This story is about a young man I had on my crew named Brian.
Brian was from a family of truck operators and driver helpers. On our crew, we had some good linemen who liked to work and have fun at it. Brian earned his nickname one day when we worked through lunch to get the lights back on. We stopped at a cute little cafe for coffee and Brian ordered a whole apple pie. It disappeared in a few minutes and the name was christened. Big B was born again.
Going through dieting programs constantly to lose weight, Big B struggled. He was 345 lbs. To pick on him, the linemen bought apple pie smelling spray and would fill the truck cab before coffee. Big B would give them the exact reaction they wanted. This went on for a while.
One day Big B was pulling up secondary wire on the handline when he tripped on a snag and fell into a ditch. His knee was torn and there was no getting him up. The crew used a boom truck to pick up the gurney and swing him into the ambulance. It was a turning point in his career and the end of joking around.
Management decided that, because he had good personal skills and was very organized, they would try him in a less physical role. On an interim basis, he would train to do vegetation management contract administration. Well, it was a duck taking to water!
Brian was under a good health program, was doing well with losing his weight which helped in clearing up his allergies. Getting away from the linemen's cultural pressure improved his life.
Big B became well regarded as a great vegetation manager. He finished his career proud and happy. I liked to think that the jokes were only in fun and not bullying. However, only Brian could answer that. Later, after the change in direction, he told me that, looking back, he did not fit that glove. Linemen can be assholes, but they are still our brothers.
He laughed with us in the end and drove off in his nice new customized manager’s truck.
Bruce Masse – Trouble Technician