When it came to volunteering for a company training course on emergency first aid in the workplace, the Boss was disinclined to believe it was Philemon right at the front of the queue. Phil’s track record at work bordered on complete non-interest in just about the whole process of automotive body repair. His lacklustre performance had been taking place in the flatting bay for a couple years.  

What the Boss was completely unaware of was where the motivation, behind the quest for first aid knowledge, was coming from. In Phil’s formative years as ring leader in the Squatter Camp Kids he was among a band of amateur electricians who had spent many a day hopping across the zinc-topped shacks making impromptu hook-ups to the national electricity grid.  

These no charge for energy transformations powered up the individual shack owner at the expense of all the other paying customers. But the gang were not really all that socially minded instead pocketing 10 bucks a link up. 

The downside of all this unlawful activity was that some members of the gang suffered instant death if they got it wrong. The huge surge of electrical current used their mortal frames as an earth-leakage unit to unload millions of volts.  

Described by his mother as a “class A maniac”, but always a man of outsized kindness, Philemon had no knowledge of how to deliver any sort of medical aid in these life and death occurrences, hence the interest in the company course. 

It took a full day of dressing up disaster victims, applying cardiac arrest treatment and the sorting out of swallowed toxic substances training to arm this keen medic with some of the workplace helpers’ basic skills, medically speaking that is. 

All this took place about six months before the fateful day in the new body shop. Just after the monster steel structure had been finally assembled, the head of the jobbing concern, a huge German called Gert Muller, was busy checking on the new project. Muller, a lifetime body builder, was inspecting the huge power input electrical box. Philemon watched from the sidelines, ever careful not to come into contact with a thing called manual labour.  

What happened next was literally beyond comprehension, Muller started to shake his right foot and boot violently, in Philemon’s dream world, with his complete lack of understanding of the situation, he though  Muller had been electrocuted as had some of his childhood friends. 

He raced across the factory floor, quickly picked up a shuttering plank and with a mighty force whacked Muller across the back. The body slumped forward and groaned. With all the air knocked out of him, the giant looked in need of urgent cardiac attention. So Philemon straddled the body and started to administer first aid for the situation. 

However, this Christian’s good turn was rudely interrupted as Muller blinked his eyes back into consciousness. Seeing Philemon on top of him, he shouted, “What the hell are you doing to me?” Phil’s explanation of how Muller’s heart was giving up on him, held little belief, as Muller gently told the would-be health helper that all he was doing before the pole-axe thump in the back, was simply trying to remove a couple of pebbles from inside his boot.  

Muller wasn’t waxing lyrical in his kindness in thanking Philemon for his vain, life-saving attempt. This over-zealous first aid act drastically shortened Phil’s career in medical care, but it did, after the dust settled, deliver a fair amount of giggles in the lunchroom as time rolled on. 


By Ian Groat