Thursday is Chicken Day in Building Construction Technology class at Tennessee College of Applied Technology in Nashville. We used to drive to Publix to grab buckets of fried drumsticks and eat in the classroom among the sawdust. Since then, the tradition has evolved into a field trip to a nearby chicken shack. Now that I’ve graduated, one of the things I miss most about construction college is the camaraderie of Chicken Day.
Fortunately, the guys still let me join them when I can.
When I visited the workshop on a recent Chicken Day, I was dazzled, if a little jealous, to see how much the BCT class has evolved since 2016, when I enrolled in the fledgling construction program.
First of all, there is a SawStop. I can’t count on my hands — even though I miraculously still have all ten fingers — how many times I wished we’d had this genius tablesaw that knows the difference between wood and flesh.
Meanwhile, the projects in the workshop seems to be getting more sophisticated. My classmate Chef, who is still in the program, recently built a gorgeous Murphy bed. On Chicken Day, I also saw a beautiful storage cabinet that the construction guys were making for the cosmetology class down the hall. And one of the rookies had constructed a very handsome brick arch, in preparation for the masonry competition at the upcoming SkillsUSA in Chattanooga. We never did brick work of that caliber when I was in class.
Even Chicken Day has had an uptick since I graduated. When we arrived at the chicken restaurant, which is decorated with all manner of local bric-a-brac, from trucker caps to license plates, we spotted a mannequin wearing a TCATN T-shirt! We felt like minor celebs.
One thing has not changed in the BCT class: My classmates and instructor still abuse me for being too detail-oriented. They even introduced a new student to me by saying, “He’s the new Carrington. He asks way too many questions, too.”
But as far as I can tell, everybody seems to like the inquisitive new guy just fine. After all, they invited him to Chicken Day. So, I took the comparison as a compliment.