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What is a Lineman?

Between the enthusiasm of youth and the disillusionment of retirement there is an unusual creature called a “Lineman.”

He comes in assorted heights, girths, shapes, and degrees of sobriety. He can be found anywhere – in tents, in trucks, up poles, down manholes and in debt. Bookies love them, engineers tolerate them, publicans rely on them, and Accident Compensation protects them.

A “Lineman” is an optimist with a tip for the 2.30, a superman in a 5 tonne truck, an acrobat on the top of a pole and a cave explorer in a cable well.

He has the cunning of a very old fox, the generosity of a spendthrift, the imagination of a Banjo Patterson, the thirst of a camel and the elusiveness of the Scarlet Pimpernel.

He likes overtime, beer, talking, more beer, public holidays (and houses) and, above all, an understanding Line Foreman.  He hates cadgers, bosses’ men, upstart engineering officers, paperwork and bill collectors.

No other man can cram into a tool box – 6 possum traps, a fishing line, a transistor radio, a pack of cards, 6 cans of beer, a copy of Turf Digest and, sometimes, some tools.

He gets more fun than anyone else out of races, smoking and putting one over. No one else could exist of his salary yet remain so cheerful.  A “Lineman” is a magical creature, seldom appreciated but indispensable in time of trouble. You can lock him out of your exclusive club but you can’t keep him out of your circle of friends.

He’s a talkative, troublesome, argumentative, time-wasting bundle of fun but when the storm breaks, the lines are down and the cable punctured, he can reassure you with seven magic words – “We’ll soon have them working again, Boss.”


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