We convened down at the Rig #8 this past Friday for our weekly alcohol-fueled sojourn down memory lane. This time the subject came up concerning some of the more wealthy members of our little oil patch fraternity and how they got that way. There were the usual yarns about old so-and-so and how he drilled about a zillion dry holes before he struck it big. But the story that stood out was how old “Bad Check” Jackson finally made it big.
As you might surmise “Bad Check” came about his moniker honestly, if that is not mixing my metaphors somewhat. As his nickname indicates, he was less than forthright in his dealings with his fellow man, wherein lies the tale of his becoming a successful oilman.
It seems that many years ago old “Bad Check” was drilling a well down on the state line. As usual his poorboy outfit was barely scraping by and he didn’t have enough pipe to complete the well. So he sneaked across the state line to the closest available drilling location where he “borrowed” some pipe. It worked so well that he kept it up for some time, which drastically reduced his operating overhead. But as with all good things he was eventually caught and the matter went to trial.
The many instances of his borrowing, which were treated as separate charges, combined with the incidents occurring in two states complicated the process considerably. Consequently, the legal proceedings dragged on for a considerable length of time. In fact, they went on so long that he completed the well, which put him on the road to becoming a highly respected member of the oil patch community—all because he crossed that line.
By the way, nowadays everybody down at the Petroleum Club calls him Mr. Jackson.
Spending 20 years laboring in greasy overalls in the oil patch and doing a hard time stretch collecting oral histories for Texas Tech has provided Bobby Weaver with a wealth of oil field yarns. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.