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ROUGHNECK

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Re: ROUGHNECK

Postby LukeJavan8 » Mon Sep 17, 2012 9:20 pm

Is it an Indian name or from some other
nationality?
-----please, draw me a sheep-----
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Re: ROUGHNECK

Postby Philip Hudson » Tue Sep 18, 2012 12:19 am

I am well aware that English speakers cannot "own" words, either personally or as a group. I am well aware of definitions given in dictionaries. Use the word roughneck at will as long as you aren’t discussing the oil and gas business. Be assured that the word roughneck has a specific meaning in the oil business. A roughneck is an oil or gas well drilling employee who works specifically at the task of operating well drilling machinery. He works "on the floor" of the drilling rig. Modern drilling rigs are much more automated than they were in my dad's and my day. My dad always worked in the tower of the rig because that paid the most. No one works the tower anymore as all the handling of pipes is automated and done from the floor. The roughneck is the equivalent of a sailor "before the mast". Each shift (or tour) is supervised by a driller who supervises the roughnecks on the floor. The driller's equivalent on a sailing ship is that of first, second, or third mate. The captain of the drilling rig is the pusher (long before that became a common word for a drug dealer). Ordinarily the pusher works in an air-conditioned portable office and is responsible for every shift of operation. He makes "executive" decisions ordering and scheduling parts and services. Drilling an oil or gas well is not a simpleton's job. Anoil or gas rig is very expensive. One doesn’t depend on rogues or ruffians to work with that kind of equipment.

A roughneck is definitely not a gofer. He is a highly skilled worker. None of the pejorative nuances associated with the word roughneck apply to the oil or gas rig roughneck. A roughneck is not a roustabout, a skilled job in itself but different. Work hard and smart and you may become a driller. Work hard and smart as a driller and you may be promoted to pusher. Many of the men I knew as a boy were roughnecks. Believe me that they were deacons in their churches, active in civic work, and all around good citizens. Most of them did not have university educations. I know my dad and uncles were well educated men who wore suits on Sunday and worked the New York Times crossword puzzle.

Since I am older than dirt, and it has been a long time since I have been on the floor of a rig, some of the duties may have changesd slightly since way back when. But you get the gist of the discussion even if it may be a little bit dated.

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