It’s the little things
By: Bryan Goldner
It’s the little things that you remember about a job most clearly. I think years from now I might not remember what project I was working on or where, but I will remember the seemingly small, yet hilarious events that got me through the days. I’ll remember the savory bite from a freshly made hamburger followed by a slip and then a Dwyane Wade style slam dunk into the fire pit. I’ll remember a lottery bear tag accidentally expiring and the subsequent wrath of a Paul Bunyan mode crew leader when the realization set in that the bear rug would have to wait another year. You may find, that in your work, you won’t recall the rock you had to detach from the mantle of the Earth or the tree that got hung up so bad that it’s probably still out there… but instead the quirks of the people you interact with on a daily basis and the laughs you’ve had in between.
Sometimes, for hours, all you may hear is the hum of a brush saw or the steady scrape of a Pulaski. When you gather around for lunch some stay locked in the meditative state that anyone who has spent eight hours strapped to a brush saw knows well. Other times it’s all talk, about everything, anything and sometimes nothing at all. If a stranger were to stumble upon one of our lunchtime conversations it would probably resemble the ill conceived lovechild of 60 minutes, Jerry Springer and SNL. The possibilities are endless and the tangents are very, very real. So much so, that I can specifically recall a wager as to whether a squirrel, larger than a red squirrel, but smaller than a fox squirrel, could be used as a personal defense weapon, and if so could it be applied without using it as a projectile. (Mike, you’re going down on this one. The personal defense squirrel has the potential to replace pepper spray in all capacities and will be widely adopted as the next non-lethal… I digress, but you get the point.)
We start each morning stretch with a question passed around the circle. The point of the exercise is that by the end of the year you know a little more about each crew member and eventually a lot about how they think. I know that if Ben could be a hybrid of any two animals he would be a veloci-goat (half velociraptor, half mountain goat). I know what kind of bug that Sam would be, what kind of bug she would ride, what kind of bug she would hunt and what kind of bug she would have as a pet. I know that the worst thing Mike could win a lifetime supply of and not give away would be tampons and that if Rosie had to choose between having hooks for hands or wooden peg legs, she would have peg legs. Individually those things seem irrelevant and not particularly revealing, but over time they add to the personality you enjoy about that person. It’s the little things that your crewmates reveal to you each day that compose the experience that you will look back on.