For the pilots. (And Greeny.)
Raccoons might be taking over the world. That is, unless roughnecks hear about the story.
To a roughneck nothing is impossible. So when I heard that the raccoons that Japan imported for fun have multiplied out-of-control and are about to destroy thousand-year old buildings and that there’s nothing that can be done about it, I pictured a roughneck. Clear as day I saw the same face I see on the rig every time I express doubt that something can be done. The face has eyes that are lit with excitement and a mouth whose left-half is pursed together while its right half is barely open in a smirk. And though a still image, I can see that the face is mid-nod and I know that the next words that come out of that face will be a confident, “We’ll get ‘er done.” And they do.
Since day one on the job I have been nothing but amazed at what roughnecks can accomplish. And you know me, I thought I had seen mountains move while serving in the Air Force. So that got me thinking. Who is more capable? Pilots or roughnecks?
It hardly seemed a fair comparison at first, what with pilots winning wars in hours and making ladies swoon by simply getting dressed in the morning and all; but the more I witnessed roughnecks at work, the more I thought back to a lot of pilots I knew that might not make the cut as a roughneck–I know most days I fall short.
Here’s the thing. I love that I get to say that I’ve done both–love it. But there’s something else. The other day I brought the paperback copy of this blog to the rig to prove to the fellas that it existed. Now, these men are not Luddites, so they’d read the posts about them. But one of them, you’ll read about him soon, was very excited to share the stories with a man who didn’t know about the blog. And so this young man started to read aloud in the change house (locker room). I had to hold back tears of joy. The pilots that are reading know why. Most of you know why. And that makes pilots more capable. But hey, even if I’m wrong and roughnecks actually are more capable, I still win. I love that type of competition.
An odd group, certainly. The worst men make ritual disembowelment seem like the only sensible thing to do, while the best men…well the best men inspire us to become better men.
Like hitch hikers just dropped at a truck stop, we look around and evaluate the passing scene. Too often we are surrounded by mediocre men.
As constant evaluators, we sometimes forget to report our findings. This is undesirable and unproductive. We can forge a better life through regular highlighting of qualities the best men put into practice.
To begin, they are flawed. More to the point, they recognize they are flawed, and they do not hide it.
Next, they possess a humility that my own awesomeness seems unlikely to ever achieve.
They are genuine, or perhaps authentic works better. You cannot catch them off guard. They are who they are, no apologies, and who they are is worth noting.
They are well-read. Life has seasons, of that there is no doubt. But these men and television divorced a long time ago.
Lastly, for today, they are ready and willing to help, if we’ll only just ask. By help, we mean nothing more than them choosing to spend their limited time on us.
Let us not forget, then, that even great men need encouragement. Let us not forget that these men still exist in this world, feel its pressures, and are pulled daily by the temptation to give up. Let us not forget to say thank you when their life enhances ours.
David: Thank you.