Subtle Circus

Today, I reached a milestone in my life. I have been on Level 65 of Candy Crush for A WHOLE YEAR. Today, I conquered what I had never dreamed I could. And so- let us call this the turning of a new leaf. I begin an era where everything is possible.

A couple days ago, I found myself on a rig on standby with my Filipino crew, the leader of which was Arcenio Hall. Held on the rig by the Polish Company Man, we were stranded in the desert, hungry and frustrated. We sent the driver out for McDonalds and I cracked open the laptop. The only entertainment I have is weak internet signal and the DVD inside the computer. “Arcenio, have you ever seen South Park?”….”No”….”It’s an American show. It’s a cartoon, but its funny. It’s for adults.” Arcenio does not look enticed. “Let’s just watch it. I think you’ll like it.” And so, we ate our cheeseburgers and fries, sitting on the work bench watching an episode of South Park over the humming of the generator outside.


Arcenio and DeMarcus laughed like children. I laughed harder than I have in a long time, just watching South Park, happy they enjoyed it so much. If you’re forced to pass the time, make the most of it. In a strange way, I felt like I had done a good deed. Cheeseburgers and Cartman’s shenanigans. I’d like to think that if I wasn’t stuck in the desert in the Qatar, being held at the rig by a stern Polish man, I’d be watching South Park DVD’s and eating cheeseburgers anyway. Joke’s on you, PolishCompanyMan!

One of my operators is a Filipino man named Kenton. Kenton is about my height, with a very spherical, shiny bald head. With his blue coveralls and white hard hat, he looks like a smurf, only more funny. When driving the pickup truck through the desert dunes and rocks, he often makes sound effects “Hiyyah!!” One day, Kenton had to don a harness and be hoisted into the air to work on some of our equipment. He adamantly protested when we double checked all the buckles and tightened the straps, exclaiming, “At home, I climb ALL the trees and pick ALL the coconuts WITHOUT a harness!!”

Thermal Grouchy Retrograde Printer

There comes a time in every self respecting field engineer’s life when they find themselves in the heat of battle, having their ass handed to them by a printer, the TGRP. I’ve had the glory of towering triumphantly over an old printer three times in my field career. 

The first was in Elk City, Oklahoma. Loyal readers, this was in my very first field jobs in US Land before venturing offshore and overseas. I was following around an engineer whom I called mentor for a week. He taught me important lessons like, “You’re going to f*ck up. Everyone does. Just know that and accept it when the time comes.” or “Always bring a book to the field.” and my favorite, “If you’re a f*cking spy, I’m going to loose my f*cking job!” While I love reminiscing on these nuggets of wisdom and my very green impression of the oilfield at the time, the single most important proverb which I remember always was this…

Always carry your own screwdriver for the WAFE, and a knife for the printer.

There’s infinite wisdom in this statement. I left Elk City with my own souvenir, a genuine Elk City Whateberger Wireline Swiss Army Knife key chain. I carry all my field keys on it. It contains a screwdriver for my WAFE, and a knife for the printer.

The second of these times was offshore on the Deepwater Nautilus with Spike Panda. We ate lots of cake and also jammed the printer. 

The third and most recent smack down with the printer occurred last night. Sometimes, instead of the paper reel coming out of the printer, it wraps around the rollers and jams itself. The printer makes this sound, and I reach for the knife. after forty minutes of slashing away layers of tightly wrapped paper and shredding the small pieces I can get my hands on at a time, I emerge victorious!



Laila 3-0 TGRP