American Profiles: Diamond Jim.

Sometimes, you meet folks who leave a lasting impression on you, whether they intend to or not. American Profiles is the series dedicated to these interesting individuals who shape the nation we call home. That said, here is profile #1, Diamond Jim.

Being a carpenter is a thankless job. I would imagine that anyone buying a brand new custom built home have never met the people building their house. I would also imagine, they would not be okay with meeting the interesting collection of souls that work construction. Building a house with your bare hands is no easy task, and for some reason there are people that you would never imagine able to complete the job that are doing it on the daily. Case in point is Diamond Jim.

Diamond Jim was a cartoon character, at least in appearance. Stereotypical male pattern baldness, missing a few front teeth, cutoff denim shorts daily, an impressive muscular build, and a diamond tattoo on his forearm to top it all off. He also talked a little slow. But, this man could rough frame a house with ease. That was not his most impressive strength though, as he could lift the entire house with one hand. Working with him regularly, I could not understand it. Exterior walls would be framed, sheeted, and ready to be set to be nailed down. Diamond Jim would lift the entire finished wall on his own, and move it’s entirety while dragging the rest of us along with it, all the while screaming at the top of his lungs:

“Come on you fucking pussies!”

I could never understand the sheer strength of this man, until my cousin enlightened me to the fact that Jim smoked crack every day at lunch. At first, I didn’t believe it. After a week or so from the revelation, it all started to make sense. Before lunch every day, Jim would be a little on edge. The tiniest little infraction would push him over, and after he would leave for lunch he would be a bit more mellow, but could also lift a house on his own. I’m not one to glorify drugs, but it was pretty impressive to witness.

Next time you walk into your home, think about the many people involved in it’s construction. Maybe, just maybe, Diamond Jim was there.


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