20 Things That Never Came from a Lumberjack's Mouth

Paul Bunyan was the most-famous lumberjack of all-time
Paul Bunyan was the most-famous lumberjack of all-time
This lumberjack is made of steel
This lumberjack is made of steel


Among the many who forged and built our great country, we owe a great debt of gratitude to the lumberjacks, a specialized-group of men who were real men, not pansies, freeloaders or someone who got his job by being the “Camp Boss’” nephew.

These men were more-rugged, rough, and daring than any of the Wild West outlaws whom we have glamorized in print, rumor, and film. To mess with a lumberjack on purpose, meant one of two things: One, you were completely loco or two, you had a sudden death wish to leave this world, for lumberjacks did not care about anything but cutting trees, getting paid, and looking out for each other. That’s it.

Not just any man could be a lumberjack. Even if he were six-foot, six-inches tall and all muscle. A lumberjack was rough-hewn inside and out. He feared no one, not beast, and not God. A lumberjack could swing the sharpest axe from the highest tree while chewing the strongest homegrown tobacco from dusk ‘til dawn and still have the energy to drink a fifth of the strongest whiskey and whip a gang of loudmouth’s who said anything disparaging about him or his lumberjack friends.

Hard work is all the lumberjacks knew
Hard work is all the lumberjacks knew
Lumberjack crew in the early days of America
Lumberjack crew in the early days of America


Up at daylight, hung-over or not, in the woods by 5 a.m. and already falling trees by six a.m. Lumberjacks did not have idle time to screw around telling jokes and wasting time. To the lumberjack, uneducated as most were, cutting trees meant money in their pockets. Money for gambling drinking, and having cash left for the wife and kids to have food, clothes and shelter.

A lumberjack had a heartful of pride for himself and his work. God help the fool who said or thought otherwise. Lumberjacks were not the “gentle giants,” spoke of in early literature. None of them followed in the folklore pattern of Paul Bunyan and his blue ox, Babe. These guys, for the most part, had no compassion to speak of, except maybe a fellow lumberjack falling to his death from a high redwood or suffering a life-threatening injury by getting cut with a cross-cut saw or razor-sharp axe. Then, the only compassion expressed by the burly lumberjack was, “Get over this and get your butt back in the woods.” It was that rough—six and sometimes seven days a week.


One last thing about lumberjacks was their speech. Hardly any of these men of the world opened their tobacco-filled mouths without a profanity shooting out at anyone who stood in their way. I can innocently-assume that they even used profanities to show their love for their faithful wives. “Grrr, X!Dxxx,#@#@, ‘Mabelline,’ I xx!x)(*ing love you!” And wives of lumberjacks knew that their husbands were cursing, carousing, brawling, bragging, drinking, untamed men who wielded a saw and an axe when they married them, so there were absolutely no divorces or wives trotting home to mama if they were married to this pioneer icon: The lumberjack.

And since I was talking about the lumberjacks’ speech, I found this undiscovered document I am now presenting entitled . . .

20 Things That Never Came From a Lumberjack’s Mouth

In the early days, a lumberjack used an axe and saw. Chainsaws were not invented yet
In the early days, a lumberjack used an axe and saw. Chainsaws were not invented yet
These were REAL men
These were REAL men
Tough guys
Tough guys
Many homes were built out of trees fell by the lumberjacks
Many homes were built out of trees fell by the lumberjacks
Lumberjacks worked in the wilderness of early America
Lumberjacks worked in the wilderness of early America
Some towns hold "Lumberjack Competitons"
Some towns hold "Lumberjack Competitons"

20.) “Hey, Abner! Does this flannel shirt make my butt look big?”

19.) “Ouch, I hurt my pinky! Can you hold me, Jim?”

18.) “Guys, we are all going over to my home for Cherry Tea after work.”

17.) “Don’t talk that way around me. I have a sensitive spirit.”

16.) “Hey, Leonard! Don’t whip that mule! He is an innocent beast!”

15.) “I have some cheese sandwiches, guys. The ones you like with the edges cut off. I am willing to share!”

14.) “Stop talking rough about our boss, Theodis “The Rough Neck” Newcomb.” He is a good soul.”

13.) “Don’t any of you look! I am going to pull off this sweaty shirt.”

12.) “Let’s see who can carve their initials on this tree the fastest.”

11.) “Do I have bad breath? I am going to town after work.”

10.) “Fall, you bully of a tree! I said fall! Please?!”

9.) “I could just cry. Max said my feet were big enough to use as barges!”

8.) “Okay, so you smacked me. Here. I am turning the other cheek.”

7.) “Anybody want to play “Ride ‘em Horsie? I want to play the horse.”

6.) “Rats! I got a nasty splinter in my hand. Somebody get the boss.”

5.) “If we sing some good old pioneer songs, our work will go smoother.”

4.) “Anyone going with me to church tomorrow?”

3.) “Bud, what were you doing in that suck hole-of-a saloon last night, boozing with heathen?”

2.) “I need to get out of here by four. My wife needs me to help her hang some curtains.”

1.) “Oh, shoot! You let that axe slip out of your hand and cut my head, but that’s okay. You are only human, Thad!”

Up next, (unless I change my mind) . . .”20 Reasons Why Being Overweight Doesn’t Bother Me”


"Thank YOU

for stopping by

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Lumberjacks carved- out our country
Lumberjacks carved- out our country

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Comments 26 comments

Ericdierker profile image

Ericdierker 2 years ago from Spring Valley, CA. U.S.A.

Great manly man hub.

handymanbill profile image

handymanbill 2 years ago from western pennsylvania

When men where men!

Tricia Deed profile image

Tricia Deed 2 years ago from Orlando, Florida

This is hard work, but at the same time; it is macho work. Some men like being "muscle bound and tough".

Rhonda Lytle profile image

Rhonda Lytle 2 years ago from Deep in the heart of Dixie

I need one of these guys now. I've got two big trees down that are taking us too long to deal with. I bet one of these most manly men would laugh, spit and the eye sores would be firewood quick!

RockyMountainMom profile image

RockyMountainMom 2 years ago from Montana

Well said. I come from a long line of lumberjacks, ending with the spotted owl era. Then I went to graduate school under one of the lead scientists from the spotted owl chain of events, who was also cheif of the forest service during part of that era (this was the beginning of shifts toward ecosystem-based thinking that also led to a dramatic change in timber harvesting on this continent). I monitored wildlife impacts on timber sales early in my career, which was sometimes funny as a woman. I had fought fire and earned my stripes, and they could tell my roots when they talked to me---though I was a few times accused of 'talking too smart'. To get to the point, though....the first thing that came to mind when I read your title was the following story: I was monitoring a skyline unit in the middle of nowhere (a long-line yarder pulls logs up to a road, in a nutshell). I often popped up from out of nowhere, so I always worked as far from equipment or active falling (obviously) as I could. One day, a skyline operator had an entire drainage to himself, other than his spotter (and me, but he didn't know I was in ear shot), so he was blasting his radio as loud as humanly possible. I will never forget the sight of his head bobbing to the beat to Madonna's "Material Girl". A very fond memory.

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sheilamyers 2 years ago

ROFL!!!! I wish some of my co-workers would be a little more like lumberjacks. Some of them seem to want to be put on light duty every time they get a paper cut. Okay, that's exaggerating a little but not by much. I want to break out my "drill sergeant voice" and tell them to suck it up and move on.

kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Dear sheilamyers,

Thank you, dear friend, for making me feel good tonight at your comment. I am thinking about publishing a baseball play-off hub before I go to sleep. Paper cut??? You are kidding. Yes, do break out your "drill sergeant voice," and tell them without smiling to suck it up.

Then glare at them. Works everytime.

Thanks for reading and commenting.

kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Hey, Eric,

Thank you, manly friend. I appreciate your comment and how this hub made you feel.

Do you feel like going out and cutting down, oops, I mean, "felling," a few hundred trees tomorrow? 100 trees, or what early lumberjacks would call a "vacation."

kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author


Oh how right you are.

My dad in his early years cut logs and timber. When I grew to ask questions, one was, "what are those ridges on your hands, dad?" They were calluses. And I never asked again.

I did try to capture the honest spirit of lumberjacks. Thanks for your input.

kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Hi, Tricia,

You are correct.

These men had to be muscle-bound and tough for if they were not, no job . You gave me a great idea. The wilderness where these guys worked was America's first gyms.

I know this. I had much rather work to make friends with these guys than to be on their bad side.

Thanks, Tricia, for your comment and how I secretly wish that I could be as healthy and strong as our early lumberjacks.

kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Dear friend, Rhonda,

All of you were right tonight.

Yep. A stack or two of good firewood with just one spit. That is how the lumberjacks worked--hard, long, and very good at what they did.

I sometimes watch the Lumberjack Games on ESPN and all of these men use chainsaws, something that early "jack's" did not have, but they did have a will to work, sweat, blood and an iron-determination to feed their families.

I appreciate you taking time to read my work.

God bless you.

kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Hi, RockyMountainMom,

It is a genuine honor to meet you. Someone who actually has a feel for the lumberjack eras.

I admire you for the job you did. And for the sweet memory of the guy's head bobbing to "Material Girl."

Another line of work that is now extinct, blacksmithing, I might tackle in the future, but with a lot of research. I knew of a man who was friends with my parents who made his living as a blacksmith. I loved to play in his shop. And my mother allowed me to do this because she felt that I needed to learn some things that she appreciated.

Thank you again for the wonderful comment.

RockyMountainMom profile image

RockyMountainMom 2 years ago from Montana

Somewhere in the past year, I think through Girl Scouts/Boy Scouts channels, I heard of a young man (in high school) looking for a blacksmithing apprenticeship---certainly not something you hear of every day!

kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author


You are right on that. He must be a rare individual and a loner so to speak and thinks his own thoughts and not a crowd follower.

I think now I WILL try to take on the task of getting inside the heads and lives of blacksmiths, but not tonight. Today was the day I go to a pain clinc in Tupelo, Miss. for a surgeon to put me to sleep so he can inject painkillers into my spine.

