A friend’s stories about the disturbing people he met working a remodeling job reminded me of one of the good Trout stories, which I’ll try to recount in his voice the best I can:
Up by Castaic, framing. Boss drops me there and says this is your show, I’m going back to the office in L.A. So we pour concrete on rebar and chase bunnies with a scraper, frame, the whole deal. Boss calls me up and says “Bob, you’re my right arm. I got this kid at Stanford, he needs to know the business up close. I’m sending him up there over summer to work for you.” Oh okay, I see. This wasn’t optional, and Bob gets to babysit.
Sure enough the kid arrives and he’s right out of the dorm. Dad said to do whatever you wanted, sir. This kid is successful, smart, and halfway through a good education. You know, calculus and fine art and badminton. We have here a junior member of the ruling class. So I give him the tour, right. First stop is Larry. Son, this is Larry. As you see he’s using the circular saw to cut the same size of wood! Over and over! You’ll also see that Larry’s eyes are like fucking pinwheels. He is spun, gone, totally out of his fucking skull on speed at all times. Larry is also on parole for various felonies. Larry doesn’t play well with others. Do not talk to Larry.
Next let’s wander over here and meet Andy. Andy is using a nail gun that can kill a dog. Andy is a wonderful guy except when he’s been drinking. Today, Andy has been drinking since 8 this morning. That’s typical for Andy. Do not talk to Andy or look at him so he knows it. In fact, do not look or talk at anyone here. This is the auxiliary version of prison, we have a rotating door to the lockup in the fucking foyer.
So I then I just hold up my hands. See these? These are slave hands. They’ve all been broken in five places, they’re three quarters fucking callus. See your hands? Yes, very soft. I see no blemishes of any kind. There are no bullet holes or bits of bone sticking out or calluses that interfere with the natural flexion. You’re going to want to keep them that way. Go ahead back to Stanford, or go tell Dad that Bob says you’re needed in the office. You do not belong here.
I don’t know what the fuck Daddy was thinking, quite seriously. Construction is just the joint. If you haven’t got these hands already, you don’t want them.