Archive for the ‘Music’ Category

The Compac Song

January 24, 2013

For 3 years I worked at a factory known as Compac Corp. in Stanhope, NJ where the main product was reinforced insulation backing paper.  One of the operators of the machine I ended up on was Don Davis (not the actor.) One time when I came in for my shift, he handed me a piece of paper and said that he wrote a song about Compac and that it took him all of 5 minutes to do it. Somehow I remembered it all of these years, though I did have to wrack my brain a bit to do it. I place before you the song he wrote with some clarifications of what the heck he’s talking about at the end.

Don has since passed beyond.  I know that many of his co-workers disliked his surly attitude, but he never did me any harm. In the microcosm that Compac was, I only ever found one individual that had no redeeming qualities.

The Compac Lament

by Don Davis

to the tune of “Detroit City”

I wanna go home. I wanna go home

Oh how I wanna go home.

Today I worked a shift here at Compac

And  tell you that I think it was a sin.

Number 2 fell apart, Number 8 would not start.

Where’s the help? The wheel wrapped up again.

I wanna go home. I wanna go home.

Hey John, I wanna go home.

Night shift really sucks here at Compac.

Just look around there’s clowns ev’ry where.

There goes a foil ball through the air, and a firecracker over there.

Where’s the help? the foil broke again.

I wanna go home. I wanna go home.

Hey Frank, Let me go home.

One day I’ll quit working here at Compac.

I’ll get a job and work 8 hours ev’ry day.

I’ll make money by the ton, and I’ll have lots of fun.

And I’ll never say ‘Where’s the help?’ again.

I wanna go home. I wanna go home.

Hey Charlie! I’m gonna go home.

Clarifications:

  • The machines in the lamenation department were all numbered with even numbers. Don Davis was working on machine #10 at the time which was in the same ‘room’ with laminators #2 and #8. #10 was the newest machine at the time.
  • The wheel wrapping up refers to a huge wheel on #10 that contained spools of fiberglass string. The spinning wheel created a diamond shaped pattern in the product and added strength. Occasionally one or two of the strings would break and sometimes grab a few others. Sometimes the entire wheel of strings would start winding around the axle assembly and the machine would have to be stopped and each string restrung.
  • John was the foreman on the day shift.
  • Frank was the night shift foreman.
  • Charlie was the plant manager at the time.
  • The lamenations department operated on two 12 hour shifts, day and night.
  • The product was manufactured by gluing together aluminum foil and paper wit the fiberglass strings between the layers. Occasionally the foil (or paper) would break and create a mess of varying degrees.  I either case it required the full crew of (usually 3 men to get the machine running again.
  • As mentioned, the shifts were 12 hours long. Many of us wished for 8 hour shifts.