It is now 8:40 p.m., Wednesday, cdst, and I have been away sinc 12 noon, cdst.

Yes, my new good friend, I am tired. This old 60-year-old body cannot do the things I used to do at 22.

Keep in touch with me. You are a very interesting person and writer.

CruiseReady profile image

CruiseReady 2 years ago from East Central Florida

Thank you for a chuckle this morning. I needed it!

kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Hi, CruiseReady,

You are always welcome. I had much rather make ONE of my followers happy if only for a moment than try to sleep when I know I have hurt five of my followers. God forbid.

Thanks for the sweet comment and for the cherished-follow. I appreicate YOU very much.

gracenotes profile image

gracenotes 2 years ago from North Texas


You left a comment on my hub, "How is the Internet Changing Your Brain?" weeks ago. I did not respond (my mother just passed away, and I have been dealing with all the events leading up to that). However, I wanted you to know I appreciated your kind comments.

This hub was very interesting to me. It is strange, but I just saw a billboard out on the freeway near Ft. Worth that spotlights the Stephen F. Austin State University Lumberjacks (that is their college mascot, and SFA is one college in Texas where you can get a forestry degree). I was too tired to memorize the marketing message about the "Jacks", and even if I had been alert, the shock of seeing such a message about the tiny school in East Texas would have prevented the lines from registering. However, if I see that billboard again, I will come back to report what it says! Because how many times would you see this?

Hint: It did NOT say, "I'm a lumberjack, and I'm OK."

Always a treat to see nice, clear writing about a subject most of us don't fathom. Now that my difficult family situation is past, I hope to come back and write some more hubs (something I have not been able to do for a LONG time).

vkwok profile image

vkwok 2 years ago from Hawaii

Great way to start my morning!

kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Hi, vkwok,

Thank you, dear friend.

I appreciate you so much. Have a blessed weekend and visit with me anytime and stay as long as you like.

God blesss you.

kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Dear gracenotes,

First off, I am so sorry about the painful event in your life. Really. I can relate easily.

Secondly, I appreciate your commenting on this subject that I do NOT know all I need to know about as of yet.

But with some sweaty research, my eyes were opened to just how tough these guys had it.

And I would not doubt that their wives were as tough as they were.

But out of respect for you and your pain, may I just abstain from commenting anymore right now, as I do not want you to be stuck here reading when you could be healing.

And if I can be of any help, PLEASE let me know.

God bless you, My Dear friend.


Brandi Bush profile image

Brandi Bush 2 years ago from Maryland

Very entertaining!!! :-)

kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Hey, Brandi,

You are a very sweet and kind person/writer.

I am serious. Thank you is all tht I have to offer you right now, so I am so sorry that I cannot send you a new Mercedes and I would do that in a heartbeat if only I had the cash.

Be safe and have a peaceful night.

JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 2 years ago from Central Oklahoma

Hilarious, Kenneth! A pity HP doesn't have a rating category called "Extremely, falling out of my chair funny" or I would've clicked that one, too! Good thing I wasn't sipping coffee when I read "have to help the wife hang curtains"!

btw, believe it or not the CBS newsman and epitome of classy word usage, Edward R. Murrow, was a lumberjack in his college years in Washington State. However, moving so far up in the world didn't mean he didn't occasionally revert to the language of his lumberjack days off camera! :D

kenneth avery profile image

kenneth avery 2 years ago from Hamilton, Alabama Author

Oh, my Dear JamaGenee,

Thank you for your Very Kind, Sweet and Much-Appreciated comment.

You humble me each time you leave a comment. I am totally-serious.

Glad that you found a laugh in this hub.

And you drink coffee too? I practically live on coffee, well, not literally, but I love coffee.

And Edward R. Murrow was a lumberjack? What a great nugget of information you have given me to share with our local paper's staffwriter, a Mr. Howell, who worships Murrow.

I do so enjoy chatting with you like this.

Hopefully time and my life will last long enough to save up the cash to meet you one day, but let's just have coffee and not go to any luberjack camps. LOL.

JamaGenee profile image

JamaGenee 2 years ago from Central Oklahoma

Yay, a fellow caffeine addict! Over the years, I've learned to be leary of people who don't drink coffee. I can't start the day without it, and woe be to anybody who gets between me and the first cup!

Hasn't Mr. Howell read Murrow's biography? That's where I learned about his time felling trees. Alas, right off hand I can't put my hands on my copy to include the title and author here. That's what happens when one doesn't have enough bookshelves. Sigh... ;D

Kenneth Avery 2 years ago

Hi, sweet JamaGenee,

I admit it. I am addiced to coffee. I hear you about if I do not have my first cup in the morning, well, there I have to use self-control or what is left of it.

I do not know if Howell has read Murrow's biography. I know that when I worked with him, he said he had watched his documentary on PBS, so he prides himself on being a Murrow freak, but without the cigarettes.

Thanks a million for the sweet comment and you, my dear, have a safe night and weekend.

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