The Making of America: True Story

Are you willing to work?

True Story:

A large area immediately outside my office had to be excavated due to some kind of underground HVAC flooding problem.

The first day was pretty hot.  The guys started to clear the stones then cut into the dirt with a shovel.  It was getting hotter.  A few guys worked on it at first, then as the job expanded the guys had other duties to do and one guy was left to dig.  It was hot.  The man dug and dug.  It was apparent at this point that the shovel he was given was inadequate for the job.  He was in jeans that didn’t fit well and an old t shirt, he just kept digging.

The next day, another guy was on the job.  He was younger, tall and slender.  He dug some when he first arrived but the heat came quick.  He dug a little, stopped for a smoke. Dug a little more, did some texting then his buddy showed up.  He sat on the side of the hole for a bit, smoked and talked then dug a little more.  Someone brought over some Gatorade and a sandwich.  He left earlier in the day than the guy from yesterday.

It rained heavily that night.

The next day the first guy showed up again.  Since it had rained the job site was a bit of a mess.  The hole no longer had perfect edges, it was sloppy and eroded.  The dirt pile was flattened and some was falling back into the hole.  The man did what he could to shovel it out.  He wasn’t having much success.  He grabbed a nearby plastic cup from a fast food restaurant (the big kind that are against the law in NY) that was littered from the past.  The man began using the cup to throw the water out of the hole.  He had to throw it some distance as to avoid it from receding back.  He did this for several hours, even as it started to rain again.

The final day an excavator showed up, now with space to expand the hole.  In a few days, the entire job was finished.  It was covered nicely with new gravel, looking better than when it had started.

I didn’t see Juan or Steve again.


  • Lesson 1) – Probably would have been a different story if they were payed by the foot. Work to standard, not to time!
    Lesson 2) – Get a license to drive an excavator.

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