Apologies, I didn’t realize my tinkering changed the setting about whether just the opening or full text was emailed out. Here is today’s post again.
Below is a chat conversation I had with Ariel Johnson from AT&T. Try and enjoy it as much as I did.
Thank you for your patience! Your AT&T Representative will be with you shortly.
Welcome! You are now chatting with ‘Ariel Johnson’
Ariel Johnson: Thank you for using AT&T Chat Services today. I will be happy to assist you.
Ariel Johnson: I can definitely review the account to see when will be the autopay will be fully effective.
Ariel Johnson: By the way I hope you are enjoying your day!
Pete: Do you just copy and paste messages, or do you type them out like I am?
Ariel Johnson: I do type Pete.
Pete: I’m dying here.
Pete: Do you know what a proof of life is?
Ariel Johnson: Sorry no.
Pete: Well, in any case, I am enjoying my day.
Ariel Johnson: Awesome!
Pete: But I’m still not convinced you’re real. 🙂
Ariel Johnson: Yes I am.
Ariel Johnson: Please be advised that the autopay will be fully effective after 30 days upon enrollment.
Pete: You definitely did not type that.
Pete: So I should pay my bill today, but next month, it’ll be automatic/
Ariel Johnson: Yes
Ariel Johnson: For the current bill it will be paid manually.
Ariel Johnson: Rest assured that this will be the last time that you will be paying the bill manually.
Pete: What is your namesake’s dad’s name in the little mermaid?
Ariel Johnson: I don’t know sorry.
Pete: thanks for the help.
Ariel Johnson: If you know the answer is much appreciated.
Ariel Johnson: Since you are online I can assist you to process the payment now.
Pete: No need. I can do it. Have a great day.
Ariel Johnson: Please be advised that the autopay deduction will takes place two days prior to the due date on the account.
Ariel Johnson: Do you have any other concerns that I may assist you with?
Pete: Nope. I’m out.
Ariel Johnson: For convenience in the future, you can also manage your account using the MyATT mobile app on your phone.
Ariel Johnson: It has been a pleasure chatting with you today. AT&T appreciates your business. Again this is Ariel Have a wonderful day!
Ariel Johnson: Bye.
“Alright guys, gather round, gather round,” he began with a slight amount of force to his voice. “Gather round. Christmas came early this year.”
The men formed a natural circle and tried their best to hide their interest with looks of confusion. Gatherings like this did not normally happen. They did see, however, that Pete had a full bag in his hands.
“Okay. I want to tell you guys something. A few days into this hitch I was laying in bed thinking about how I, like you, have to work over the big three upcoming holidays. And that sucks. I then remembered that I have some cash on hand as a result of the home selling/home buying fiasco you guys know about. Because the only reason I work these days is for money and because I have some money, I told Richard a week or so ago that this will be my last hitch. I am quitting,” Pete announced.
Short Brush chuckled, thinking it was a joke.
“I’m not kidding. And to prove I’m not kidding, I got you all something as a going away gift. I also want to take a minute to talk to you differently than I normally have. I know I’m just a floorhand here, but in my past life I was a leader and had more of an instructor/speaking role. Since I’m leaving, I figure I might as well say what’s on my mind about you guys.
“John, I got you an iTunes gift card. It’s got twenty bucks on it. What I want to say to you is that after I leave, you’ll officially be the most considerate roughneck. Keep it up. Also, I respect the zeal with which you and your fiancé live out your Christian beliefs. At the same time, you sometimes seem like you are two sermons away from strapping on a suicide vest. I’m just saying.
