Sometimes It Pays To Be in the Way

When I was an apprentice, partnering with my corrosive, but brilliant, brother-in-law, we were doing piece work at a large tract of houses. [Piece work is being paid for a set price per square foot for certain phases of house framing, such as rolling joists, framing walls, and cutting/stacking the rafters to form the roof. My brother-in-law and I were in the elite phase, that of the roofing. We would make more per sq.ft. because of the difficulty of the work. Being paid for piece work depends on knowledge, skill level, and speed.] Dennis was a hardworking, money grubbing builder. So, you can imagine the consternation he felt when we observed a bunch of semi-trucks and a film crew driving into the tract. For some reason, they chose our building in this big tract on which we were stacking a roof.

But, that wasn’t the worst part. The director of the crew came right up to Dennis and told him he had to quit working because they wanted to film a McDonald’s commercial in our building. The ranting and raving that came from Dennis scared the wits out of the director and everyone around him. However, the commercial film crew began setting up after Dennis became hoarse.

While the filming began, Dennis negotiated with the director to be paid double what we would have made for the day. So we stopped to watch as the “construction worker” actor came into the garage of the house. He was dressed more like a lumberjack than any carpenter I ever saw:  Red-plaid shirt, 3-day-old beard, big boots, and a hard hat, which is usually worn on large commercial building sites. When someone yelled, “Action!” he sat down on the stack of lumber and opened his phony lunch box. Then he grimaced down at his supposedly yucky lunch. “Cut!” was called out and they did the scene over and over and over again, about twenty or thirty more times.

Dennis and I went to the New Braunfels McDonald’s and had lunch, went back to the tract, picked up our double pay, and took off for the rest of the day, tooling around Canyon Lake, Spring Branch, and Wimberley, ending up at Cabella’s between Kyle and Buda. The next day we started work bright and early, eager to get back to the task at hand.


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