Construction Worker

What is a Construction Worker?

It has been my pleasure, sincerely, to have had the honor of working in a field that might be loosely termed as “construction.” As a child, a “construction” worker always brought forth images of concrete being poured onto a busted up road, in the opposite lane as the one your parents were driving in. My first bout with construction, or construction work (it is now time to lose the quotation marks), came during the summer before my senior year of high school, and lasted only three months. I was employed by a company called S B; Custom Homes, established in Wyndmere, North Dakota, and it was there I learned, or realized, that construction workers are really, technically, anyone who constructed something. At S B;, we built houses (I mostly doing the grunt work), and the term construction worker applied to the men who worked around me. So it was that summer, to the best of my knowledge, that the epiphany (however small and irrelevant it was) happened.

Recently, not two days ago, the opportunity befell upon me to work for an edgy, but happy, owner of a hotel line, who needed extra help (grunt work) with some of the odd jobs around a new building he was having built. The owner is a bald, but young-looking, man, with eyes that might be brown, but certainly hold a shade of green. I’ve never seen him unenthusiastic. Like this man’s apparent zeal toward life, the hotel building is very large and expansive. It is in its final stages and is scheduled to open in a month. Around work, the owner calls people “buddy” and “pal” and says things like, “Great job, there, buddy, yeah, keep up what you’re doing, because you’re doing it perfectly.”

It would be one thing to make assumptions about construction workers, and who they are, just by glancing at them out of the car windows, or from across the street. So, consequentially, keeping in mind how shallow assumptions can be, I’m going to justify any assuming I happen to do by spanning time and focusing, at least in my head, on life in the construction zone, and call it “experience.”

Generalizing is typically a poor thing to do, as it really has to do with judgment, negativity, and overall prejudice. But I’m going to do it anyway. This does not mean that it is right, and moral justification is not given to me just by making this pathetic disclaimer. Generalization, I’ve just decided, is going to be a good word for “observation.” What did I notice about construction workers and their environment? And then I must talk about the links between observations, the general, overlapping areas that might be worthwhile to comment on.

Because really, in all actuality, I like construction workers, in general, of course. They are constructing something, and not tearing it down. And, in this day and age, especially in America, construction is good, and certainly better than “destruction”, which is more the purpose and drive of the American armed forces. So, I guess, God bless construction workers, and all the constructing they do.

A healthy, proper, deserves-a-slap-on-the-back construction worker is, first of all, tough. He is mentally solid, able to wake up every morning willing to tackle the elements and work with obstinate materials that are much stronger, physically, than he. Although not as stalwart as metal or wood, the construction worker is hardy. He doesn’t mind getting cut. He doesn’t care if he bleeds a little, or has snot frozen to his upper lip. He is not afraid of climbing into tight spaces, lying on his back and having dust and dirt fall into his eyes, or slipping from a perched position and falling to the ground. Of course, with all of this being written, it is important to note that the construction worker is not suicidal, and it is not his aim to die. He is mentally tough enough to not account for the physical hazards that might be very loudly marching in his direction. And when physical hazards happen, like scrapes and cuts, blisters and the occasional broken bone, he is okay with it.

The American construction worker also craves classic rock. Something about old Led Zeppelin tunes, or an AC/DC guitar riff, fire up those gentlemen. Lucy In the Sky With Diamonds, everyday, if not twice a day. Pink Floyd. Journey. The construction worker is not afraid to embrace the past, and never let go. He is not afraid of listening to the same music over and over again, never getting sick of it, as long as it happens to be classic rock. He is not afraid to shun the future, either, whether it be listening to a new song or learning how to read.

The average, but respectable, construction worker, carries a dip of chew in his bottom lip first thing in the morning. At the construction site, it is highly-regarded by all in company to drop a fat wad of brown juice from between your lips onto the floor, wherever you happen to be. That wad had better be fat, though, because, while there is nothing to audibly say about a hearty shot of chew juice, the banter never ends when a tiny, clingy dribble of brown saliva hangs from the lips of a colleague, who struggles to break it by loudly blowing air. Chewing tobacco is also enjoyed by the construction worker before the morning lunch break, before noon, right after noon break, and the entire afternoon.

The construction worker also values simple orders and answers. He doesn’t get caught up in deep conversations, whether it be religion, politics, or excuses. The construction worker believes that talk is cheap. This is apparent at any construction site by simply listening to the sporadic “ohs” “ums” “umm humms” and cuss words.

The construction worker refuses to wear safety equipment. He will take wood chips in his eyes, suffer hearing loss due to relentless saws and grinders, and will blacken his lungs by breathing in particles of concrete, sheetrock, insulation, etc. Like earlier stated, the construction worker is tough.

While he may, or may not, have a good woman at home, the construction worker is not afraid of women. He believes woman to be weaker than man, but enjoys ogling over one with a nice body. He enjoys hitting his co-workers in the ribs with his elbow and pointing toward an attractive (sometimes not even that attractive) woman and saying things like, “Boy, lookee her” or “Ha, what I wouldn’t give ta take her for a roll.” It is through statements such as these, which do get more vulgar and offensive from time to time, that manifest a true appreciation and respect from construction workers toward the weaker sex. It is important to note that each construction worker loves his wife dearly and would do nothing to harm her. After a few beers, or dares from his buddies, however, his wife becomes less important, and the desired female the more imminent. But that isn’t the construction worker’s fault because, in that world, it is of the utmost importance to prove manliness, which might, from time to time, mean the testing out of other women other than his wife.

And that is the construction worker of America. He is much more dynamic than what is written above, but to understand anything, a base must be applied before more complexities are added. A firm grounding, therefore, is hoped to have been created for you, Reader, on the clarification of the construction worker.

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