“Meter to Sealing” I call out as I walk the 15 feet to the next desk full of e-meters, placing mine on top the small pile. It’s done with calibration and now has to be sealed before going through a final quality check and then shipped back to the parishioner to whom it belongs.
I’m working on a production line manufacturing the “e-meter”, short for “Electropsychometer”. A religious device that, as I understand it, measures mental mass. It outputs a very small, imperceptibly small, electrical current. A person holds 2 cans with wires attached. This electrical current flows through them. Past traumatic incidents have actual energy, mass we call it, that can be measured on this device, displayed on a dial with a needle. Our founder L. Ron Hubbard described it as follows “For the meter to be read, the tiny flow of electrical energy through the preclear (person receiving counseling) has to remain steady. When this tiny flow is changed the needle of the E-Meter moves. This will happen if the preclear (person) pulls in or releases mental mass. This mental mass (condensed energy), acts as an additional resistance or lack of resistance to the flow of electrical energy from the E-Meter.” This “e-meter” is used in spiritual counseling in my religion and now, here I am calibrating this highly technical extremely precise instrument.
A few weeks earlier a group of 12–15 of us were called into “Building 36” the manufacturing building for the various religious materials at Golden Era Productions (Gold for Short) where the e-meters and other audio-visual materials for the Church are produced. “Who likes electronics?” The woman asked the group of us getting a tour of the e-meter production line. Her name was Laura. I raised my hand “I do”. I’d always been interested in taking things apart, electronic things, to see what was inside. Putting them back together, well that’s another story. So a friend and I, who also raised his hand, were immediately assigned to the “calibrations” department. Little did I know the “who likes electronics?” question was a bit of a misrepresentation, perhaps just to get volunteers, so instead of putting things together or taking them apart I found myself with a tweaker (a very small screwdriver) in my hand, an e-meter in front of me, open with all its electronic guts exposed and a checklist on the table. A set of very specific actions I had to go through to ensure this instruments worked perfectly to the rigorous testing that would follow. The first step was to write my name on the checklist, so if there were any rejects at the end of the line in the Quality Control (QC) department I’d be hearing about it.
I used the tweaker (screwdriver) to adjust the needle response, thus calibrating the e-meter, by “tweaking” the adjustment screws on the ends of the ten blue rectangular pieces.
Everything was already assembled inside. That part was done by others on the tables before me on the line. The “e-meter assembly” department. That’s where I wanted to be. Maybe I should’ve kept my mouth shut, or perhaps Laura could’ve asked a better question. Something more akin to “Who wants to work on the most stressful, high pressure part of the production line? The job that as you’ll soon see many people attempt and fail at” Now I sit here trying to learn the most technical part of the whole manufacturing line, the most stressful, the most precise.
There are no other options. I can’t refuse a job once assigned, no matter how hard. In the past if I had problems or needed help with a bit of work assigned the all to familiar line was spouted back at me “Make it go right Alden”. Or if I replied to any order from someone higher up than me and responded with anything other than “Yes sir!” (whether male or female) it was quickly followed with a “That’s backflash Alden!” Backflash is defined as “an unnecessary response to an order”. So pretty much anything other than “Yes sir” when ordered to do something was an “unnecessary response” I’ve learned. I say “Yes sir” and do it.
This is an exciting time in the history of my Church. Now we are all working on something called “The Golden Age of Tech”. I’m not sure exactly what it is yet as we are kept in the dark on anything that doesn’t immediately pertain to the area of this much larger project we are working on. What I do know is that I am working on a new breed of e-meter, the Quantum! The current standard e-meter is called the “Mark Super VII”. But some of the smart technical guys have figured out how to upgrade this current model so it works better, more precise. Some small circuit board is added inside “Quantumizing” it. It’s a quantum leap in e-meter technology I’m told.
The e-meter manufacturing line where I worked is located on the second floor of Building 36 at Golden Era Productions, pictured above.
We are all putting in long days, working in the vegetable fields in the morning, then after a quick lunch and shower we load into a van and drive the 15–20 minutes to the “Int Base” the top-secret location where my religion is managed worldwide. This is the headquarters, the top of the top and I am privileged to be able to help with this Golden Age of Tech.
It’s stressful but I apply myself. A process that takes 2–3 hours at first gets faster and faster and they even send someone higher up to supervise and work with me personally, reading off the checklist and timing me. Although this seems like a bit of a waste of manpower. I mean why have two people doing one person’s job. But he’s nice to me.“Okay, are you ready Alden?” Tim asks me, ready to press the start button on the stopwatch he’s holding. His hair is perfectly combed, always looks wet and stays perfectly shaped. “It’s very professional” I think. And his naval style blue uniform is meticulously pressed. I’m a bit nervous at first by him, after all he’s a legendary “Messenger” (a member of an organization that used to serve our Founder L. Ron. Hubbard), but as I get faster he seems to appreciate me more as he is now looked favorably upon by his superiors. I apply myself, I’m getting good at this job and people like me. I see many other people, adults, trying and failing at calibrating these machines.
At the end of the week I collect my pay. It’s just over $7. I can buy some snacks in the canteen. And when I work here I’m even allowed to have sugar! I discovered the “Nutter Butter” cookies and can’t seem to get enough.
I’m 13 years old.