Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Puttin' On The Glitz

"We are what we pretend to be . . . . "         (Kurt Vonnegut)

I'm working on a wind farm project that is actually being built. It's under construction, here in Kansas as you might have surmised from other posts. For the first time in my life I am working at a full-scale construction job site. So now I have to do things like go through safety orientation, where I learn about things like an MSDS (Material Safety Data Sheet) and PPE (Personal Protection Equipment). Everyone is required to have a full complement of PPE. So I learned that I needed to wear a hard hat when on the job site. At least have it in my truck. The hat I actually had in my truck was judged not quite hard enough for the exigencies of, say, a wrench dropped from a height of 80 meters:

Well, understandable. Still, I neither wanted to be behindhand in my safety observances nor did I want to be unfashionable, so I looked around on the internet to see what might be available in the hard hat line. I found some styles I very much liked . . .

. . . but was informed by the safety person that these samples, though undeniably smart, were deficient in "functionality," which I took to mean that a full beaver might be a dust magnet around the turbine pad excavations. I was grateful for the advice, as I had very nearly ordered the "Paris Beau," and so looked around at some of my co-workers for an appropriate sartorial suggestion. Some of these colleagues recommended themselves to my attention . . .

 . . . so much so, in fact, that I nearly failed to notice the recommended headgear. Still, I thought, the hard hat makes the man, and I very much hoped that the model I finally settled on might strike just the right note - fashion and functionality, manly yet somehow approachable. Which eliminated this model, as I felt the nose might perhaps obstruct my vision and undermine the very job safety advantages I was seeking . . .

And, while I was willing, even anxious to comply with site safety regulations, I couldn't help feeling like something of an imposter. Not being exactly in the heavy construction trades, I couldn't quite feature myself in the manly accoutrements of that realm. I felt a bit like Jonathan Winters in the character of a scowling, hard-hatted working stiff who strides into a bar, slams his fist down and speaks in an airy simper of sibillated S's: "Hi, my name's Tuffy Steelman - I'll have a glass of sasparilla." Pretending to be what I am not, really.

And looking about further, I came to the private recognition that not even the most stunning of headgear can help the man who allows his jaw to gape in moments of concentration or repose.

I guess I'd been thinking about this so hard that it slipped my mind - I already have a hard hat. I've been wearing it for years. This is nothing new for me after all. I've been informed that I may have to lose the collar. (Pendant and chain are non-negotiable.)

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