Anyone who knows me knows the scorn I feel for cell phones but on the other hand, I love reading about our infrastructure, whether it’s bridges, tunnels, skyscrapers or cell towers, I find the work that goes into it and the workers who do it fascinating and I’mnot talking about the desk jockeys who are designing the stuff, I’m talking about the workers doing the physical work. So imagine my glee when I discovered Tower Dog by Douglas Scott Delaney in our new nonfiction area. Although reality TV might try to convince you otherwise, the most dangerous job in America is cell phone tower worker (tower dog).
When Delaney was writing this book, a worker was dying about every 40 days. You might think “What? Why haven’t I heard about this on the news?” Well, you won’t – these workers are just nobodies to the news media and the only way you’ll hear about them is if one happens to die in your area or if all the tower dogs decided to strike (one day with no cell tower work being done would be very inconvenient for most people and one week would be apocalyptic). If you would like to stay informed about deaths/fines on companies, the author says a good website is “Wireless Estimator.” Delaney is not only a tower dog himself, he’s a writer and he is also trying to make a documentary about the job. He’s a great writer and I really liked reading about the job but I wasn’t as into the chapters about him trying to sell the tower dog story to Hollywood. The stories of the workers who build, maintain, and tear down the towers is riveting though. Can you imagine working an 8 hour day 400-500 feet in the air in freezing weather – (and by the way your work week isn’t 40 hours it’s more like 70 or 80)? Or being so high up you have to be helicoptered onto the tower? Being so high up you can see the curve of the earth? Well, you would think if you did travel the country doing a job like this, you’d at least get paid a fantastic wage and benefits but the reality is the opposite. This should be required reading for everyone using a cell phone – think about this stat: 530 million Americans are depending on .002% of the population to get them through the day. Being unaware of the work that goes behind whether or not you can text is like the apathy/ignorance people have about our electrical grid. Highly recommended!