Setting out a Bad Order

An unusable car is a “bad order”

I had to “set out a bad order” yesterday at work.  I’ll explain that term in a minute.  For all you who have worked for the railroad, this term is used in a different context.

Sadly, the railroad job “derailed” yesterday.  The local Union Pacific yard in Cedar Rapids recently canceled about 90% of our van jobs – “the bread and butter” for the local van drivers.  We drivers understood.  All of our drivers have a deep respect for the U.P. and love the railroad environment.  At the same time, the loss of work is devastating and the 60 hours of week has dropped to 15 or 20 hours a week… or less.

Were we all willing to live with the loss of work?  Yes.  But it was our own company – a subcontractor – that made things unbearable.

Unfortunately, yesterday we had a meeting with a newer manager for the company I worked for.  I’m not going to go into many details but for quite some time he listed all the companies he’s worked for.  We drivers later laughed and speculated he probably got fired at each one.  He seemed like a bullying prick.  It was actually pretty funny!

I indicated how with no work, I wanted to cut my availability way back and go fishing and camping.  Why sit around waiting for a call to work if there’s no work?  The manager laughed at me, even asking me if I had that kind of money afford to just quit working.  I told him I do, actually.

We teach kids not to bully in school and reward them for it at work.

There was no laughter when I gave my notice.  An hour later the regional manager called me at the Wendy’s restaurant asking me not to quit and then started getting argumentative.  I ended the phone call and the relationship with some choice words…  25 years ago, Mom would have washed my mouth out.  If she were here, she’d have been proud.  I take after her.

So why am I feeling happy?  Being a vandweller gave me all the security possible and took all of the manager’s bully power away.  He’s used to hiring cash strapped, desperate people.  You can abuse those people… but not most vandwellers.

What does it mean that I “set out a bad order”? 

One common box car failure is a hot axle.  It can be found when a ground mounted laser sensor detects a hot wheel and the moving train is notified to leave the car at a station and have it repaired.  The defective car is called a “bad order”…  As a railroad buddy told me, anything that is a worthless piece of shit is called a “bad order”.  The same slang, “I gotta set out a bad order” is also used to refer to taking a #2 (poop) in the bathroom.

Another way to “set out a bad order”…

Without getting too gross, sometimes there is a relief to be experienced after the flush of a “bad order” or a bad manager has been performed. 


So what now?  I’m heading for trout country and am stocked with with a T-bone steak, some asparagus, and a couple of those little “margaritas-in-a-bag”.  A stop for lunch at a Hardees hamburger restaurant has netted a bunch of refrigerated coffee creamers for use in tonight’s asparagus soup.  🙂

There will be some fun new places to explore in the next few days.  I’ll get some good pictures, including a new section of biking trail.  Work can wait.  There are plenty of “bad order” type jobs out there.  I’ll easily find another.  I just wish this gig had lasted longer.  

Take care and thanks for visiting!

Bradford the Van Trekker


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