Harsh is this … waking up at 5 am to drive an hour to London Ontario to start work at 6 am in freezing rain that alternates with freezing snow. Always there is freezing wind. It is -8 again.
Then you have to carry 14 x 30 kilo loads of tools and new copper up scaffolding steps winding up and up and up a 250-foot church steeple. Then you have to climb too the top of the steeple a full 290 feet!!! Above the ground, (people are ants and birds fly below you and it is swaying in the freezing wind and you wonder if it will fall down) …it creaks. It is old…and you have to take of the old copper cladding, which weakens its structural intensity. And why are you doing this? Why are you up at the top of the steeple while the other guys are only half way up working on the lower copper cladding, under cover from the sleet and out of the freezing wind which burns your face and hands like acid, and they have the radio and you can hear occasional snatches of laughter and camaraderie? And you work from 6 am till 2 pm when you go half way down to eat a cold hamburger one of the guys bought you … you have to piss into a bottle kept just for that purpose, or take half an hour to climb all the way down and then back up
Back up you go after 20 minutes at the half way platform for your cold burger and back into
The wind, the stress, the cuts, the snow, the ice, the swaying of the steeple…
YOU ROCK ON, WORKING TILL 8 30 PM!
Why are you at the top of the steeple instead of down below? Why are you doing the harshest most dangerous job on the site?
You are doing it because when Mike said “Who’s gunna be the Mad bastard who’s gunna strip the top of the steeple?” Every one looked at you.
And you said, ” I will! I fucking live for this stuff” Even thought you knew you would hate every frigid moment of it and the only reprieve you would get would be the smoking of the occasional clove cigarette, daring the wind and icy rain to put it out, and the relief as you got all your piss into the bottle with out soaking your self.
You did it for the respect and admiration of your fellows.
You did it because when they said “Good work ” when you came down black with dust and shunt and just nodded at the statement and nonchalantly said, ” It ruled”.
You did it because you are one of the very few true hard cunts out there.
The last of a dying breed in a cushy automated world.
You did it so you can write about it at midnight while every one else sleeps exhausted sleeps around you and as you type this with black sweaty hands you realize that in six hours you will be up there again doing another of the eight sides of the top of the steeple, into it … for another 14 hour day.
They would expect no less from you now.
You have set your own standard
You are a legend.
You are… THE COWBOY COPPERSMITH.
Why aren’t I tired? Because I fought and I won.
The world is yours to create your self as a legend in your own mind and that of those around you.…