When I was in high school, I started working for a remodeling contractor the summer before my junior year. My first day on the job was terrifying—and exciting at the same time. I pushed a broom and picked up wood for eight hours but was happy to be doing it. At the end of the day, I had the glorious task of cleaning up the entire site, which included loading all of the tools into my boss’s van.
I dutifully coiled cords and gathered up tools as a couple of the guys finished up some miscellaneous things before calling it a day. When I picked up the twin-stack air compressor, the framer on the job noticed that I wasn’t expecting it to be so heavy. Without even looking at me, he said, “Hey, New Guy, if you let out the air in that thing it’ll be a lot easier to carry.” I put the compressor down and searched for the relief valve until everyone started laughing. It took me a minute to get my wits about me; once I did, my face turned flush and I nervously chuckled, trying to play off my naiveté. It was a good-natured, harmless rite of passage—and began the building of camaraderie with my co-workers. I’m still good friends with a lot of the guys I worked with on that crew, including the framer with the quick wit—Eric MacDonald, who contributes to Tools and JLC. I had the pleasure of working with and learning from Eric for several years after that. It wasn’t the first joke he played on me—but it was certainly the most impressionable.
Construction sites are often lively and entertaining places to be on. And contractors are some of the smartest, wittiest, and most generous colleagues I’ve ever worked with. I’m sure you can all relate to the kind of banter that I experienced as a 16-year-old. Maybe some of you have been on the receiving end of it as well. So on this April Fools, I thought it would be good to have some fun—at least by way of watching a couple of these tool-related April Fools jokes. Maybe they’ll offer you some inspiration for good-hearted fun with the new guy/gal on your crew. And as we continue to try to fill the trades with more hard-working individuals, let’s have the same attitude with those lesser-experienced than us that the foreman in one of these videos has. He ultimately praises the newbie’s enthusiasm and work ethic—which is the real takeaway from both of these videos. They are earnest to learn a new skill and eager to be accepted by the experienced guys on their respective crews. The electrician relays his appreciation for both traits in the comments section when he says, “He’s a great kid. You don’t find too many 19-year-old kids that work like he does nowadays”.