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Saturday, April 01, 2006

I've Got the Red Ass and I'm Dragging Up!

That was a slang expression for: "I've had it with this fucked up company and I'm walking off the job now!" I know it was used mostly in the oilfields and construction businesses all across southern La. and Texas. I'm not sure about where the expression originally came from or how widespread it was beyond those two states, but it was a very colorful way to express your disgust about working conditions or company policies.

Back in the days when I used to work in the deep sea diving and underwater constuction business I worked for one company in particular that had just about the worst vacation policies I've ever run into. The way it was set up was that after one year of service you got one weeks paid vacation but you HAD to take at Christmas week. The entire company would shut down from the day before Christmas until the day after New Years day and everyone went home, no matter where you were. Even if you were out to sea. If you had less than a year with the company, you got the time off like everyone else but with no pay. After two years with the company you got two weeks paid but you were still forced to take one of them at Christmas no matter what.

Now normally I didn't mind this set up very much because being offshore a lot meant you were going to miss a lot of holidays but you always got the one that mattered the most, and that was Christmas. You probably missed Thanksgiving and birthdays and Easter and whatever else but you still got Christmas off. On one particular job though the company decided to throw that policy right out the fucking window which pissed a lot of people off, giving them the "red ass". And of course they wanted to "drag up", including me.

On this job I was in charge of the entire diving crew and I was responsible for making sure we had enough people to keep the diving going on around the clock. The underwater construction we were doing required a large support vessel with huge cranes, heavy offshore construction equipment and a couple of hundred support personnel on board to assist the diving crews to get the job done. It was a very important job for a major oil company that was trying to get an offshore oil drilling platform up and running to get oil out of the sea floor. This was not possible without the diving crew.

The job was long and arduos and the entire crew had been out for about 3 months with no relief, which was pretty normal for diving crews. Once you went on the job you stayed till the project was completed or three months. We were tired and beat down from working 12 hour days 7 days a week. That's just about all a guy can handle without a freaking break! We had already missed Thangsgiving for craps sake!

Of course we were all looking very much forward to that week off at Christmas and I for one couldn't wait, I mean we were counting down the minutes till it was time to catch the helicopter to shore. At the very last minute though the company decided the job was too important to shut down for the week and sent the department heads notices that the company was only going to shut this one job down for ONE FUCKING DAY! We would leave the vessel during the day of Christmas eve and have to be ready to fly back out to the jobsite offshore on Christmas day in the evening! That would have given us barely more than 24 hours off the job! Did I say I had the "red ass?" I was absolutely furious. And to top it off they left it up to me to tell my crew this extremely shitty news!

That was it for me, I decided I had had enough BS and I plotted my evil revenge. I figured that if I didn't tell my crew that they would have to return the next day and I didn't pass on the info as to when to meet up to head back offshore that it would shut the entire operation down for a couple of days. This would kick the company right in the ass err.. pocket book, because they would have hundreds of other support personnel just sitting out there at sea getting paid to do nothing because there was no diving crew on board to continue the work! This would cost them hundreds of thousands of dollars!

Revenge can be so deliciously sweet! Hell yeah!

Very early the next morning after Christmas day the phone rings. I was sound asleep but I knew who was going to be on the line before I even picked it up. It was the head of the diving division and he started chewing me out big time because none of the diving crew had shown up, I swear the fucker sounded like he was gonna have a stroke right over the phone! I quietly and calmly let him finish screaming at me and then when he was done, I replied...

"I've got the red ass and I'm dragging up!" Then I hung up on the bastard and I never heard from them again!

Have a great weekend everyone!