Rivets and Onions

A couple of links for you today – one sad, one funny and thought-provoking!

Sad one first…   A report on the BBC today about the unveiling of a headstone for the ‘Titanic teenager’ – a boy called Samuel Scott, who was one of the 8 people killed during the 3-year construction of Titanic in the Belfast docks.  Believe it or not, that figure was considered to be a pretty light casualty record at the time – 8 fatal accidents, out of a 15,000-strong workforce over 3 years, wasn’t bad going in those pre Health-And-Safety days…

Samuel was a ‘catcher’ – a vital part of the 5-man team involved in every single one of Titanic’s 3,000,000 rivets.  After the heater had thrown the red-hot rivet from the furnace to the rivet team working on the ship’s hull, it was his job to catch the rivet in a metal tin, and then take it out with tongs and hold it up to the panel, ready for the massive hammers of the riveters to get to work.  The catchers on the docks in 1912 were often young boys of 13 or 14 – so Samuel was one of many involved in this dangerous, demanding work.

So much of the Belfast Titanic story involves moving at least some of the focus from the iceberg and the cold Atlantic, to the skill, risk, sweat and toil of those 15,000 men who built a wonder of the world.  So Samuel’s story is one worth remembering – I wonder what he would have thought if he knew we would be talking about him 100 years later?

Which leads neatly(-ish) to the second of today’s links – this article on the Onion website (Man Watches Movie Alone On Laptop) really made me laugh, but also made me think about the impact our lives make – will we, like Samuel, be remembered for anything significant in 100 years’ time?  What kind of difference am I making with, in Bill Hybels’ phrase, my “one and only life”?

UPDATE:  …and a picture from some friends who were at the service today in the City Cemetery to unveil Samuel Scott’s gravestone: