A Carpenters point of view
I have a career in construction. I came up in the trade of carpentry and the things I learned there shaped some of how I see life.
I mean, there is always measure twice, cut once. But most of what wound up being important in the movie biz I learned in the construction department. Like- Be on time and get along with everybody. A moving target is hard to hit. If you’re walking with your boss and he has something in his hands, your hands need to have something bigger or heavier in them. If you’re on the clock and just talking, a hand grenade should never be able to get more than three of you. If you don’t have anything to do, do it importantly. And if you have to look important suddenly, point at something. When it comes to work, you take the first phone call. Don’t take another one until that job is finished. Don’t ever make a mess for someone else to clean up.
One of my first real jobs in construction was as a laborer building a doctors office. The Superintendent was I. W. “Coot” Thrasher. Coot would always give me the worst jobs, like he would hand me a shovel and say “The mason’s sand needs to be moved across the parking lot” or a crowbar and say “That shed needs to be torn down and town in the dumpster.” One day I asked him why he gave me all the crap jobs and he said “I believe in giving the hardest work to the laziest man cuz he’ll find the easiest way of doing it.” I thought about it for a few minutes because I wasn’t sure if he was insulting me or complementing me. Ultimately, to steal a Maggie Smith line, I take everything as a compliment because it avoids so many awkward social situations. I’ve since discovered Coot’s idea is not a bad approach to life.
I also learned it’s not just the tool, but how you use it. If you do good work, it will praise you. You don’t have to ask what kind of carpenter I am, my work will tell you. You won’t have to ask what I did during the day because the place will look different at the end of my day. It’s always good to know that whatever may come, I can always put on a tool belt and hang doors or build stairs, wherever I may be.
Notice I’m not calling myself a Master Carpenter. That’s not a self appointed title.