I’m sure that everyone has a place that they make jokes about. For me, it’s always been Alabama. However, after going to Alabama, I think that will change. It is actually a very nice place, and my experience with Dwayne Pugh and fiber optic cables was equally as good. Dad, Mom, and I left at 8:30, and headed for Alabama.
First we stopped by the famous Unclaimed Baggage store and looked around, and after buying some things, we drove over to Dwayne’s and ate [a lot of] lunch. Feeling quite full, Dwayne and I walked over to the work trailer which he pulls behind his bucket truck and learned about fiber optic cables. In a regular fiber optic cable, there are twelve tubes, and each tube has twelve fibers. The fibers are made of clear glass, with a core of smoked glass. When light travels down the core, and does as light tends to do and spreads out, it moves into the clear glass. Because the glass is clear, the light moves faster, but then it bends back into the smoked glass, and that is how it keeps moving down the fiber. One thing to remember, though; when working in or around a bucket truck while fixing wires, always wear a hard hat. If you happen to stand up into a live wire, it could get bad.
After that lesson, Dwayne drove me to a Secure Distribution Center (a building where all of the cables in that section terminate) and showed me around. The picture on the right is a board with each number representing a house in this section. This is where the fibers go. If you decide that you want ESPN, the workers simply go to the other side and plug one end of a wire in your house number, and the other end in a different board, and poof! you’re watching the Braves beating the Mets (apologies to Mets fans).
It was after this when Dwayne started talking about his life. For instance, he picked this job because when he was working with my Dad, a couple workers came over to splice some fibers, and he was supposed to show them the wires. Dwayne liked what he saw them doing, so he interviewed and got the job. One of the aspects of this business to take into consideration is that you are always moving around the country and living in hotel rooms.
By this time, we felt a bit hungry, so we stopped by a McDonald’s and grabbed a couple cheeseburgers each with a shake to wash it down. We chatted some more, and Dwayne said that because he works outside with wires all day, he is alone almost all the time, and could get away with a lot of things. However, the Bible says in Proverbs 10:26 that people detest a sluggard, especially that sluggard’s boss. And in Matthew 5:14-16, it states that Christians are the light of the world, and Dwayne said he wanted people to look at his work and say, “this guy cares more about his work than just getting his paycheck.” Also, he told me that if you make the right decisions early on, it gives you more options later (Dwayne didn’t finish college, and because of that, he couldn’t interview for as many jobs). He said that the worst choice he ever made was when he started to worry more about things than about God, and the best choice he ever made was when he started to listen to his Dad and take his advice seriously.
After leaving the restaurant, we drove back to the trailer so he could show me how to splice fibers. For starters, ‘splice’ is just the term they use. It actually does not involve twisting one wire around the other and holding it with duct tape. They use a 6″ by 6″ by 6″ machine that costs about 15 grand. Anyway, first you strip the fiber (about the size of a human hair) of its insulation and then use a device similar to a tiny glass cutter to cut the end straight. Then, you clean it with an alcohol covered swab and secure it in the machine. The machine automatically starts moving the two fibers together, and just before they touch, a pair of electrodes zap them, which melts the ends and seals them together. Dwayne also let me do some, and it was incredibly interesting and fun. Over all, it had been a huge learning experience, and I totally enjoyed our time together.