A Helper Should Be A Helper

A Helper Should Be A Helper

One of the fellows I worked with was an old timer.  He told me a story of when he began wiring in Minnesota before the electricians were unionized.  He was doing pole work.  He was using the general practice of having a helper on the ground.  He had fastened a pulley on the top of the pole and run a rope through it and down to the ground.  The helper was to put tools and parts into the bucket and use the rope to transport them up to the electrician on the pole.

It’s a good system if you pay attention to the rules.  Some electricians will joke about it.  They will hold their tool pouch open and tell the helper to toss what they need into the pouch.  That’s not very efficient.

Back to the story; the old timer was working on the pole when it broke and fell to the ground, with him underneath it.  The helper responded by jumping in the pick-up and taking off, leaving the electrician under the pole, half dead.

Eventually the electrician regained consciousness and crawled and struggled to the nearest house.  They called for an ambulance.  When he was able to get around, he looked for the helper and asked him; “Why did you run off?”

The helper answered; “I was afraid.”

(Do you appreciate today’s ease of communication via cell phones?)

Years later another electrician told me his “helper” experience.  He was also working on a pole but it was during a bitter Northern Montana winter.  He called down to his helper and the helper had disappeared.  Of course he had to come down the pole.  He found his helper in a heated building getting warm.  He wasn’t a very helpful helper.  There are similar circumstances involving ladders, but that’s another story.

One of my helpers, or more accurately, fellow workers was blind in one eye.  I one time called him “Dead Eye”; not stopping to think if he was sensitive about it or not.

Sometime later he was doing the wiring in a Safeway store remodel.  He called down to the shop for additional help on the job, so they sent me.

When I walked in the front door of the store, he was standing on a scaffold about center of the store.  He looked down and saw me.  He said; “Well I did ask for a little help.”

I found out then that he was one of the good guys.