GONE FISHIN’ – THE HARD WAY

BY DAVE GLASGOW

(WEBMASTER NOTE: Recently I issued a writing contest, in which I challenged lifters to write about an unusual training implement/device that they use in their training. The stories were submitted and judged, and I’m going to initially publish the top three stories in the USAWA Daily News as they were the contest award winners. Thank you to everyone who submitted stories for this competition, as they were all excellent. Here’s story RANKED NUMBER ONE:)

THIS IS MY DAD, DOING WHAT I REMEMBER HIM FOR, WORKING.

“DAD!!  WE GOT A FISHIN’ JOB!”, I SAID, OVER THE PAY PHONE.  “CHRIST!!”  WHAT HAPPENED THIS TIME???”, WAS HIS REPLY.  HE KNEW, FROM PREVIOUS EXPERIENCE,  THAT A CALL FROM ME AT SEVEN IN THE EVENING WAS NEVER GOOD NEWS.   AS I EXPLAINED WHAT HAD OCCURRED, I COULD HEAR MUMBLED, MUFFLED WORDS AND CURSES I HAD NOT PREVIOUSLY BEEN EXPOSED TO, COMING FROM HIS END OF THE RECEIVER! BEING IN OUR OCCUPATION, THAT WAS SAYING SOMETHING!

FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO DON’T KNOW ME, I WAS BORNE, BAPTISED AND RAISED IN THE ‘OIL PATCH’(DAMN PROUD OF IT!).  I HAVE SPOKEN OF IT PREVIOUSLY IN A COUPLE OF ARTICLES I WROTE ABOUT WHAT WE DID WITH OUR DRILLING BUSINESS.  THIS WAS DIRTY, HARD, HEAVY LABOR, IN ALL SORTS OF WEATHER.  THE DRILLING ASPECT OF THE JOB WAS THE ‘EASY’ PART DUE TO THE FACT THAT, IF ALL WENT WELL, THERE WAS A LOT OF ‘ASS TIME’.  THIS PARTICULAR OCCASION, HOWEVER, WAS NOT GOING TO BE ONE OF THOSE TIMES.

THE “FISHIN’ JOB” I REFERRED TO EARLIER IS IN REFERENCE TO OUR STRING OF TOOLS BEING LOST AT THE BOTTOM OF THE HOLE, ABOUT 200’ BELOW THE SURFACE OF THE EARTH.  THE REASON FOR THIS IS THAT THE ‘ROPE SOCKET’ THAT HELD THE CABLE TO THE REST OF THE ‘TOOLS’ HAD, UNFORTUNATELY, TWISTED OFF (COME UNSCREWED). WHEN THIS EVENT HAPPENS, IT RUINS THE THREADS THAT ARE ON THE INSIDE OF THE ‘ROPE SOCKET’, RENDERING IT USELESS.  WE HAD SEVERAL OTHERS AND THIS PARTICULAR ONE WAS CAST ASIDE UNTIL IT COULD BE RETHREADED AND PUT BACK INTO SERVICE.

FURTHER, TO RETRIEVE THE TOOLS, YOU, LITERALLY, HAD TO ‘FISH’ THEM OUT WITH A DEVICE THAT TOOK A FRICTION HOLD TO THE TOP OF THE TOOLS AND, IF THE DRILLING GODS WERE IN A GOOD  MOOD, PRESTO!, YOU WERE BACK IN BUSINESS. THE FACT THAT THIS HAPPENED ON THIS PARTICULAR DAY WAS ESPECIALLY PROBLEMATIC AS WE WERE BEING PRESSURED TO FINISH THE WELL, IN ORDER FOR THE ‘BIG RIG’ TO COME IN AND GO TO THE TOTAL DEPTH.  THIS WOULD ONLY SET US BACK A WHOLE DAY, IF WE WERE LUCKY.

WELL, THE GODS MUST HAVE BEEN SNOOZING BECAUSE WE SNEAKED BY THEM AND GOT OUR STRING OF TOOLS ON THE FIRST RUN!!

UNFORTUNATELY FOR US, THE OIL PATCH PETERED OUT IN THE EARLY ‘80s AND I WAS LOOKING FOR WORK.  THE ROPE SOCKET WAS NEVER REPAIRED AND SAT WITH THE OTHER, RUSTING TOOLS AND RELICS OF A DAY GONE BY.  I TOOK A COURSE TO A COMPLETELY DIFFERENT DIRECTION, CAREER WISE, AND LEFT THE OIL PATCH FAR BEHIND.

