Monday, 23 June 2008

Coming On Through

The safety guy is an important part of the fabric of each rig. Often they're an all-powerful force, chairing daily meetings and inspiring fear; usually they strut about a bit, and show safety videos to rig newcomers. Sometimes the weaker ones skulk around in the shadows, a defeated force but still with menacing potential. On this rig, the safety guy appears to serve the purpose of unintentional comedy.

With his round, bobbing head and inane grin, he resembles a cartoon character of yesteryear, or perhaps a toy dog. His speech and mannerisms appear lifted directly from a 1970s children's TV presenter handbook: he'd be a smash hit on Jackanory. He is ginger, of course. But above all, above everything, and something that everyone on the rig is obviously hyper-aware of, is his penchant for using the phrase, "coming on through".

He cannot go a speech, announcement or conversation without using it. Not once, but frequently, all the time. Usually he chucks it in at the end of a paragraph, like a kind of meaningless denouement, but he also slips it into the middle of a sentence, and really it can appear at any given moment. Very rarely does it make sense in the context of what he's saying: it is overwhelmingly used without any point, and the more I try and think of one the more senseless it becomes. He like to use it with another little phrase of his, "that one there" (also with plural or subjective variations, "those ones there", "this one here" etc). Both used so liberally, his conversations becomes heavily bolstered with filler, and filler that once you're aware of entirely overwhelms the point of what he's actually trying to say.

We've begun to count how many times he can drop into one "session". At one safety meeting, he dropped it in fifteen times, Baracus counted twenty-five during the second part of his induction, and Scallion counted twenty-six at yesterday's safety meeting. This equates to roughly once every thirty seconds, something backed up by the much shorter announcements during the daily evening meeting in which he averages three or four for a two minute talk. I overheard someone today claiming they'd heard him "double-dunt", i.e. say "coming on through" twice in succession, and that they'd lost count after twenty-two, suggesting we're not the only people to have found a grim fascination in this man's conversational tic.

Undoubtedly, as some of the regular crew of this rig have murmured, it becomes pretty annoying after a while, but for now, for us, it's still got a high novelty value. Baracus especially delights in shouting it at any opportunity. And hopefully by the time it does begin to grate, I'll be coming on through onto a helicopter, and safely back home. But that one there's still a few weeks away. Coming on through then...


Lalalian said...

I work with a couple of people who have a regular habit of saying "and, also, too".

If they really want to stress a point you'll get "and, also, too, as well".

Drives me bonkers!

Jenny said...

hmm...I can't say I've ever heard anyone saying "coming on through..." Is that a Scottish/European phrase? What does it mean/why would you use it?

Nev 360 said...

JD, this is not an expression used anywhere in the world, except for this one unique individual. It is almost entirely meaningless.

In the last few days, the safety guy has grown the rough beginnings of a goattee beard: it gives a deeply sinister edge to his wide-eyed Jackanory looks.