Monday, November 03, 2008

Back and Hands

A great NYT article from Sunday, written by Stanley Fish. A lifetime ago, I remember having a memorable meal in the train car restaurant he mentioned in his piece. I'd quibble with the location, though. Unless the train tracks or cars moved, the restaurant is in Carrboro, NC (The Paris of the Piedmont) and not Chapel Hill, N.C. There definitely was something about eating in a rail car, stationary or ripping on the rails, that promotes easy and gradually ratcheting up conversation.
What rings true for me with Mr. Fish's article is the Slavic tone and the concomitant attitude toward politicians. Entwined like rope, this mind-set is what throws, for me at least, the whole RNC "Joe the Plumber" scenario into disbelief and a touch of empathy for the poor guy. Somehow, a guy working with his hands, dealing literally with the muck of humanity, and associating with politicians, of either stripe, throws in doubt his very connection with the working guy. Having laboured during my high school and college summers in various jobs involving back muscle, excessive sweating, and colorful language I graduated college thankful that I had other work possibilities and grateful that I had worked with such great people. There was such a sweet pleasure at the end of a day and particularly at the end of the week, when my hands and back had a chance to recuperate. Callouses were a visible reward for another day's work. The approval of my elders at work, transmitted by their calling me by name rather than by "Kid" or "Punk" stayed withe me longer than any "A" in high school or college. Those summer jobs were probably why I always tended to work for companies after graduating that made something rather than simply serviced something. The tangibility of manufacturing rather than the construction of words was primal, in a way.

Am I happy with the choices we've been provided for tomorrow? Absolutely not. It is a shame that this great country can come down to Mr. Obama and Mr. McCain. Perhaps the Max the Plumbers know what an unfulfilling and dirty job it is to run for president. They would rather deal with the pipes than what runs through them.

But, vote we must. So, I'm sticking with Hope rather than Hate. I'm voting for Obama's plumbing company.

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