“Short Brush, despite the fact that I’ve told you how to get movies for free, I also got you an iTunes gift card. Enjoy. What I want to say to you is that you’re fat and lazy. Everyone knows it. Everyone knows you hide in the stairwell behind the drawworks. I don’t know who you think you’re fooling. That said, I don’t believe that you’re fat because you’re lazy, I believe you’re lazy because you’re fat. So here’s a deal I’m willing to make with you. Lose forty pounds and if by the time you’ve lost the weight plus three months you’re not a motorhand, I’ll pay the difference in your salary for a year. It’s not much, so don’t get too excited, but I’m serious. You saw how I paid Becki when I lost that bet. As you lose the weight, you’ll get more respect, and the work will become easier. There’s no reason you can know so much about fantasy football and not this job. Who knows. You might get promoted as you are. But, nothing to actually do with the weight, I’m sure you will if you lose the weight. Lose the weight.
“Chris, I’m giving your gift to you kinda backwards. Here’s some batteries. You’ll also get my flashlight and crescent and pliers before I leave. What I want to say to you is that you’re tall and not just for a Mexican. I’ve seen tall men get promoted my whole life for simply being tall. People want to follow tall men. But you work for a company which values character above all else. So take advantage of that. In the Air Force we said that Integrity First means doing the right thing when no one is looking. I’ve seen you not do the right thing occasionally. We’ve all done it. But I challenge you to do better. Recently you have been and it made me proud every time no matter my reaction in the moment. Everyone will follow a tall man with character.
“Becki, as you know it was love at first sight. I got you not one, not two, not three, not four, but five cans of snuff. They didn’t have it in a log. I’m sorry if that takes away some of the thrill of opening it. What I want to say to you is that you have to tell the women you’re sleeping with that you have an STD. If it’s not against the law not to, it’s at least unethical. I also want you to know that you have limitless potential. You can do anything you want. I mean it.
“Richard, iTunes for you too. What I want to say to you is thank you for keeping us safe. Thank you for keeping me safe. Nobody needs to get hurt on this job. You keep us safe by your professionalism and the fact that you stick to the rules. More than that, you keep all the other crews on this rig safe by having a reputation for sticking to the rules. Other drillers know you’re out here doing it right and that helps tip the scales when they are uncertain how to act. Regarding your marriage, one time while I was in Iraq my mom told me to “hold her like a butterfly.” I never did figure out what that means, but maybe you will and maybe it’ll keep you married.
“That’s it. Let’s finish out these last two days safely and go home.”
1. First, nobody likes people who try too hard. And a good eye-catching headline, such as, “Did Michael Jackson Secretly Confess to Janet That He Was Guilty?” or my favorite one from LinkedIn of late, “10 Reasons You Should Quit Your Job in 2014”, these types of headlines that really beg the reader to point-and-click reek of strong cologne before a big date. Rather than trying too hard, it’s better if you try just the right amount.
2. Second, your reputation is worth more than the ad revenue generated by clicks. And readers often feel let down when they discover (again) that Michael Jackson didn’t confess anything to Janet, and that there is not one good reason, let alone ten, to quit working in 2014. After time, people will question your integrity and motivations.
3. Third, and finally, the most enticing headlines are always one mistake away from pissing readers off.
“So R-, you’re officially a father now, how’s that going?” Pete asked R- as R- walked through the door to the trailer.
R- didn’t waste time setting down his cooler and slipping off his tennis shoes in favor of house shoes. The blue cooler with a white lid and handle was bigger than the lunch pails previous oil men likely brought to work, but, then again, so was the man.
“This place is a mess. Don’t worry, we’ll fix that,” R- noted. Then, ignoring Pete’s initial greeting and question in favor of following a just-launched pinball’s unexpected path, R- asked, “You get a girlfriend over days-off Pete?”
“Na,” said Pete with little effort. “I think I told you I was planning on bowling a lot. Well, one night there was a pretty good looking brunette, but she was with some guys. I couldn’t tell if one was her boyfriend. In any case, I was too much of a chicken to attempt to chat her up.”
“Bowling?” R- said, with no small confusion shaping his face. “You need to go to the clubs. There is nothing like chicks that want dick.”
