Dicko The Draftsman
Dicko the Draftsman
A short tale of Misery and Woe
Dicko the Draftsman.
Gidday my name is Dicko. Iím a draftsman. Dicko the draftsman. Never heard of me, well Iíve never heard of you. I know what youíre thinking ìthis guys a dickheadî. Well I must admit as I tap out these letters, I feel a bit the same. Letís put things straight. Draftsman you may ask ìWhat the fuck is a Draftsmanî Well a Draftsman is the person who transposes the Architectís or Engineerís endless meanderings into legible drawings. By that I mean we communicate their conceptual dribble on to paper. I suppose weíve all read, those of us with taste that is, the Mills & Boon novels whereby the estranged female is taken by the Architect or Engineer. Iíve never seen a Draftsman get a look in... Are we not sexy enough, not good looking enough, I mean to say in my 30 odd years of drawing fly braces, purlins, bolt connections and the draftsmanís bread and butter, the portal frame, Iím sure there has had to be at least one candidate. Well maybe not.
When does one decide to become a Draftsman?
This is the tricky aspect of the equation and I donít mean WL2/8 (Engineering bullshit). Draftsmen are not born draftsmen, they are born human beings, and they have feelings, families and a social
structure. I personally have seen a pair of Draftsmen, and this has resulted in the creation of a Draftsperson. This is not a person to be dealt with lightly. A Draftsperson can be male or female, the latter deciding on when, depending on the phase of the moon, (I could say ìTime of the monthî) they may drop into the office.
When do you become a Draftsman? Luck of the draw perhaps, or maybe at some inappropriate time your parents say ìWell son your exam results suggest Architecture is out of the question and obviously your mathís werenít that good, so that would indicate Engineering maybe beyond you, but a mate of mine at work has heard of a position at a Consultants looking for a Cadet Draftsmanî. Just to amuse my parents I took up the said position. They didnít want me working as a tradesman (How little they knew), and I guess they could say their son was a Draftsman and no one would ask why. I didnít know what a Draftsman was or did, or if they had their own little sects or clubs, but I certainly was to find out over the course of my
adult life. They say you are a product of your environment and if environment breeds sarcasm, cynicism and contempt for ones superiors, then drafting is the game.
There are a few different kinds of Draftsman. Structural, Electrical, Mechanical, Civil (bullshit theyíre civil) and Architectural (poor mans Architect).
At least theyíre the ones I know of. Perhaps there are some Iím not aware of, but theyíre probably in outer space, you know perched over that great drawing board in the sky.
But they would certainly be behind the times. Itís all about CAD these days. Do you know what CAD stands for? Yes your right, ìCalling all Draftsmenî. We feted it, we loved it, we orgasmed over it, but it was the beginning of the end, for the only true dinosaur in the world was the board draftsman. We were artists. Letís face it AutoCAD is the
Australian idol, the Karaoke of drafting. We get these young punks with the arrogance of youth stepping into our turf, straight out of Tafe with no respect for the culture or pecking order. They think they can come in and impress the boss, and letís face it the Boss knows fuck all about shark fishing anyway, but heís still impressed and goes with the flow. Dicko as you can imagine is not impressed. When I first started, it was all about the board, your hand, your head, and dare I say how many pots you could drink in an hour .Our lunch hour was only ever æ of an hour but we didnít give a fuck, especially after the first hour.
Generally speaking the Engineer is a well disciplined unit who probably enjoys nothing better than to curl up with the latest addition of ìPurlins are Meî whilst sipping a nice cup of tea. They are a conservative animal by nature and seem to be at their happiest, when surrounded by computations and calculators. Youíll never see an Engineer bending over with his pants down around his ankles lighting a fart at a party. I think about the most outrageous thing Iíve ever seen an Engineer do was drink a light beer.
On the subject of Engineerís, I once worked with one who suffered from short mans syndrome. We were both working on a project and he said and I quote ìI order you to draw it this wayî. I turned around to him and said, and I quote ì Fuck off you little poofî. Probably not politically correct, but I was affronted that someone would question my abilities and the little Hitler got what he deserved. On another occasion the short Engineer was left in charge of me and two other draftees. It was Cup day
And both partners had decided to take the day off (Fucking bad move). After working for about half an hour, one of us decided (Not the Engineer) that in keeping with the spirit of the day, we should get some beer. I donít know how it happened, but after a few hours the Engineer, and remember they only drink light beer, ended up passed out
on the floor. So we pissed on him and locked him in the boot of a car for the rest of the afternoon. The moral of this story is that the only good Engineer is an asphyxiated one.
