Category Archives: Current Events

“I lost my job today”

I ran across this post on Facebook from Mike Rowe. If you don’t know who Mike is…he was host of Dirty Jobs on the Discovery Channel for years and now is sort of a freelance media personality. He’s always been focused on the everyday guy, which is refreshing in this media age of celebrities who are celebrities for no apparent reason. For our purposes, though, this underscores the role of writing in everyday life and challenges assumptions about a guy who “relies on a strong back and good hands to make ends meet.” Mike shared this post on his own FB page from a fan of his, Jake Welch.

The original FB post can be found here.

From Mike Rowe’s Off The Wall

One of the more annoying stereotypes that plague hardworking people, is the persistent assumption that a man who relies on a strong back and good hands to make ends meet, does so in part because he can’t express himself in writing. Of all the things I admire about this post, which I just plucked from my wall, I’m most impressed by the way it utterly debunks that foolish and unwarranted perception. Beyond that, I can only hope that re-posting it here will increase the odds of Jake Welch getting hired on with all due speed. Someone in the oil business would be damn lucky to have him…

Jake Welch
January 28 at 6:36am ·
I lost my job today.
There it is. Technically, I found out this would be my last trip on this rig nearly a month ago. Worked the whole hitch with the knowledge that when my feet touch solid ground today, I’ll receive a phone call or email to terminate me. This is the oilfield in 2016. I am not the only one. In fact, I am in the company of tens of thousands who will now sit down at their kitchen table for the modern equivalent of cutting out newspaper listings. I spent over five years on this rig, made friends from all over the world. I’ve turned wrenches alongside those who trust me with their lives, and I with theirs. There are few other careers that result in the kind of bond between crew. And after these five years, I’ll see very few of them ever again in my life. And it breaks my fucking heart.
So, now I fly home and turn the page. Because there’s no other way. I was raised to be a man of action; not to sit with my head hung low and wait for someone else to put the pieces back together. My wife and I will do that together, with the support of the greatest circle of friends and family we could ever dream of. I don’t want a single “I’m so sorry” in the comments of this post, or anyone’s condolences. Please, hang on to them. It’s not about my own pride, or dignity. It’s simply that I am grateful for the life I have and the opportunities before me. There are people blindsided by horrific tragedies every day, and mine is not one of them. Offer your apologies to those individuals, as they could surely benefit more than me.
We will move forward because it’s all we know. And if it gets harder before it gets easier, then so it shall be. I’m admittedly a little anxious about what the future holds, but I am unafraid. This month at work has been the most challenging period I’ve ever worked through, and it has served to demonstrate the strength of the woman who holds my home together in my absence. Everyone says their significant other is the greatest on earth; as they rightly should. But I will tell you without a shadow of doubt, that my wife is made of something very few would even understand. She is my better half, and I would not have lasted two minutes offshore this trip if not for her guidance and support. I work to be everything a real man should be, and part of that means appreciating that sometimes he is not strong enough to take the world on alone.
Here’s to pouring a glass with my family and friends who’ve stood by my side every day, and to getting back on the rails. It simply is what it is, and it’s time to move on. The world is full of compression ignition engines and screaming turbochargers, waiting for a worthy hand on the throttle. I am that man.

A Quick Word on SC’s Confederate Flag

A Confederate flag is displayed at the South Carolina state capitol in Columbia January 9, 2008. Many U.S. presidential campaigns shift their focus to South Carolina today for their first test in the south--the historic flag, which until 2000 flew from the capitol dome, is for some a symbol of the state's political and racial divisions.  REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst   (UNITED STATES) - RTX5DUD

A Confederate flag is displayed at the South Carolina state capitol in Columbia January 9, 2008. Many U.S. presidential campaigns shift their focus to South Carolina today for their first test in the south–the historic flag, which until 2000 flew from the capitol dome, is for some a symbol of the state’s political and racial divisions. REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst (UNITED STATES) – RTX5DUD

I am a SC native and resident. I remember every gubernatorial election and debate that ran up to the removal of the flag from the Statehouse dome in 2000. I also enjoy vexillology and history. Right now, the national conversation about the shootings in Charleston (the deeds of a racist madman) has renewed debate on removing the flag altogether from the Statehouse grounds (in my mind, a wise decison). Looking past the value judgments, let’s examine some frequently asked questions.

Q: How did it get there?

A: In 1962, the all-white legislature voted to place the flag atop the dome in what was considered an oppositional gesture against the Civil Rights Movement. The official reason given was the anniversary of the Civil War, but that would have been 1961, so it’s anyone’s guess. It remained there ever since.

Q: Why is it flying over a monument now?

A: What flies over the Confederate monument on the Statehouse grounds is a slightly different flag. What was above the dome was the Confederate Naval Jack; what flies over the monument is the Army of Northern Virginia Battle Flag, designed by William Porcher Miles. In 2000, the State Legislature passed the South Carolina Heritage Act, which effectively removed the flag from atop the dome and placed a different flag at the monument.

Q: Why wasn’t that flag placed at half-staff when the others were?

A: Logistics and symbolism. Logistically, the flagpole at the monument doesn’t adjust. So it’s either all the way up or all the way down. Symbolically, that flag is not representative of a sovereign entity. Flags at half-staff are usually either federal, state, or local. You may see private homes that fly their decorative flags at half-staff, but insofar as flag code goes, only sovereign flags are of consequence. The flag at the monument is a memorial flag and represents no sovereign entity, so it doesn’t count.

Q: Okay, so it’s a historical flag. Why isn’t it in a museum?

A: The Heritage Act requires a vote of the Legislature before any action is taken on the monument and flag. As of this writing, there is some support in the Legislature to take it down. We will see how that pans out. (Editorial: Why opponents of removing the flag believe that taking it down will somehow dishonor the memory of the dead is beyond me. No one has asked to tear up the monument. It’s only a question of removing a banner that is causing a lot of trouble and heartache. Seems to me that we would better honor past and present by compromising.)