“Man, that’s what I missed these last two weeks,” Pete began. “Hold that thought, let me get my phone. I need to write this down,” Pete said, smiling as he shuffled sideways past the deep freezer that took up most of the already narrow hallway that led to his room. Returning in a jiff, his movements were a little awkward as he attempted to walk and type on his phone. “Okay, I’m back. So how’d you say it? You said, ‘There’s nothing like chicks that want dick,’ is that right?”
“What? You’re going to blog this?” R- smirked.
“The people need to know. I don’t meet too many people who can surprise me every time they talk. You, my friend, are one of the lucky few,” Pete flattered.
“You know what your blog needs?” asked R-.
Despite his previous positive sentiment, Pete’s disdain for unsolicited advice regarding his blog, in addition to his being tired, caused his mood to take a turn for the worst. “No. What does my blog need?” he asked.
“Pictures,” R- pronounced.
“No. My blog is simply a writing blog. I think pictures are too easy,” Pete retorted.
“Like one of me holding heads–like Taliban style,” R- added, arms extended, hands clenching the imaginary hair of just beheaded infidels.
Shaking his head while attempting to look past R-‘s eyes and into his soul, Pete twisted his tongue between his teeth in a last ditch effort to resist the smile he knew would form no matter what. Fishing his phone out of his pocket once more, he could only say, “You are out of control.”
Well, that’s not entirely true. One movie came to mind on about day four as I was beginning to realize that a lot of family, not to mention my one friend, would want to know what exactly it was like to work on a rig. Maybe even you are curious to know. Here’s my best effort to convey understanding and feeling of the job, and why it appeals to me.
It’s a lot like Lord of the Rings. Like the quest to destroy the Precious, in which all participants agree that there is no value in attempting any action that does not assist in accomplishing that invaluable end, the oil fields have one goal. One. Every single activity supports that goal. In other words, the concept ‘efficiency’ has yet to be developed as there is no need to distinguish efficient action from inefficient action.
Also like LOTR, meals are on the go. And every once in a while a Legolas shows up with a food whose calorie content is such that “one small bite will fill the stomach of a grown man.” Naturally, the food is consumed with little regard for this fact. And in similar fashion to Samwise’s indefatigably loving disposition towards food, all conclude that it tastes great.
Moreover, there is a comedic relief at every turn, and something about the nature of being part of such a singular mission attracts people with fully-developed personalities. Put simply, characters abound.
Lastly, just as no one but Frodo can carry the ring to Mount Doom, in the oil fields there is no one else coming to do the work. If something heavy must be lifted, if something stuck must be unstuck, if something dirty must be cleaned, if someone clean must get dirty, that’s what must happen. Nothing stops the mission. Not the clock, not the weather, not the calendar. Not past performance, not best intentions, not relationships, not feelings. Nothing.
The ring must be destroyed.
“Man, we knocked this lot out quick!” he thought to himself, looking up after the concluding push of the shovel. Turning towards his co-worker, Pete caught the tail end of his favorite human activity to witness: unexpected sharp pain–albeit temporary–caused by extreme focus on less important things. In other words, he just watched his buddy nearly knock himself out as he hit his head on a post that intense shoveling had hidden from sight.
As if physical touch could heal all wounds, Pete kept a constant hand on the man’s shoulder while laughing and asked, “Oh man. Are you okay? You really hit that thing hard.”
“Stop laughing man,” the third worker on the project admonished, shaking his head.
“It’s okay,” the injured man said, still not himself. “It’s not my head, but my cheek. My mouth was open and I bit my cheek really hard. Ahh!..shit,” he let out, trying to maintain his man card.
His fingertips still in contact with the wounded man, Pete nearly doubled over with a guffaw that revealed itself to be only the engine of a freight train carrying mankind’s most precious cargo–uncontrollable giggling.
“Jesus Pete!” the third man again chimed in, attempting to add some reasonableness to the situation.
