I Am That Guy

Posted on November 3, 2011


We have Dow Plant A. We have Dow Plant B. We have Dow OCD. We have Nalco. We have Gulf Chemical. We have BASF. We have Shintec. We have Schenectady.

And that is just in our backyard.

Within fifty miles or so the list could be added to

We have BP refinery (look at the link). We have Valero refinery. We have Marathon Refinery. We have Exxon refinery. We have Shell refinery. We have a nuclear power plant. We have Phillips 66 refinery. We have a natural gas reliquification plant. We have more Dow plants. We have Dupont plants. We have Inneos. We have Solutia.

That’s just off the top of my head. I am sure there are more.

I live in a VERY heavy industrialized part of the US. That’s a fact.

So, from my earliest memories. I have always seen ‘that guy’. You know, with steel toed boots, coveralls….and a sunglasses tan line on the side of his face.

I don’t think I really ever wanted to be ‘that guy’.

I was looking over some old school stuff my mom gave me several months ago. I saw where when it asked what I wanted to be when I grew up. I put the typical answers for a little boy. Fireman, army, cowboy. The kind of stuff all boys put, and few actually grow up to be probably. I surrendered, publicly, to the ministry on June 15th. 2002. Which would have made 17…ish. I guess really about the time I would have been forced to seriously start giving some thought to what I ‘wanted’ to do with my life. It pretty much answered that question. I was not looking, any longer, for a career, but rather, just a job to get by with until the Lord decided to use me in a, for lack of a better term, a ‘full time capacity’ in one of his churches.

So I’ve done a lot of things. I worked at Domino’s three times, or was it four times, or was it five. I honestly don’t remember anymore. Only the first time did I actually WORK there. The other times it was a part-time, second job. (if you ever need a job at domino’s in texas, just put your last name is mcentire the will be sure to hire you) I worked for the Brazosport Independent School District. A bunch (three) jobs. I worked in the grounds dept. I was a parts runner, and I worked in the educational warehouse. I worked for Airgas as a fill plant operator. Thats just a fancy term for I filled compressed gas cylinders.

But now….I am ‘That Guy”

I never really wanted to be. I wear fire resistant (notice not fireproof, just fire resistant) coveralls. Steel toed boots, and safety glasses. When I get out of the truck I put a hard hat on, and ear plugs in. I am, as often as not, covered, to one degree or another, with mud up to my knees most days. My life sometimes seems like it is spent slogging around in mud. I don’t have the sunglasses tan line….well that bad anyhow, I buy glasses that won’t leave a very big one….

I don’t have hardly any paid vacation. No sick days. very few paid holidays. And no retirement, if I don’t save for it myself. And i can’t afford the medical insurance, that is not that good anyhow. I’m not complaining. I could always go back to the school district. i would have lots of sick day personal day holidays vacations days all sorts of days. good, or better and cheaper insurance. And not be making any money. I choose the money. being ‘that guy’ means making choices on what is more important. they are sending us home on december 14th. we won’t go back till january 3rd. Before you get to excited….they arent paying us for that…..we have three paid holidays. subtract the weekend days….that leaves seven days unpaid……thats over a thousand dollars…… ONE THOUSAND dollars, simoles, smackaroos, dineros…..and whatever other word you would like to use…..Yep, I’m that guy.

We are basically all working for the plants in this area, either directly or indirectly. In our church we have two, counting me that work at BP as surveyors. We have three Dow employees, ones a maintenance supervisor, the other is a I&E tech, the third is an operator. We have an engineer that works in Solutia. We have two welders that don’t actually work IN the plant…but they work for the plants….. we have a man who delivers mail for one of the contractors in the plant. Another man worked out there till he got laid off a couple of months ago…. Another man works for an office cleaning company….once again, in the plants.

It’s really pretty basic choice you have in this area. You can either work in the plants or directly related to them, and make a lot of money. Or you can work at Jack in the Box and feed the guys that work at the plants…for not very much money…..

So, at 4:30am in the morning. I will get up and put my steel toed boots on. Grab my lunch box, drive an hour. Park in a dusty parking lot….cross the street to the refinery. Let a guard look in my lunch box. Badge myself through the turnstile. Swipe my badge at the time clock. Then walk to another dusty parking lot and find my truck…..

Why??? Because this was my life’s dream??? No, not hardly…but rather because I have just turned into….yet, ‘another guy’

Posted in: Work