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Mi Matica

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posted by Jay on September 14th, 2009 at 8:26 PM

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OilFieldTrash bars are always fun. Some of the best include Top Gun in Jakarta, The Polo Bar in London, The Bar in Midland, all of the bars in Odessa, The Waterhole in Amsterdam, Drillerís in Houston, Cactus Jackís or Pancho Villaís in Dubai, The Petroleum Club in Den Helder, The Imperial Hotel in Aberdeen, The Barracuda or Checker Bar in Luanda, The Stork Bar in Beirut, Mi Vacita in Lake Maracaibo and Mi Matica in Anaco, Venezuela. Nancy and her sisters used to run ďMi MaticaĒ in Anaco, Venezuela. ďMi MaticaĒ means little tree but the tree is now very big. It has no air-conditioning and never will have. Every afternoon everybody that worked in the oil fields around Anaco would pass by this little bar on the way home. The oil field workers change through the years but these little bars do not. These people become your family because they listen and put up with you when no one else will. It may have something to do with how much money you spend but it feels like family when you donít have one. The all knowing wizards of the oilfield are almost nearly always present in these bars and normally start showing up around three oíclock in the afternoon. Nobody wants to be bothered after three oíclock with work anyway. In Odessa it could be a lot earlier because smart bar owners build a fence around their parking lot so that your boss canít find your company car. This worked pretty good before cell phones. Lots of stuff has changed since those days. In the old days you got chewed out if you werenít buying drinks for some company man every afternoon. Now you get piss tested and run off for having a drink. It was expected of the roughnecks to be roughnecks. Now, you just get run off. There used to be whiskey bit salesmen. When you bought a drill bit from any company they asked you what kind of whiskey you liked and a jug of it showed up on your desk or in your car or maybe with the bit. The point is the whiskey got there. If a casing crew came to location without bringing the company man a Blue Bag, he would run them off and call somebody that had whiskey. It was expected. It was normal. My driller had a crew car supplied by the drilling contractor and we kept beer iced down for the ride home. Once upon a time while working for Sharpe out of Monahans, ole drill got just a little bit too full and crashed the crew car, right after he let me out. When something like that happens the whole crew gets the golden bullet. We thought it sucked then. Itís lots worse now. I saw a drilling rig man pay a $28,000 bar tab in Bahrain for a drilling company at the Middle East Oil Show. J.R. could and would get a guy in trouble if you didnít watch out. He proved that the next time I ran into him down in Jakarta. When he walked in the door, I told him that I would have payed $1,000 to not see him. Normally when you run into J.R. it will end up costing more than just $1,000 in hide alone. We got started pretty good at the Top Gun and then we ended up in The Club before losing the Mother Tongue. It was OilFieldTrash gone wild once again. Brother Dave had a big hand in all of this partying but J.R. took a very active part. I have been told that Mr. Halliburton said that he bought more alcohol and drank less of it than anybody in the world and that is probably true. At Poncho Villaís in Dubai every Thursday afternoon was party time. The particular time that I am thinking about was Hitlerís Birthday and there was a big German contingent celebrating the occasion. It was nothing for a service company to pick up the whole tab for the afternoon and your boss was happy. There are drilling men in this world that can do a better job drunk than most men could sober and thatís the truth. Although in fairness I have also been chewed out at 5 am. by a drilling superintendent that was really drunk. I didnít stay for him to finish chewing on me. I just racked up my things and left. Drunks donít chew me out on the phone. If they want to stand in front of me and try their luck, more power to them. This particular morning I told my wife/swamper to get in the truck at 05:30 and it was a tossup whether I would go to OKC and kick Anthonyís lips off or just go home. I chose to just go home and let somebody else kill him. My wife/swamper was mad until we got back in Texas. I think buying her a new pair of cowboy boots helped get her happy again. I didnít have to put up with crap out of a drilling superintendent drunk or sober. Times have changed. You used to do business in a bar, but all of that has gone now. Now, one must wear his gentlemen clothes and go play golf or to a fishing tournament. I have been too drunk to fish only a couple of times in my life. Donít get too drunk while shooting sporting clays. Itís not a good idea. L.B. died from drinking. Elmo wrecked his car while drunk and it killed him. Jim had to have some of his pieces removed because of it. Going to jail, losing families, spending all of your money and nobody respecting you all come with the bottle. One day you will put it down or it will put you down. I did.

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