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Dear People Magazine: What if The Linemen Didn't Show Up

Dear People Magazine,

I loved your recent article about heroes emerging after Sandy turned superstorm hit the East coast. I completely agree with your article and understand that there will always be a time when heroes emerge due to these unforeseen events. But I wanted to point out another hero that People and seemingly every other news organization (not to mention the general public) fails to recognize during these major events.

They are called linemen.

Have you ever heard of them?

Maybe they haven’t officially made “hero” status to you?

Maybe it’s because you don’t pay them out of your annual tax budget. Maybe it’s because you hate having an electric bill. Maybe it’s because they don’t run out in the middle of the night to save the day.  Maybe it’s because you never use your electric, but you like to have it when you need it.

Maybe?

As I write this blog post my lineman is out on his THIRD call AFTER his normal work day. Someone lost their power, maybe some idiot hit a pole while drinking and driving and the firemen can’t get him out until MY LINEMAN gets there to kill the power. In any case, someone somewhere needed him. Unlike other professions out there, no man, that is NO MAN can just jump in and do their job. No one even tries. You see linemen aren’t just some blue collar worker that walked in off of the street. They have YEARS of training and experience invested in their profession. It’s a skill. It takes guts. You can’t do it.

Anyway, it’s always something that makes his phone ring and drags him away from home. Last night at 3am my lineman was working BESIDE firemen to kill the power to a house that was on fire. Seemingly water and high voltage don’t mix. While he hasn’t been home much, he is at least in the vicinity, right?

Right now thousands of linemen are on their way home from restoring the power to over 8 MILLION people on the east coast. They ran from ALL OVER The US, leaving their homes, kids and day jobs behind to get the lights back on to people in NYC so they could get some form of their life back. Should I also add that linemen have the fourth most dangerous job in the world? It’s not like they are playing with big trucks and wire like little boys with Lego sets. ELECTRICITY KILLS PEOPLE. There are thousands of kids and families that sent their lineman out to save the day when these storms hit. As of right now two of those families won’t ever get their daddy, husband, son or uncle back. They gave their lives to get the lights back on. Why don’t we hear about that in your magazine?

Let’s not forget the linemen who were threatened or the linemen who were pelted with eggs because of irate people who were mad about their power being out. Did you hear about the lineman who was beaten? What would happen if that was a fireman or a policemen? They would pull out. Strangely linemen are suppose to just keep going. Lord help us if some Facebook addict can’t post an update about the perils of living without electric. How in the world did our ancestors do it?

I would like to add that these linemen rush to storm ravaged areas of the country and are often left to live in conditions that most of you would throw a fit about. They are often sleeping in “man camps” or “tent cities” that have no hot water, nasty food and no heat or air conditioning. Sounds lovely, right?

Here’s a photo of one of them. This one just happens to be in a gym. It’s rare. Would you like a cot?

Just so I am perfectly clear…. A lineman is behind every kilowatt of power you are using right now. Yes, even THAT little kilowatt that just powered the moment you figured out that without a lineman, your life would be very similar to that of the Amish.

As of this moment there are over 314 MILLION people in the US. Over 8 Million were without power after this “Frankenstorm” hit. That’s over 2.5% of the population. Considering that linemen only make up 0.03% of the population you would think that it would have taken longer than just two weeks to restore power to the majority of those that lost it, especially considering that there was NO WHERE near 100% of the nations linemen on the East coast repairing lines.

Does anyone understand that it took years to build these lines? Entire homes were destroyed yet people expect that the lines that bring them power, the poles that were snapped off and the millions of miles of lines that came down should just magically reappear up on the pole fully charged and ready to go so they can return to bitching about not having power via their fully charged smart phone?

Has anyone stopped to think that there were nearly 8 MILLION people without power and that linemen from all over the country, as far away as California, came to help restore it? Why does that number seem so small when it comes to a task such as power restoration? If someone called you and told you that you won $8 million or that 8 million people died or that you have 8 million followers on your Facebook page, you would scream… either with joy or terror… yet the fact that there were 8 million people without power seems like such a small number that companies like LIPA should literally snap their magical fingers and restore the power. Now. NOW!

You see, we have people like these guys in the video who are complaining about not being able to get gas and flipping the light switch on and not having power. They are so amused by it that they had to write a little tune. Wait… they don’t have power … how…

Anyway, they are apparently mad that LIPA didn’t work harder. The same thing happened with Isaac, the freak storm on the east coast last year and every other storm I can remember. In the end … a storm hits, millions are without power and a power company execs head rolls. I wonder why that doesn’t happen when, oh, let’s say, houses burn down, car crashes continue to happen, people get shot. Maybe every time a house burns to the ground the fire station should force their chief to hit the road.

You see, People, you aren’t the only, um, people, that are clueless. I assume that these camera toting song writing, um, people (sorry, that word just seems to keep appearing in this article) don’t have the physical ability nor technical know-how to get out there and get the lines back up themselves. Shucks. I suppose we just avoid that which we don’t understand. Like the plague. And then complain. Cause it wasn’t done fast enough. Or, better yet, we just leave it out of a very important article that hits news stands all over the world.

So you see, People, while your magazine cover features the typical hero, I have to ask… where are the linemen? You and other news outlets constantly update their news announcements with the number of people still without power, but there is never (or is very rarely) mention of the people who are restoring it.

I wonder what would happen if the linemen didn’t show up.

What would people do if linemen refused to subject themselves sub par living conditions and irate people in the name of electricity? If the lights never came back on, would you wish you had thought they were heroes?