Don’t call us, we’ll call you

March 17, 2011

Thesis Thursday: Stymied . . .

Filed under: Incarceration research — Tags: , , , — llcall @ 12:00 pm

Can you help a sister out?  I need to pool some collective knowledge here.

I’m reviewing the transcript of one of my interviews — one of my favorites (which I say about 9 out of 12 of them, so take it for what it’s worth) — and although there’s tons of good stuff in there, it has been majorly frustrating: Start with a fast-talker.  Mix in the fact that he likes to talk for minutes at a time without breaks, seamlessly moving from one topic to the next.  Top it off with his own unique pronunciations.  And I am getting seriously stuck.

Especially on this one particular word, which is, in fact, critical because he’s telling me what he’s planning to do with the rest of his life once he’s released from jail.  And for the life of me, I can’t figure out what he’s saying, nor remember what I must have thought he was saying during the actual interview.  Ah, the joys of qualitative data collection.

So although you can’t listen to the actual recording, I’m counting on someone with a bright idea.  Everyone loves a good detective game, right?

Here’s what he said, with the word/words in question highlighted:

  • So when I met the guy, he was cool, know what I’m saying, so, as time prevailed or whatever, we got to know each other, I worked with him, and now I do top point (?), he taught me how to do brick mason and stuff.
  • I was supposed to open up my own store, start up my own ten point (?) this year. That $1500 dollars I messed up, that was for my truck and my tools straight up, so.
  • I already told ya. I’m starting my own ten point (?). You want to see jumps, construction, and ten pointing (?) [Note: This reference is really funny because he says it in an exaggerated way, like it’s a superpower or something; makes me smile every time.], handyman. I wanna be self-employed, that ten point (?) off the ground, solid. Where I could become my own contractor, where you call me and okay, okay, that’s what you need done, well, I’ll send these two guys over there and take care of that, your fee will be so and so. Within 48 hours, the job would be done at your suspense, so… I’m going to be uh, got to have it, man. Just bout all, my plans are simple, easy. I tell you, you could do this tomorrow, in two months for real, I could get a loan, if I get a loan, I could get the ten point (?) business started and then get the apartments at the same time, cause they sell a dollar.It’s easy, man, ten point (?) I could make $1500 dollars on a job in ten point (?). Get paid $20 dollars an hour.
  • I’m not thinking about specific amounts. I’m thinking about first go, I need to get me a truck, first though I have to get my license, get a truck, get some tools, some ten point (?) tools. Then once I reach that right there I can go ahead and call the people that I know that could get me jobs I could do to make money. . . . So if I start out with my ten point (?) first, get off on my feet real good on that, financially wise I be taken care of. Once I get financially stable then I can move to the next step and that is to get the building. Because I already know where to go to get the dry wall, get certain contracts for home improvement. They give you so much material for the low, low, I’m like cool with that. I just got to start. Get my card out and start a ten pointer (?), a union worker now. That is my whole thing right now that is off the case. So.
  • I like working with my hands, so why not do construction work or something, then I found myself doing more construction work. I’ll be driving down the street and see someone working on the house, I stop and ask do you need some help. I won’t charge much. You give me $150 bucks and I’ll help you. Serious, all right come on. This white dude he was ten pointing (?) on top of this building, it was an old building. He had a nice little had to go on it and I told him, I do that too, man. How much you charge, and I like, man you give me like $10 an hour and I wouldn’t even trip. He said I got something better. I’ll pay you $15 dollars an hour if you can start right now. Bam, let’s go. I was in my clean clothes and everything. My tennis shoes and I had to go, I dirtied up all these. No but, you don’t got a lot of people like that. A lot of people want things easy, really easy. I seen more dudes in here with soft hands and nice pedicure hands than I have ever seen in my life. What do you do up in Champaign, what do you all do, nothing. Man, I can’t do it. I got to work. I have to, I have to do something constructive with my time, if I don’t I will be in trouble. I will be in trouble, but I’ve got to do something constructive. I work on cars, I work on winter-time, I learned how to ten point (?) in the winter time. Cold up there on the ladder, chisel those bricks. You try chiseling bricks, it is cold, my hands froze. Got to get it done, so.

So what have we gathered?  It involves bricks and chiseling.  You do it, at least in part, on a roof.  It can be a noun, a verb, an adjective, a gerund.  At different points, it sounds like any or all of these:

  • ten point
  • tum point
  • tumpointing
  • top point
  • tough point
  • toughpin

Anyone know anything about brick masonry/construction?

(And Brandon, feel free to step in and save the day since you were with me on this one!  But no pressure . . . okay, maybe a little pressure.)



  1. I am extremely intrigued, but sorry to say that I have no idea what that could mean. Please publish the answer to the mystery once it is solved!

    Comment by Rachel — March 17, 2011 @ 2:33 pm

  2. Via my husband who is super good at the internet:

    Comment by Rachel — March 17, 2011 @ 2:45 pm

    • Rachel and Dan, you rock my world!!! Dan makes the internet look sooo easy…while I scoured through pages of masonry terminology to no avail 🙂

      Comment by llcall — March 17, 2011 @ 3:17 pm

  3. “Within 48 hours, the job would be done at your suspense” – is ‘suspense’ supposed to be ‘expense’? not that it matters, since Rachel’s husband obviously solved your puzzle… just curious. 🙂

    Comment by Sabrina — March 17, 2011 @ 9:12 pm

    • I’m certain he meant “expense” but switching words like that is a pretty common occurrence in interviews like this. Sometimes it appears to be because of limited education and sometimes because of fast talking…in this case, he was one of the more educated individuals (which in this setting, means he had a GED) so I’m assuming he was just talking so fast he mixed up the words.

      Comment by llcall — March 18, 2011 @ 2:28 am

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