August 11, 2004

"those who have never worked the stuff close at hand..."

DJ Drummond writes about the death of Red Adair:

This past weekend, America lost a hero. A real one, the kind that are always hard to find, yet somehow when you most need them, they somehow always show up. That would suggest a benevolent deity to me, but I will leave that for another time.

Paul N. “Red” Adair was born June 18, 1915 in Houston, Texas. He died at his Houston home Saturday, August 7, 2004. In between, he and his company put out over 2,000 oil well fires, often after other teams had given up hope. After the first Gulf War, Red and his men put out fires in 117 wells in Kuwait. Red’s proudest accomplishment was that he never lost a man to a fire. Not once.

These days, anyone involved in oil is presumed to be greedy, self-centered, and reckless. Red was none of these, and frankly, very few men who worked the rigs, who built and maintained refineries, who knew oil from real work in the field, ever fit that description. I know; my father was a Petro-Chemical engineer, and Red Adair was typical of the character of those men, although Red excelled in his accomplishments. The shrill cry against oil men always comes from those who have never worked the stuff close at hand, or who have any idea what it takes to find it, drill it, get it refined and delivered for your use and convenience.

The presumed evil of anyone in the oil industry is one of the more egregious current examples of substituting clichés for thinking or evidence.

But imagine for a moment that you have to risk your money in a business deal that will be sealed with just a handshake. And your choice of partners is either a sociology professor or an oil wildcatter? Who you gonna pick?

Posted by John Weidner at August 11, 2004 11:22 AM
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