Wayne Nash shares his thoughts on the benefits of trade shows and relates a recent misadventure.

Trade shows are an effective way to learn about new tools and equipment - and a great excuse to catch up with friends.
Now that the weather is cooling off and the peak season has passed, it's getting to be convention and seminar season. I always go to the NGWA convention and usually have a good time. Last month, it was in Orlando, which is driving distance, but I'd still rather go to Vegas - there's something about those blackjack tables that make the big stuffed mouse attractions of Orlando look pretty tame to me …. Oh well, I've got a couple other conventions lined up for this year and a few seminars to give.

Hope I can help out some other drillers with something they might not have run into yet. Funny thing about drillers - A lot of them spend a lot of their time reinventing the wheel.

I go to lots of yards, and drillers often want to show me their latest “creations.” Like proud new daddies, they take me around back to reveal whatever it is that they've been working on. Sometimes it's a nifty new tool or technique, but sorry to say, nine times out of 10, it's something that has been around for years. (I learned years ago not to point this out.) Sad thing is, the sharpest guys often are the same guys that won't shut down long enough to go to a trade show or seminar. If they had invested a couple days going to a trade show or seminar, they probably could have saved themselves a lot of fab time.

Drillers are the most productive group of practical engineers I've ever seen. It usually ain't pretty, but it works. As Buckminster Fuller might say, “Form follows function.” Leave it to the marketing guys to chrome-plate the parts; as long as it works, drillers are happy.

Hey, I'm guilty of the same thing - I've got a yard full of brilliant ideas that didn't pan out, but every once in a while something works! The difference is, I try to keep up with what's been tried and done and what's new. That's the trade show thing. Very often, a couple days at a trade show will save me a week or two during the year. Pretty good trade off … plus I get to swap lies with my friends!

Lemme tell ya 'bout drillers - They always talk about the big screw-up some other driller had, and it's always someone who's not there! If you show up to defend yourself, they talk about someone else! I go to defend myself!

During his stress test, Wayne could have sworn he was climbing Mt. Everest.
Got a pretty good scare recently. We had finished a job and brought in the rig for some TLC and maintenance before the next job. We worked on it for a couple days and the whole time, I felt weak as a kitten for some reason. Even my own personal terrorist, bin-Lottie, could have whipped me. I woke up very early one morning with shooting pains in my left arm. I was a little concerned but went to work anyway.

Later, I made the mistake of mentioning all this to my aged mother who immediately went into magnum-overload-mother-worry mode. She called all the females in the family and told them that I was having a heart attack and went to work anyway, blah, blah, blah. They all called and berated me for not taking better care of myself, etc.

Mom and my daughter called every few minutes, “just to check.” I finally turned my cell phone off so I didn't have to hear any more. That didn't work - Ma sent one of my friends around to the yard to see if I'd dropped dead yet! The only female in the family with any sense was my bride, bin-Lottie. She just got out the life insurance papers to see if they were paid up!

After a while, they got me feeling so bad I thought they might be right, and I went to the clinic. They made me sit in a wheelchair and rushed me to a room where they hooked up a bunch of wires and said I still was alive, that'll be $250, please. They then sent me to a heart specialist for a stress test.

'Least I didn't have to wait around; they took me right in and hooked me up with enough wires to make it look like a sci-fi movie and left me alone, just sitting there.

Like most drillers, I don't idle well. As soon as the technician left the room, I started looking at the monitor and the machine they hooked me up to. I discovered that, by twitching certain muscles, I could make the lines on the graph jump up and down! After a few minutes of that, I decided to see if I could adjust the machine to do other things.

'Bout then, the technician came back in, looked at the chart and said, “What have you been doing?” I told him how I figured out how to make various lines jump up and down, etc. He informed me that this was a baseline test, and he needed me to sit still and not play with anything for 15 minutes.

Why didn't he tell me that in the first place? I sat still, bored as a sinner in church, for 15 more minutes.

The next step was the stress test itself. They made me get on a treadmill where they controlled the speed and inclination. They'd look at the graph and turn up the speed, look at the graph and turn up the angle of attack until they had it at the torture setting. After they had me climb Mt. Everest at quick-march speed, they let me off.

After looking at the graph for a while, they said my heart was 53 years old and fine. Good to know the mud pump for this ol' rig doesn't need swabs and liners yet!

Further conversation with the doctor pinned down the pain in my left arm. I had been bowling with my bride and whipping her pretty good right-handed. I had decided to make it a little more fair and bowled left-handed. Seems I threw something out ….

I think the female “Worry Brigade” in my family should split this $1,200 bill! ND