This is probably only pertinent to the ones that have or presently are working in the oilfields. I can remember when I was only 27 (43 years ago) and working as a roughneck in the oilfields of Oklahoma. The following story is my recollection of an incidence during that time.
My Paw, brother and I were part of a 4 man crew working for Cactus Drilling out of San Angelo, Texas. The 4th was the town drunk.
We needed a person to complete our 4 man crew. Therefore we go the town drunk that lived across the street from my Paw.
When we picked him up for the long drive to work he was decidedly drunk. Reeking of wine we loaded him in the back seat.
At the rig, we hustled him out and propped his almost unconscious body against a leg of the jack-knife rig. We didn’t care if he was awake or not, just as long as the pusher, should he drive up could count 4 people working.
We were making a trip (pulling the pipe out of the hole, change the bit and put the pipe back into the hole). My brother Mike was throwing the chain and working the tongs (giant wrenches to help in twisting the pipe apart). My Paw was the driller and I worked the derrick.
It had been raining somewhat and I wore a slicker suit (top and trousers) to ward off the rain. I jumped on the elevator (sort of tongs to help in pulling the pipe from the hole), rode it up to the derrick and jumped off to the 4 inch piece of metal where I was to stand. Donning my safety belt (to help lean out over the edge to catch the pipe), many times I was almost completely horizontal, I proceeded to work.
Finally we were finished with the trip and I was to jump on the elevator (one did not miss as it was a long way to the ground) and ride down.
Anyway I started to jump then thought, “Bobby, you don’t want to wear that wet slicker down as it was too slick for any proper hold on the elevator.”
I stepped back and pulled the slicker off, rolled it into a bundle and just threw it down.
It was at that time Roy came out of his stupor and looked up. All he saw was the slicker falling. I imagine that in his minds eye it was me falling. The slicker top arms came undone form the bundle and all he could see was the arms flapping in the wind.
“He’s fallen!” Roy said and immediately passed out, still propped up against the leg of the rig.
I came down and looked at my Paw with a question in my eye. Paw just shrugged and told me our shift was over.
My brother and I loaded poor ole Roy in the back seat of our car and started Our long trip back home. Needless to say I was tired so I went to sleep next to Roy in the back seat. Soon Roy came back to conscious long enough to glance over and see my sleeping body.
” He’s dead!” Roy shouted and promptly passed out again.
We finally reached home and deposited our drunk friend. As Mike and I were helping Roy to the door, he came to again and saw me holding his right arm, he quickly shook my arm off and ran screaming toward his front door. Shows one what alcohol will do to you.
To this day I don’t believe that Roy ever stepped into the oilfield!!!!