Juggling the Heat

Highway 1, Central California Coast

All-day long, I pulled hot plastic parts out of a plastic injection molder. It was a crazy machine with a plastic feeder, about nine different heating and cooling temperatures, and a mold that popped out a part every 30 or 40 seconds. From time to time, the machine jammed, and I had to dig in and fix it. Sometimes bits of molten plastic would splatter on my hands and arms. It would burn a blister in half a second. There’s a big difference between the amount of heat at the threshold of pain, and the amount of heat it takes to burn skin and cause blisters. As the months rolled on, the two got closer and closer. Ignore the heat of pain. Respect the heat of burn. I understood it as an important lesson. Sometimes all it took was juggling the hot-plastic-part back and forth between the tips of my fingers. The slightest movement made the difference.