I glanced up this afternoon at my old hardhat that I have hanging on the wall in my office… I’ve kept this filthy thing around for almost 35 years now because it reminds me of the dirtiest, most difficult and, in many ways, most rewarding job I ever had (rewarding in that I survived). In February of 1980, taking a break from the rigors of my first year in college, I found myself working on an oil and gas work-over rig and was issued that hardhat on my first day. Over the next nine months of snow, sleet, oppressive Oklahoma heat and acts of stupidity, it pretty much kept me alive. The big dent under the yellow and green “Carmacks” sticker is where the rig operator bashed me on the top of my head with a 24-inch pipe wrench because he wanted to “make sure it (the hardhat) worked”; and it did work as I never fully lost consciousness from the impact. It also protected me from tools dropped from the derrick overhead and the unspeakable acts of the derrickman working above us whose sense of humor ran very dark, and very unsanitary, at times. In total, the dents and … continue reading
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