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To Work Alone (But I Repeat Myself)

[Editor’s Note: Something like three years old, this one is.]
{Author’s Note: Something like Yoda, that comment was. An editor there is not}

I work alone.

Not always, of course, but generally. This was not always the case.

I’ve worked in about every kind of work setting. Mill building. Clean room. School. Office. Concrete block building. Ditch. Shed. Barroom. Boat. Hospital. Home. Above ground. Below. Hot. Cold. Dry. Damp. Boring. Terrifying.

The vagary that makes any setting go is the other people. And now there aren’t any.

I’ve been responsible for hundreds of employees at one time, and just a few at others. Hundreds of employees is much easier. When you only have two, and one is named “Rob,” and you find out that “rob” is a verb, not a noun, you’ve got a fifty percent failure rate. I had a guy constantly found sleeping at his workstation “working” for me once. He was just one in a hundred. No big deal.

But to work alone is to be your own annoyance. You’re the laziest, stupidest person present. There is always a person to encourage sloth — you; but there is never anyone to shame you into holding up your end. You’ve got both ends. And the end in the middle.

Sometimes, the light is good. The tools are sharp. The wood is flat. The mosquitoes are on vacation. Your shoes fit. There are no splinters. Whatever you look for is on the shelf. The dimensions add up. Vivaldi comes on the radio. The money comes. The floor is swept. Nothing is late. The phone does not ring unwonted. The blade does not wander.

And when all that happens…

How the hell would I know? I’d settle for two of those things at the same time. I’m all alone.

Have A Pleasant Thanksgiving (Yer Mother!)

[Editor’s Note: From 2006. I was Thankful I could run it again instead of being original]
{Author’s Note: Happy Thanksgiving. And there is no editor}

There are lots of news stories available –the majority of them, I think– expounding on the horrors of Thanksgiving. “Send us your dysfunctional family Thanksgiving disaster stories” is the lede on every radio program I can find that hasn’t jumped the gun entirely and started with “Tell us your Christmas horror stories.”

I’m not having it. Thanksgiving is lovely. Or it should be.

Thanksgiving doesn’t beat around the bush; right in the name it tells you it’s a day to be grateful. Complaining about it seems to me to be like going to the art museum and complaining that the paintings are obscuring your view of the walls.

Hmm. Perhaps that’s a bad simile. I’ve been to many museums where the dropcloth daubs they hang on the walls aren’t as interesting as the off-white paint, now that I consider it. So please insert “Uffizi Gallery in Florence, Italy” in the preceding paragraph where “art museum” appears. Thanks.

Anyway, it’s not about you. For one day, at least, I don’t want to hear about your crabby attitude towards your assembled family and your overcooked turkey. I don’t want to hear about the lousy TV you’ve got to watch the football game on. I don’t care if you don’t like the floats that drift by Macy’s like garish barrage balloons. Put a sock in it. It’s not about you.

It’s not about any one of us. It’s about remembering that everything all of us have is a gift, and we could lose it, and we should take time out from our lives for one day a year and acknowledge that.

Have you ever been in a soup kitchen on Thanksgiving? I hate the preening socialites and politicians that visit there on Thanksgiving to get face time on TV. I think much more kindly about the people that feed those poor souls on November 25th and November 27th, when the cameras aren’t interested.

There’s a look on a person’s face, when someone gives them something they need that they might not have otherwise. It’s the look on the face of the man in line at the soup kitchen. It’s gratitude.

I’m going to give it a try today, that look. It looks like Thanksgiving.

Circus Is In Town

The clowns are in the audience now. Serious business onstage.

Can You Love People?

Real, live people. I’m afraid I do. It makes me lonely to love people.

Not people as an abstraction. I’m talking about persons. When people start talking about their ideas for “the people,” I know some “persons” are going in the proverbial oven. Can you love your fellow man? Not the ones just like you. All sorts of other people. Everyone seems interested in fixing all the other people in the world. It’s not a new idea, but everyone thinks they’ve just invented the wheel or fire or something every time they try it. Persons always suffer when ideas about perfecting people get going. It’s an iron law, like gravity or the 1040 form.

People are raucous and noisy and they jostle and fight. They smell. Occasionally they smell good. They have ambition where you wish they’d lie still. They are somnolent when you’d prefer they push your cart. They are rotund and jolly and easygoing whether you think everyone should be a humorless ectomorph scold or not.

An ideal human’s behavior is being laid out with plumb bob and ruler right now, by people for whom I have no regard. The persons they are trying to make from the magnificent clay of humanity would be contemptible, if it was possible to produce them, which it isn’t. They wear the authenticity of real people like a cannibal wears the skin of his victim.

Above all, they hate the sight of children. They’re all still potential persons. Can’t have that, can we? Me? That’s why I love them.

Why Don’t You Write A Folksong?

It’s Sunday. You’ve nothing else to do. Go on. It’s just a few chords and a little singsong melody over the top. It must be easy.

Good luck. We’re all counting on you.

We’re All Jules Vernatics On This Bus

Honorary Borderline Sociopathic Boy of the Day goes to Greg Brotherton, who like any self-respecting hero or villain has an alter ego: Brotron

Not particularly Steampunk, now that you mention it. No brass. More Art Decomposition or Fritz Langostura, really.

All artists make things with what others throw away. Brotron is just a more obvious example of the phenomenon. More here.

Month: November 2009

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