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A Man Who Has Nothing In Particular To Recommend Him Discusses All Sorts of Subjects at Random as Though He Knew Everything


I like to see regular people working.

Regular people don’t work much any more. You don’t know that because you don’t know any regular people. They’re the guys with meth teeth and neck tattoos glaring at you on the subway, sitting next to some other regular guy’s illegitimate kid and her mother. Their new job is being a professional mess. It pays OK, but it doesn’t “beat working,” as we used to say when we cadged a job with no heavy lifting.

If you think regular people not working is a problem now, you ain’t seen nothin’ yet. There are elaborate schemes in play right now to hide all sorts of people from being counted as not working. They’re tucked away in endless educational gulags where no one learns anything or goes on to do anything worth doing. They’re stashed in cubicles where people don’t do the things they were hired to do, that shouldn’t be done anyway, and won’t be for much longer. You’ll find them nibbling around the edges of commerce in various hamstringing poses, an army of love children of Ralph Nader and Howard Zinn. They are never going to make anything, and will keep others from doing so if they can. Beats working. For now.

Working in a factory like the one shown in the video can be dreary work. I’ve done it. But it doesn’t destroy your soul. You can destroy your soul on the weekends if you like, but the work lends meaning to life.

Time marches on. If you want to get your knickers in a twist over the loss of jobs in a Hammond factory, you should probably at least consider that the Hammond organ, which is a wonderful thing, was designed and made to put big pipe organ manufacturers out of business. Churches and other public buildings needed cheap organs after WW II. It’s nicer to see people making musical instruments than munitions in that factory, isn’t it? Tell it to the pipe organ makers.

A Hammond organ cost a fortune and weighed a ton. I’ve moved a “chopped” Hammond organ many times, along with its evil brother, the Leslie cabinet, and I didn’t sing opera under my breath while doing it, except maybe the parts of an opera where someone gets stabbed. It’s weird to think of it as a cheesy, cheap substitute for what it replaced, but you have to understand what’s going on in an economy that becomes technologically more advanced and allows for creative destruction.

The people in the video were useful and valuable, and made useful and valuable contributions to public life. They had dignity. A good machine makes people more valuable. The world is full of bad machines.

6 Responses

  1. They're stashed in cubicles where people don't do the things they were hired to do, that shouldn't be done anyway, and won't be for much longer.

    Back in the mid '90s I moved to NYC, and before I found a permanent job, I did all kinds of things to make a buck or two and move off the couch of my friends' apartment.

    One of those things was a freelance content editing job for one of the .Coms in what they called "Silicone Alley" in Manhattan, where a bunch of those '90s .Coms were located.

    What I found myself doing was essentially editing web content for grammar and style, with a little rudimentary code fixing on the side.

    What killed me was that I was getting paid $150.00 an hour for this.

    What cracked me up was that the outfit had already paid somebody to write this stuff. Then they payed somebody to clean it up. Then they hired me to fix it.

    For a while I hopped from this and that start-up .Com, doing essentially the same thing under the same circumstances and got paid outrageous amounts of money I would have been embarrassed to ask for if they hadn't been throwing it at me in buckets.

    After just a while it occurred to me that either all these extravagant .Coms had bulletproof business models, or — they didn't!!

    One of the few wise things I can look back and point to was refusing a couple of very well paying full-time job offers with these outfits for the sake of a good job at a good old fashioned pulp fiction publisher. Romances!! They always sell.

    Meanwhile, the jobs I didn't take evaporated, along with their stock options, within six months after I refused them. As did the jobs of dozens of people I knew employed in the .Com boom. A great, big, busy, buzzing nothingburger it all was.

  2. No matter what comes, they will always be a need for those who work with their hands and think with their brains.

    What I worry about is that nobody really wants to work — they just want to go there, hang around a few minutes, and pick up a pay check.

    When I was a division head of an academic department at a local school, I had to tell teachers to put down their cell phones, get off the Internet, and teach.


    I always love your commentary. You sound so sane. 🙂

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