When I was in High School, we lived in Marietta, GA.

I worked for a builder named Otis.

I always called him Mr. Ragsdale…but his first name was Otis.

He was a good man.  I enjoyed working for him.

Marietta is only a couple of miles above Atlanta…and it gets really hot there in the summer.

It gets hot and really humid.  It’s like being in a jungle sometimes.

We don’t have any air conditioning here in NC.  In the summer, we just leave the windows open and the breeze cools things down some.

It doesn’t work like that in Marietta.  It is really hot.

I remember one summer I got to work with my friend Ben.

Otis had us digging a ditch that day.

I’m not really sure why we were digging a ditch in the summer heat.  I don’t remember digging to try to find anything….it doesn’t make sense that it would be for drainage from what I remember about where the ditch was.

I don’t know why Otis would have us digging all day like that.

It was hot.

Crazy hot.

Ben was a running buddy and we were in band together.

We were both used to working hard…but it was too hot.

When Otis finally got back to check on us later in the day, I think we’d just about finished digging our ditch.

From what I remember, it seems like it was waist deep and about 20 feet long.

That’s a lot of digging…a lot of hot digging.

I think that we must have been dragging a little bit at that point, because when Otis got out of his air-conditioned truck, he walked over to us and grabbed one of the mattocks, jumped down into the hole, and took a couple of swings at the dirt.


When he was finished, I think he gave us a little more instruction and got back in his cool (temperature wise) truck and drove away.

I don’t know if he was kidding about the “dyna-mo” part.  If he was, he was a hilarious man. He was probably one of the most subtly hilarious men that’s ever lived.  It might have been really funny.

But I don’t think that he was kidding.

Ben and I stood in that long hole in the ground that we’d created and looked at each other.

Hot, sweaty, and dirty…not even sure why we’d dug this ditch in the first place…probably slightly brain-damaged after baking in the Georgia sun all day.

We looked at each other and wondered what had just happened?

That old man was a dyna-mo and we were the ones digging the ditch.

It seemed like a poor use of resources.

It was a confusing character building moment for Ben and I.

Now, anytime I can jump into a situation where someone has been working at something that looks like it’s completely exhausted them and they’re at the end of their endurance…and I’m coming in fresh to maybe provide some help towards the end of the job…I think of Otis and his “LOOK AT ME!  I’M A DYNA-MO!!!” comment.

He was a hilarious old man.

I think he meant it to be funny.

It had to have been a joke.

About Peter Rorvig

I'm a non-practicing artist, a mailman, a husband, a father...not listed in order of importance. I believe that things can always get better....and that things are usually better than we think.


DYNA-MO — 1 Comment

  1. Otis’ comedic career never really took off. I suspect now that his construction projects never prospered as he thought they should.
    Human Dynamos have always been hard to come by. Otis did find them in us.
    “Otis Scott Ragsdale was born on December 31, 1919 and died on April 03, 2010 at the age of 90. Otis last resided in Marietta, Georgia in Cobb County.”