October 1, 2023


by: tguerry


Categories: Current Culture



Long ago — in the previous century, in fact — I worked as a contractor for the video department of a local Oil & Gas corporation. In those pre-digital days, video cameras were not some app on the miniature cell phone in your hip pocket. They were shoulder-mounted behemoths weighing 30+ pounds and costing almost a year’s salary. They were also fragile and consequently came with massive, foam-lined travel cases (large enough to have their own set of wheels).

Occasionally, I would accompany a video crew on road trips to shoot in the oil field. On even rarer occasions, we would fly to those destinations. When that happened, we would be piled high with baggage — camera cases, commercial VCR cases, tripods, light stands, lights, audio equipment, and our own personal suitcases. Fortunately, I was not one of the fulltime employees responsible for making sure all that gear made the trip in one piece. I did, however, have to perform my fair share of toting.

I’m not certain how any video crew could travel by air today with all the equipment necessary to produce professional footage. In those pre-TSA days, we just pulled up to the outside airport check-in, slipped the porter and extra $20-bill and all of our baggage magically made it onto our flight. Once the baggage obstacle was overcome, the whole group was lighter, both physically and psychologically. Morning check-ins would typically be followed by breakfast at an airport restaurant. Afternoon check-ins would generally be followed by beer at an airport bar.

The primary issue was that once we offloaded the responsibility for those bags, our lives were temporarily a whole lot less stressful.

If you’ve ever been married or even in a long-term relationship, somewhere about six months down the line, you begin to realize that perfect person you fell in love with is toting some hidden baggage — baggage that you inadvertently signed up to help carry. Maybe that baggage isn’t all their fault. Maybe it got dumped on them by cruel siblings, alcoholic or absent parents, misguided teachers, perverted priests, or Darwin’s heartless mother nature. But it’s baggage just the same and it gets heavier with every year.

The problem gets even worse if we’re honest with ourselves and admit that we might have brought along our own tiniest bit of psychological baggage. Sure, our baggage is just a small, trendy, designer knapsack while theirs is a friggin beat up World War Two footlocker full of dangerously aging artillery shells, but in all honesty, we might possibly own a smidgen of the guilt.

Sometimes, relationships get cut short because of baggage issue. I’ve had a few that lasted only one date (surely that was because of their baggage, not mine). Sometimes, relationships overcome the hurdles and last for a lifetime. But whether we’re talking about a spouse that occasionally grates on us, or the jerks we’re forced to work with, the big questions is, “where’s the baggage check-in so we can offload some of this stuff and enjoy breakfast…or a beer… or breakfast with a beer, and return to being a cohesive team?”

What if we established a relationship policy — governing both personal and professional relationships — that was based on complete honesty? What if we agreed to talk about that invisible baggage, not in an attempt to improve the other person, but in an effort to lighten the load and make our relationships more enjoyable? Who knows? We might even find a way to offload some of those dangerous artillery shells.

Cup-Of-CoffeeEmail me at guy@lawsoncomm.com. I’ll buy you coffee and we can trade ideas. Who knows? Maybe we will even discover something we didn’t already know.


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