Mr. Clean

Mr. Clean was the Training Officer in charge when we worked as apprentices at a large engineering works on Tyneside. We had a few run-ins with Mr. Clean, but he wasn't a bad bloke really. He was renowned for being a real perfectionist and always demanded the best, though nothing ever seemed to be good enough. He wanted us to learn to think for ourselves and not do things 'parrot fashion'. He was a real company man. Loyal to the firm. He was also very clean and tidy. Clean by name and clean by nature. Very meticulous and precise. Today he would be considered to have an obsessive-compulsive disorder, but that's an expression you never heard in those days. 


Unfortunately, his symptoms got worse. He started imagining germs creeping all over him and penetrating his body. These thoughts caused him enormous anxiety and he would wash his hands over and over. He would only use paper towels to dry them because he thought that cloth towels were 'full of germs'. He wouldn't use the washroom hand dryer because it required you to push a button to turn it on. More germs. Then he started taking showers three or four times a day because he didn't feel thoroughly clean if he didn't scrub every part of his body. He obviously became a figure of ridicule amongst all the young apprentices who were totally insensitive to his problem. Eventually he just couldn't do his job anymore and was forced to leave. It was a shame really. I liked Mr. Clean. I even wrote this daft song about him.


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