The restaurant doors might as well have been ripped off the hinges if they were pulled open at all. The culprits were four men who had just finished a long day of hard work. They were hungry and ready to sit down. One of them, the newbie, knew he was under the microscope. The other three would be watching his every move. They would be silently analyzing his table manners, how he addressed the server, what meal he chose, and most importantly what beverage. Beyond the age of caring about such things, our man was just looking to make people laugh. The workday was over; everyone still had all their fingers and toes. He couldn’t help but want to promote a light mood.
Asking the server to keep the chips and salsa coming, he sarcastically inquired of the men, “So, hey. On your LinkedIn profiles, do you put your position or just ‘roughneck’?”
The driller, one might say leader of the bunch, had the most steely, unflinching eye-contact one could imagine, and after letting it linger long enough to determine the question was not rhetorical, he asked, “What?”
“You know. On your LinkedIn profile. Do you put ‘driller’ or the more generic ‘roughneck’?” the newbie pressed, unwilling to lose the staring contest.
“No way. What about you two? It’s not surprising that this neanderthal doesn’t keep his LinkedIn profile updated, but surely you two do,” he continued, purposefully.
“Pete, what are you saying? Linked…in?”
“Oh my god,” Pete said, unable to not connect the dots. With an unabashed enthusiasm, he continued, “On top of you guys doing the most impressive work I’ve ever seen, you’re now going to tell me that you don’t even know what LinkedIn is?” He almost let the “L” word slip out, but the men’s unrelenting eye contact allowed his rational side to win that battle quickly. “And that’s why I like you guys so much. You don’t even know what LinkedIn is. You’re so pure and good. LinkedIn is like facebook for people with office jobs. It’s ridiculous. And you just helped prove my theory. I only use it to publish my blog posts in the hopes of getting someone to read what I write. But I’d rather have never heard of it–like you guys. Nice work.”
“You done? The server’s waiting on you to order.”
“Oh. Apologies. I’ll do the chimichanga.”
“And to drink?”
“Do you have root beer?”
It took fourteen twelve-plus hour days, but on his last day before going home, his co-workers bore witness to a sight generally reserved for Pete’s closest relations.
Pete could only shake his head and smile after it happened. Only moments before, he actually felt like he was getting the hang of the job. He was almost able to anticipate the tasks, and he was receiving more and more responsibility. But he should have known he couldn’t hide them forever.
“Peter! What are you doing with your lips?” called the driller from inside the doghouse. The doghouse was a climate-controlled reasonably clean enclosure on the rig where the men who performed the drilling accomplished their work. They had a full view of the rig floor and the derrick, and were responsible for every aspect of the operation, including everyone’s safety. This meant that they scrutinized the floorhands as they, in turn, handled the lethally heavy pipe and machinery.
It was during this scrutiny that they noticed Pete’s lips doing their thing.
“Fart!” muttered Pete. He looked up smiling. He knew exactly what they just saw and while slightly embarrassed, was proud to be among men who were so direct.
Pete himself only became aware of his unconscious lip movements during a night of intense foosball competition in highschool. But little by little, anyone who had a chance to watch him focus on a task was rewarded with an uncommon sight. One only has to picture Mr. Ed (the talking horse) as he cleaned the peanut butter from his gums to get an idea of what they saw. As for Pete, his bottom lip attracted and held the attention, what with its size and agility. But just when it seemed like the performance would be a solo, his top lip took over. Then his bottom lip would jump in on the action once again.
Then, upon discovery–like any unsanctioned contest–the fleshy duel between these kissers inevitably ended. Distancing themselves from each other, the two fighters revealed a set of great teeth that crowned a widening smile. No victor was ever declared. None was ever called for. Everyone knew the money was in the rematch anyhow.