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Back in the old days some of the drilling rigs were quite slack on safety practices. I was working derricks for a driller that was just about the smartest man that I had ever met. I know this as fact because he told me so. The derrick lights were spliced on about every 10 ft. to 15 ft. apart. The cable was ragged out, frayed and really worn out wire. This was instant death for anyone that touched it. The wind had been blowing and had broken some of the lights as it whipped against the derrick.
I was the most experienced roughneck on the crew and I was the derrick hand. I had already been roughneckín more than a month. Itís a shame that I was the best he had.
Eddie the driller said climb up there and change out those light bulbs. I ask if it would be possible to wait for it to quit raining and blowing so hard. Eddie already had a 5 gallon bucket full of rags and diesel burning under the weight indicator and still couldnít see good enough. He couldnít see even if it was daylight. He couldnít hear either. I believe that was my first encounter of optional or selectable hearing, he only heard what he wanted to hear and didnít want to hear about the rain and wind.
I told him that with no climbing belt or anything to hold me if I slipped, the chances of me falling were very good.
His exact works were:
ďIf you donít learn to fly before you hit the floor, youíre fired.Ē