Tag Archives: work

“It’s Worth Doing Well”

Context & Analysis

The subject, my mother, and I were getting coffee for breakfast and I asked her if she could tell me some stories about her childhood. The subject’s father (who has recently passed away) was a history professor in the Midwest. The family moved frequently because of this, which made it difficult for them to settle in a single area for too long. The subject’s mother was a stay-at-home mother; she also has four other siblings. The subject’s parents were both the children of Norwegian immigrants and emphasized the value of hard work and wise spending habits. I think that this proverb especially reflects the down-to-earth and hard-working nature of the subject’s parents. I’ve heard similar renditions of this proverb (i.e. “If it’s worth doing, it’s worth doing right”) from other sources throughout my life.

Main Piece

“My mom would always say “if it’s worth doing it’s worth doing well” so, like that means don’t do a sloppy job or half-heartedly do something.


Fix it in Post

The following is a common filmmaking joke phrase:

If something is not working right while working on a film you just say

We’ll fix it in post


According to the informant it means that you will let the editor deal with it.


The informant also added that it is said by a lot of newer people but describes it as less funny the longer you have been there.


Context: this was collected during our in class collection time


Thoughts: I think it’s kind of funny how the reception of a joke can show how long you have been in that business, if you are a newcomer you will laugh more than a veteran. It can sort of outline your status. I also find it funny that the joke is technically about not wanting to do work, so you are passing it off to another person. I found that to be a common idea in many occupational jokes.

Gaffers vs Grips

The following is a common filmmaking joke:

How many grips does it take to fix a light bulb?

I don’t know

None, let the gaffer do it


The informant explains that gaffers only handle electrical work, while grips handle everything else and its disrespectful to do the gaffer’s work if you are not one


Context: this was collected during our in class collection time


Thoughts: I found this joke to be amusing, mainly because you can look at it from two sides. One, that you do the work you are assigned and don’t take someone else’s work. Or two, you don’t want to do extra work, so you leave it to someone else. I find it funny that even where I work retail, we have similar jokes, about not wanting to do extra work too.

The PA and the Light Bulb

The following is a common filmmaking joke phrase:

How many Pas does it take to screw in a light bulb?

I don’t know, how many?

Six, one to do it and five to stand around and wish they got asked to do it.


The informant explained that often PAs are not really given jobs to do, so they just want something to do


Context: this was collected during our in class collection time


Thoughts: This joke I found particularly interesting because rather than complaining about having to do work, which I found to be a common theme of occupational jokes, rather this joke is about complaining because you don’t have any work to do. I think it would be interesting to compare the jobs of PAs to other jobs on a film set to see if this is really true.

Calera Pens Severed Testicles Prank

Tres, a cowboy that has worked on my family’s ancestral ranch for nearly twenty years, illustrated a commonly-occurring prank that occurs during the process of castrating and ear-tagging young cattle (calves) during the summer months.


To provide locational context:

The calera pens, where the prank is most likely to take place, is an octagonal dirt arena where calves are let in three to five at a time from an adjacent pen holding around 100 calves in total.


At any given time, there tend to be around ten cowboys occupying the pens as to make quick work of the calves that are let in. Clearing out the total queue of calves takes a matter of what usually amounts to three hours.


Each round of calves that enters is quickly and methodically dispatched with a combination of lasso-ropes thrown around the calves’ hind legs (preventing them from running and compromising their balance) and a ‘mugger’ who turns the animal on its side and holds it in place. A third cowboy then approaches with a knife to sever the calves’ testicles (since breeding is designated for carefully-selected bulls, clipping young calves keeps both genetics and numbers in check). An ear clipper is then used punches a hole in the calves’ ear that will then be used for placing a plastic numeric identification tag on the calf in a permanent manner.


The prank in question involves the cowboy who has just performed the business of cutting off a cow’s testicles, which he now holds in his hands as two bloody balls of flesh.


With these in hand, the cowboy will put away his knife and nonchalantly walk up to an unsuspecting co-worker, placing the severed testicles either on their shoulder, in their front pocket, or, in particularly biting cases, down the back of their shirt.


The sight of a co-worker reeling in disgust or groaning as they flap the back of a rapidly-untucked shirt is can prompt immediate laughter from bystanders who may not have even seen the perpetrator’s approach, a clear illustration of its familiarity within the pens and a helpful outlet of humor and fun in a workplace that can very quickly become physically punishing and demanding in terms of both high heat indexes and the unpredictability of handling large, frightened animals.