The Not Quite Adventures of a Professional Archaeologist and Aspiring Curmudgeon

Monday, June 15, 2009

Staving off Hoodoo in the Workplace

So, on my current project, all personnel are required to meet at 6:00 every morning for a safety meeting. During this meeting, one victim is chosen to give a short talk about a safety topic near and dear to their heart. I was chosen to give tommorrow's (or today's, by the time this post drops). Below is the talk I have chosen to give.



In these morning safety meetings, we have spoken alot about the dangers of working in oil fields: the chemical exposure, working around heavy equipment, the traffic dangers, the unique dangers posed by high tempuratures, and so on. There is a hazard that is often faced by archaeologists, but being as you are currently working in an archaeologically sensitive area, it is likely that other personnel on this project will face this hazard as well. What I am talking about is simply this: bad juju.

Now, I know what you are thinking, bad juju is usually associated with burial grounds and other such creepy places. This is a common misconception, and one that I hope to correct before someone loses an eye...or grows an extra one on their shoulder.

Bad juju can occur anywhere, at any time. All that is needed for this hazard is for a mystically powerful individual - say a shaman, a witch , a sorcerer, or a financial actuary - to take it in their mind to curse a place, object, or person. Sometimes the curse isn't even necessary, and the mystically powerful individual having a bad day is enough to pour the negative energies into the surroundings. So, if, for example, a sorcerer had been walking along a pleasant tree-lined street but pondering the fact that his wife had just left him for a fish-seller, well, the sorcerer's mood might infect the area and thus create a safety hazard for all who enter it.

Even if bad juju is unpredictable, it is not unavoidable. The most effective way to prevent bad juju from affecting you is to carry a gris-gris. Both OSHA and CalOSHA recommend a classic Mojo hand, although other effective gris-gris can be made by placing pieces of your hair and fingernails together with some dust from a graveyard into a handkerchief, placing the handkerchief into a leather pouch, and allowing the pouch to sit overnight on the grave of Marie Laveau, or, if a trip to New Orleans is not possible, the grave of Mary Ellen Pleasant. In a pinch, a St. Christopher's medallion might work, but you should be aware that most safety experts hold that St. Christopher's medallions are most effective if given to the user by a maternal aunt (not necessarilly your own) on the day of the second full moon of the lunar year.

By following these simple guidelines, we can prevent accidents or injuries that may result from crossing angry spirits. As it is the goal of everyone here to have zero reportable injuries, we should consider our gris-gris just as much a part of our safety equipment as our hard hats and orange vests.

Let's go out there and be safe. And remember, we are a nation on a war footing, so be ever vigilant.

Thank you for your time.

1 comment:

Kay said...

I wish you would give this talk.... priceless!