I have been very fortunate to spend most of my adult career working for the same city government, although I moved around to different departments. I was looking back recently at some of the strange things I’ve seen working in the Fire Department, Police Department, Public Works, Communications (9-1-1), and the Electric Department.
I started in the Public Works Engineering Department as a clerk when I was very young and had zero construction knowledge. On one occasion, we were rushing to meet a deadline for a construction project to go out to bid, and I was the one typing (yes, back then it was all done on a typewriter) the bid package. As soon as I finished the final page, the department manager grabbed the package without proofreading it and ran off to get the package copied for distribution. We did not discover my errors until after the package was published nationwide.
A common method of backfilling trenches is to use the spoils from the job site, or “rip rap.” Unfortunately, I didn’t know what rip rap was, and the handwritten copy I was typing from was, well, let’s say looked more like hieroglyphics than English. I substituted “riff raff.” We started getting teasing phone calls from all over the States asking why we were putting society’s unwanted people into the ditches! What a great way of hiding the bodies.