But there are other Engineerís. You can get a PHD in Engineering. By that I mean you can be a doctor of shit (Geotechnical Engineer), doctor of farts ( Wind Engineer) and fuck me dead, a doctor of erections (Structural Engineer). You certainly wonít find a doctor of love or a rock n roll doctor.
The Contract Draftsman. (Pens for hire)
The bane of the in house draftsman is the contract draftsman. These guys rock into the office, get the easiest jobs, and make twice as much money. If they really know their shit, they can string a project along for a couple of extra months and then put the feet up for the rest of the year. When I was in the job for a few years, I started hearing about contract draftsman. I first thought they must be from a secret organization, set up by jaded draftsman, that have drawn one line too many, to kill Engineers. Unfortunately that wasnít the case, even though thereís been plenty of times when I wish someone had put a bullet in their head. Secretly though, we all wanted to be
Contract draftsman, with their tales of the goings on in other offices. I mean you can go stir crazy surrounded by the same four walls over a long period of time, and any snippet of gossip or information from another office was gold as far as I was concerned. The contract draftsman provided that link to the outside world and I was in awe of them. I recall one contractor coming into the office in the early days. Now this guy was good, great hand, fast and could work with limited supervision. One of these pricks with initiative. We tried everything to shitcan his work, just to get rid of the turd, but it all fell on deaf ears. Finally one of the guys said heíd heard a rumor that the gun Drafty was a hopeless alcoholic. We thought thereís the Achilles heal. So one week we finally convinced him to come to the pub for lunch. The upshot being that he ended up pissed as a newt, abused the Boss when we got back, and then fucked off home. He did return the next day, filled with remorse, but he was gone within an hour.
The moral of this story is, donít fuck with the staff draftees, especially if youíre good.
The Old Draftsman.
One of the great mysteries of the world, is what becomes of the Draftsman!
It has occurred to me as I enter my 50ís, that I have never met an old Draftsman.
By old I mean 60 years plus and still in the job. They seem to just disappear off the face of the planet. Do they end up in an ancient burial ground, you know like elephants. Do they become Monks searching for the meaning of life? Or do they just become Real Estate salesmen on the Gold Coast?
Well my friends, Iíll have to let you know when I find out.
As I bring this tale of misery and woe to a conclusion, I would ask that the reader make their own minds up as to whether Drafting is the direction for their children. Sure there are worse jobs. Uday Husseinís soccer captain for one, Mark Lathamís pancreas another, but beware parent of letting your child become the Yeti like creature known as the Draftsman. ìDicko, have you finished that job yet?î Shit itís the Boss. ìUmmmmmmî. Minimise. Fucking great program AutoCAD.
P.S. Iíd like to thank Steve Baxter for encouraging me and inspiring me over the years. Also to Leon, Daryl, Tim, Ewald Kampas and Noel Sedawie for their support.
Dicko has finally decided to resurface and add a couple of pearls of wisdom, well maybe observations. Over the past couple of years, and I've tried to let it be, but I cannot let things go any longer with respect to the Drafting fraternity. I thought Hybrid referred to a Toyota Prius or one of those other lame duck excuses for a motor. No I've been mislead, it actually refers to poor man's Engineer ( See poor mans Architect). These days not only does the Draftee have to put up with the traditional Engineer (See above), but we've got to put up with the Hybrid. They tried crossing a horse with a zebra and it didn't work, a lion with a tiger, never seen too many of those fucks frollicking on the Serengiti, now we've got the the Draftsman/Engineer. Fuck me, Engineers will do anything to reduce costs. In my particular place of employment, and you may be asking yourself, Why is Dicko still drafting ? Answer, my wife has a gambling problem that won't quit. But I digress. Over the past couple of years, my employer could have fed most of the world's poor if it hadn't been for the Hybrid. To quote Warney, Can't design, Can't draw, but they've got pretty impressive resumes according to Hay's and the like.
While I'm getting a few things off my chest, I might as well mention another bugbear of mine, and that is the continual need for organisations like Autodesk to find ways of stooging money out of the system. This one sounds like a frog, you know, Revit, Revit, Revit. I say Fuckit. Just when you think you've finally got a handle on Acad release 10, they decide that's not good enough, so they change it to a Windows based program. Like ducks in a shooting gallery, we're forced to adapt to that one. This leads to the annual update of Acad, which for all intents and purposes means parting with 500 sheets or so, for minimal practical benefit. I recently sat through a demonstration of Fuckit provided by our Acad supplier. This involved a guy and a girl espousing the wonderful benefits of this program. Now the sheila knew fuck all about drafting and Revit for that matter, but jesus she had a great set of tits!!!!!!!!!