A while back as I was hanging out at my favorite combination oil-patch-educational-institution-and-drinking-emporium, otherwise known as the Rig #8, when I met this fount of information in the person of an old-time cable tool man. As the evening wore on, the subject of the nature of those old time cable tool drillers came up. He waxed on eloquently— a few cold ones tend to aid in that process—concerning the cantankerous nature of those early day drillers, especially in the area of avoiding casual conversation.
His prime example was Jake Hammett, who had the reputation of being an arrogant high-handed rascal noted for being closed-mouthed. He told the story of the time he worked about a half day for Jake. The minute he walked up on the rig floor, Jake accosted him and said, “I’m a man of few words. You understand.”
The hand said, “Yes sir.”
Then Jake went on, “If I want you I will whistle and you come running. I’m a man of few words. You understand.” The hand said, “Yes sir.”
Jake finished up by saying, “Good. I just wanted it to be clear that I am a man of few words and when I whistle you will come running.”
The hand answered, “I’m glad to know that, Mr. Hammett, because I am also a man of few words. So when you whistle and I shake my head like this, it means I ain’t coming.”
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 bobby-weaver@ cox.net.