“You don’t…giggle…understand,” Pete managed. “Watching that happen was like seeing a double rainbow. I can’t let social graces ruin this moment! Teehee. He almost knocked himself out and bit his cheek. Man…hahaha…I wish I could’ve seen him when his mouth opened. It was probably all the way. BwaHAAhahaha! Don’t tell me you’ve never noticed that when people bite their tongue or cheek their mouths open to the extreme. It’s like upon chomping down the body screams to the mouth, ‘OPEN!! Open, open, open! Disregard any other thoughts; just open to your widest. Now! And whatever you do, don’t bite down again until we can fully assess the damage.'”
After he had finished his defense, as one they asked, “What’s wrong with you?”
A man doing manual labor with a hand towel draped over his shoulder is the hardest worker in the company, and I cannot be convinced otherwise.
The thought of running a microwave for more than seven minutes at a time terrifies me more than anything. I have no idea why.
If the people I see that are wealthy are what you have to be like to become wealthy, I don’t want any part of it.
People seem to be unclear on the point of bumper stickers. Bumper stickers should tell us something we don’t already know about you. Two groups seem especially unclear on this. First, hybrid owners: you don’t need to put a sticker on your car that says anything about being pro-green–we get it. Second, African-Americans: pro-Obama stickers? Is it to shame the remaining 7% of you who didn’t vote for him?
Studies and experience seem to reveal that the more educated people become, the less children they have. Of all human behaviors worth researching with the intent of reversing its course, this one needs the most attention soonest.
Why? Why are you doing this to us? What are you even doing to us? We haven’t felt this way in years. Decades.
Don’t you remember the days when sitting is all that you had us do? Whether at a desk or in the cockpit? Weren’t those pleasant? Sure, you didn’t seem to be that stimulated, but at least we had it easy. Not everyone gets their way all the time you know.
Look at us now. Feel us now. Can’t you tell that we’re exhausted? So much running. And for what? Oh, and I spoke to Fingers the other day, they told me not to say anything, but they’re starting to feel it too. What about your piano? Are you really going to let Fingers become too tired to tickle the ol’ ivories?
We just don’t understand it. What are you running from? Responsibility? Failure? It doesn’t make sense. We used to live in harmony, and now look at us. Muscle mass is shrinking, and we’re sore all the time.
We aren’t saying we can’t keep up, we just believe you are underachieving at the moment. Remember what Bruce said in TDK? “I believe in Harvey Dent.” Well, we believe in you! We’re with you. No matter how far this road goes, we won’t let you fall. Just please consider us in the softer moments. Please. Okay, that’s all. Try to get us some rest.
And with that they were out the door.
As usual, she ran to the car, and verbalized her victory upon touching the driver’s side passenger door–her door. He simply shook his head and said, “Yep. Looks like you beat me again.” He opened his door, placed everything in the car and started it. Then he opened her door and put her in her car seat.
Getting back into the driver’s seat, he backed the car out of the garage. Next, he put the car in park and got out. The recent week of sub-freezing temperatures took their toll on the garage door opener, so he was forced to use more than just his finger muscles to open and close the garage. In a jiff, he was back in the car and they were on their way.
At the daycare, he grabbed her nap stuff from the front seat and told her she could start unbuckling and get out. Like always, she seemed to not hear this command, and he was at her door before she could comply. She happily dropped down to the cement, and reminded him about the dangers of walking on ice.
Leaving her with the teacher, he walked out of the building briskly. He had time, but never liked the feeling of being rushed. There was something rewarding about getting to work early enough to be able to sit in the car for a moment before going in.
He pulled into the parking garage, and turned off the car. Reaching for his lunch, he nearly jumped.
“MOTHER EFFER!” he shouted. “GOD DANG IT! I know I grabbed it this morning.”
His mind raced to figure out what he would eat for lunch now that he had discovered he left his on the counter.
Walking past the passenger door, his peripheral vision picked up on a grocery sack which looked awfully similar to the ones he packed his lunches in. Turning for confirmation, a shudder of relief almost knocked him off his feet.
“I knew I didn’t forget it,” he said, impressed at his ability to believe a lie.