JUMP AHEAD 20 YEARS.  MY FAMILY AND I EXPERIENCED A NUMBER OF ‘CHALLENGES’ IN THE FORM OF ILLNESS, DEATH AND HARDSHIP.  THIS ALL CAME ABOUT IN THE PERIOD OF ABOUT EIGHTEEN MONTHS.  CONSEQUENTLY, I MUST CONFESS, I HAD HAD ABOUT ALL I COULD TAKE.

THE ROPE SOCKET I USE FOR MY 'ALTERNATE' TRAINING.

SIGNIFICANTLY FOR THIS STORY, FOR SOME REASON, THROUGH THE YEARS, I REMEMBERED THAT ROPE SOCKET  AND HOW I ALWAYS THOUGHT IT WOULD BE A GOOD WAY TO DO SOME ‘ALTERNATE’ TRAINING. SO, THE NIGHT PRIOR TO A HUGE SURGICAL PROCEDURE THAT I WAS TO HAVE,  I FIGURED THIS WAS AS GOOD A TIME AS ANY TO FIND OUT.

 I TOOK THE SHORT DRIVE TO THE FAMILY FARM (LEDAIG, TRUELY, MY ‘SAFE HAVEN/HARBOUR’), FOUND THAT ROPE SOCKET AND PROCEDED TO HAVE ONE, ‘LAST WORKOUT’ BEFORE BEING INCAPACITATED FOR, WHAT TURNED OUT TO BE, A NUMBER OF WEEKS.  THE FACT THAT I JUST BURIED MY BELOVED DAD TWO DAYS BEFORE JUST ADDED TO THE INTENSITY AND EMOTION.  YOU SEE, MY DAD AND I ALWAYS SHARED A LOVE OF THE OIL PATCH(NOT TO MENTION, EACH OTHER) AND I SAW THIS AS A WAY TO ‘CONNECT’ WITH HIM ONE LAST TIME AND PHYSICALLY READY MYSELF FOR WHATEVER WAS TO COME.

NOW, FOLKS, THE ROPE SOCKET IN QUESTION, WEIGHTS, I WOULD GUESS 175 POUNDS.  I HAVE NEVER WEIGHTED IT, AND, TO ME, IT IS NOT IMPORTANT.  IT’S HEAVY FOR ME AND THAT IS ALL THAT MATTERS.

AS I HAVE TOLD MOST OF YOU AT ONE TIME OR ANOTHER, I DO NOT CONSIDER MYSELF THAT STRONG OF PERSON.  I CERTAINLY DO NOT DO WELL AT CLEANING THE WEIGHT.  HOWEVER, THAT EVENING, I CLEANED AND PRESSED THAT ROPE SOCKET AT LEAST 30 TIMES IN AN HOUR.  EVERYTIME I WOULD START TO GET TIRED, I JUST HAD TO THINK OF DAD, THE PROCEDURE TO COME, WHAT OUR FAMILY WAS GOING THRU AS A WHOLE AND I WOULD BE INVIGORATED FOR ONE MORE SET.  FINALLY, I WAS TOTALLY EXHAUSTED WHEN I FINALLY DECIDED I HAD HAD ENOUGH.  I WAS SPENT, EMOTIONALLY, AS WELL AS PHYSICALLY.  HOWEVER, MENTALLY, I WAS READY FOR THE CHALLENGES TO COME IN THE NEXT DAYS!

IN THE END, ALL TURNED OUT WELL. IT IS SAID THAT TOUGH TIMES DON’T LAST, BUT TOUGH PEOPLE DO!  I AM PAINFULLY AWARE I AM NOT THE TOUGHEST GUY AROUND; HOWEVER, I CAN NOT SAY THAT FOR MY WIFE AND KIDS, AS THEY WOULD RANK RIGHT AMONG THE TOUGHEST.  HOWEVER, I WEATHERED THE STORM; OUR FAMILY AND FRIENDS CLOSED RANKS AROUND US AND WE CAME OUT THE OTHER END, WHOLE.

REGARDLESS, I STILL REMEMBER THAT “PRE-OP WORKOUT”, ON A HOT, STILL SUMMER EVENING. I THINK OF IT OFTEN.  IT WILL GO DOWN AS, PROBABLY, THE MOST MEMORABLE AND PRODUCTIVE WORKOUT OF MY LIFE! 

FINALLY, I WILL SMILE AND REMEMBER, LOVINGLY,  THE MEMORY OF THOSE MUMBLED, MUFFLED WORDS AND CURSES OF MY DAD, WHO, I AM SURE, WAS WATCHING OVER ME (AND MY FAMILY) ALL THE TIME.

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