Greetings from the Omnigraphic Blogopticon. On view are vile sticky things dragged from the attic, snarky commentary on the world at large, and all-encompassing ennui. All that and a weird rubbery smell. A horrible time will be had by all.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Railway Accidents and Other Things to Do


We take a break from the flu and caffeine induced blogging insanity of the past two days to lurk around in the private lives of dead people. Today we nose around in the Time Book of a Mr. Jas. T. Blevins of Grants Pass, Oregon. Say "hi" to Mr. Blevins, everyone.

We are to assume the gentleman is long since dead, unless of course he was some unholy species of cast iron steam man that went on a rampage and flattened the town of Grants Pass, Oregon before he stomped off into the night, never to be seen again. Sometimes, even today, you can still hear his lonely whistle...

I'm kind of partial to the Steam Man scenario, but then I have issues.


We see Mr. Blevins worked for the SP (Southern Pacific?) Railroad Company and during the months of August and September 1902 he worked 10 hour days, seven days a week for $2.00 a day. He doesn't note how many hours he allotted himself for grumbling about his miserable lot in life, how much time he spent weeping uncontrollably, or how many fingers and toes he still possessed at that time.


The Pacific Mutual Life Insurance Co. helpfully includes cheery statistics of how many railroad employees are killed or injured every year in collisions, derailments and "other accidents", leading me to wonder about the fate of Mr. Blevins since it seems trains were plowing into each other willy-nilly, flying off the tracks for no reason, catching fire out of spite, eating people, etc. and perhaps he met some tragic end. He filled in the months all the way to December 1902, but failed to put in any hours beyond October. Perhaps he finally read the accident report in the front of his Time Book and when he got his last paycheck high-tailed it out of there and got a less dangerous job back East in something like coal mining or mercury manufacture.

Or perhaps a rampaging feral train ate him.

looks innocent

In my defense, there were two novels by W. Grove, A Mexican Mystery (1888) and The Wreck of a World(1889), in which a rampaging steam engine eats trees and telegraph poles and eventually gets a taste for people. I haven't been able to track down either book in hard copy or download, and yes, I spend an inordinate amount of time downloading weird old books from Project Gutenburg.

Added later today:

Further rummaging around unearthed a couple of Mr. Blevins's tax receipts from 1892-93. I'm guessing that 1893 was the year he finally protested that steam men don't pay taxes and that extra 25 cents was what finally tipped him over the edge into his cast iron rampage.


See, this is why you should shred everything, otherwise demented collectors like myself will buy it and weave it into some bizarre and troubling world from which there is no escape.

5 comments:

Scott said...

Have you been huffing jenkem?

My word verification: ropholec. Sounds like a type of drug used to treat morning sickness in the 1950's but was banned after it was discovered that it caused women to grow extra toes.

Severina said...

Huffing what?

It's the flu I tell ya! Well, that and the caffeine.

Scott said...

Jenkem, dammit!

Severina said...

Oh that crap.

Feh.

Scott said...

Translation: "Jenkem? Meh. Been there, done that."