Back in the eighth grade, a lab partner and I did exceptionally well on a project and high-fived each other.
"Wow," I remember her saying immediately after our celebratory hand-slap, "Your hands are really soft."
It was a nice compliment from one of the more popular girls in school, which is probably why I remember her words after all this time, and I smiled at her comment.
She was right; they were soft. Fourteen years old and never experienced an honest day's work in their life, my hands were baby smooth and super soft.
Flash forward a bunch of years later to the present day. I'm sitting on an apple box on set, killing time until we turn around, when I look down at the hands in my lap.
No one would dare say such nice things about my hands now. Repeated washings over the course of fourteen hour days has left them dry and rough. Lifting, carrying and dragging around equipment has thickened the skin on my hands and made them partly calloused. They're no longer baby soft like they once were. Cracked cuticles aren't uncommon these days and neither are minor scrapes, cuts, bruises or the occasional hangnail. And they're in desperate need of a good manicure.
These are working hands now. Hands that have seen so many days of hard labor, that even wearing work gloves doesn't seem to protect them. Hands that often get so dirty from moving lights or wrapping cable, that no amount of scrubbing can clean the grime that has settled into the cracks of their skin.
These are no longer the hands of a young girl who's biggest problem was completing a lab assignment. They are now the hands of a lighting technician, toiling away below-the-line in the belly of the Hollywood beast...