When I was 18, I worked construction on the 405/520 intersection, mostly digging holes in the morning that got filled back in after lunch. I was assigned the role of flagger based on the amount of cement bags I could carry (or drag in my case) at one time. I averaged between one and zero depending on whether I was moving them downhill. I was often addressed by my given name which I found out was Jesse. Apparently having a last name that starts with “S” coming after “Geoff” can sound something like Jess Tamper if you mumble like me. When I got my layoff notice (I have no idea why I was chosen), co-workers saw my name and were confused about why I let everyone call me Jesse. I assured them that Jesse was my nickname. I think they knew this was a lie since everyone knew my nickname was Easy Money. Now whenever I am dragging cement bags down a steep grade, I yearn wistfully for the long days in the sun when Jesse was sowing me a garden of skin cancer.


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