A number of years ago, there was a concerted effort among quarry professionals to rid our industry vernacular of the word “pit.” I think it is time to revisit that.
For years and years, quarry operations all over the country, and even the world, have referred to their work environment as a pit. This brings with it some very strong psychological connotations, almost all of them negative.
A quick check of definitions and slang phrases reveals references to:
- The pits of hell.
- A miserable or depressing place or situation.
- The worst.
- A small indentation in a surface such as a windshield.
- A natural hollow or depression in the body or an organ.
- A small indented scar left in the skin by smallpox or other eruptive disease.
- An armpit.
- An enclosed, usually sunken area in which animals, such as dogs or gamecocks, are placed for fighting.
- The section directly in front of and below the stage of a theater, in which the musicians are hidden from the audience.
- The gambling area of a casino.
- A sunken area in a garage floor from which mechanics may work on cars.
- An area beside an auto race course where cars are refueled or serviced during a race.
So let’s review. We have hell, depression, unnatural damage, a smelly part of the human body, a place where animals die, and much more. With a list of mental touchstones that horrific, why do we continue to use the word “pit” to describe our operations?
Is it any wonder communities always rise up against quarries in permit-renewal hearings and it is like pulling teeth to get a new plant permitted?
Nobody wants a darn pit in their neighborhood.
A number of years ago I gave a talk to the old National Stone Association in which I envisioned the future of the aggregates industry, and that future was a place where “Engineered Construction Products” firms used “Technology Solutions” to manufacture “Sized Architectural Materials” at their “Advanced Building Systems Source Facilities.”
It’s time to get out of the pits and move into the future.
Mark S. Kuhar, editor
Member: Construction Writers Association