a new one (in a nice way). But I could never look at him the same way.
It was much later I learned that as a secular factory, whoever is above you is right, even if they are wrong. They feel that for the sake of ending arguments, they will always take the management side. Fuck Christian values, and fuck fairness. If that were the only such example of what I went through, I might even admit that I was a malcontent. But that shit kept popping up over and over. There, I saw cruelty, favoritism, racism, and people who were too afraid to leave because they had nothing to use as skill in the outside world.