Saturday, February 25, 2006

Lost Labor

Lost Labor

Friday, February 17, 2006


Caltrans is working on the extension to route 52 in Santee and the mother eating machines are out there chewing up Forester creek. What was an ecosystem for migrating birds and local critters is now stripped barren. The 2 snowey egrets I saw on a walk through there last week before the work began were circling one of the giant steel jawed machines, landing a little while later to take in the view of their new landscape. The saddest part of it all is that the new freeway will be obsolete the day it opens and the machines will continue chewing their way through the planet.

Where will the working class live in San Diego in the near future? Are they going to be pushed out as well? Unless a person has roomates or a working spouse, it is impossible to live here now on a working class wage. But what will the future residents do when they need a carpenter to come out? Or a plumber? Can they continue to get their furniture at Ikea or their clothes at WalMart as the oil shortages increase the cost of shipping goods from China?
Seems to me that a working person ought to be able to do well here in the future if they can hang on to a place to live. Now that we have a service based economy and all the trade shops in high school are closing down, people skilled in the crafts are becoming a rarity and should be able to demand the highest of wages.

Saturday, February 11, 2006

More on Uncle Fred and the other brothers.

I'm not really sure why I ended up being self-employed, my company has been in existence since 1984. It started out as a crate building company and it had some real promise, but then along the way the truth came out about what it would take to succeed in it. Buyers for the large companies that would generate the type of income required to make a profit either wanted bribes or preferred to do business with their own contacts. Neither my partner nor I cared for the idea of bribing people, we have a preference for earning our reputation based on a job well done. For awhile there we made some real progress, getting a reputation for a good product delivered on time. But then came the turnovers in the buyer departments and we would have to start out all over again trying to kick in the doors of people who had already made up their minds. A reputation for a job well done was not enough. Aside from few companies that required a quality container for such things as electronics, artwork and displays, most of the other potential customers all wanted cheap crap, and I cant bring myself to make cheap crap.
I'm starting to ramble, so back to Uncle Fred. I think the real reason I'm self-employed is because......when I look back I realize that Uncle Fred(farmer) Uncle Jake(tile artist) and Uncle Irwin(machinest) were role models for me and they showed me an alternate lifestyle opposite of what my father did for a living. Dear old dad worked in the same factory for forty something years and was a very un-happy man and that was what I was being groomed for. Lucky for me the 60's came along and I got a chance to see life from a different angle and chose the path of my uncles. So I passed on the factory job and quit making crates. Now I make things I can be pround of and I get to utilize all the skills I've aquired in my 52 years.
I know that one of the things really old people have in common is to work hard. But it has to be satifying work, something thats always changing and developing. I feel lucky to have had the chances I've had even though it hasn't made me rich.
I wish all people could be so lucky and not have to spend a life of misery.........

"Arbeit Macht Frei" (Work Brings Freedom) was the sign over the gates of Auschwitz. It was placed there by Major Rudolf Hoss, commandant of the camp.

Friday, February 10, 2006

This blog was created for the purpose of talking about working folk and stereotypes and descrimination and whatever else pops into my mind. It was born over a month ago and I havn't written a damn thing because..............of work. That might be one of the biggest reasons why we don't see more of a contribution to the arts and sciences by the working class, because they're too busy putting food on the table and taking care of their families to be working on the unified theory of physics. We must be careful not to judge a persons level of intelligence on the type of work they are engaged in. You really don't know why a person does what he/she does for a living. Somestimes it isn't always about money or status.
A person that I love and respect very much, made a comment in a recent Christmas letter referring to the people of a nearby farming community as "wearing bluejeans and baseball hats and saying"diesel"and similar things". I was surprised by the naivety of the statement because she is a very intelligent and traveled person and maybe that's some of my own stereotyping showing itself, but honestly I've known many a farmer over the years including my dear departed Uncle Fred and I've never heard a one of them say the word "diesel" unless they were at a filling station. Uncle Fred was one of the smartest men I've ever known, wise in a way that is disappearing from humankind as we as a species drift farther and farther away from nature and how the world really works.
Sometimes when I try to talk to her about my mother I feel as though she is disregarding me because I'm not in the medical profession as she is. When I question her about certain medical dogma it is not out of disrespect for her or her achievments, but from a true desire to understand the world around me, and in this case to help my mother. But yet I get this feeling that she doesn't think me worthy of the discussion. I don't pretend to know the things that she knows, it's not my specialty. My specialty is woodworking, metalworking, plastics fabrication, welding, drafting, estimating,sales, sweeping the floor and driving the truck. When I get up in the morning I read the newspaper, on the net and Woods lot, when I sit down to take a crap I read Scientific American. My favorite tv shows are Nova, Now and Frontline. I've learned so much from other people and most of them were working class. I've known so many others, people like doctors or engineers that I've learned virtually nothing from because they somehow don't care to share what they know with someone who is obviosly not one of them. Is it because I don't have that degree? How would they know? Because I drive a truck? Because I wear a t-shirt and jeans?

I am a

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