Wednesday, August 31, 2016

Labor Day Q&A

Once again we are going into the last official weekend of summer. The "summer" casual Fridays will come to an end and the kids will all be back in school in earnest. [And for me, the tourists will finally give us a break in NYC!]. So let's take a few minutes to celebrate the American workers who toil tirelessly to keep the engines of commerce of this great nation three parts.

Part I: From the Department of Labor website:

Labor Day: What it Means

Labor Day, the first Monday in September, is a creation of the labor movement and is dedicated to the social and economic achievements of American workers. It constitutes a yearly national tribute to the contributions workers have made to the strength, prosperity, and well-being of our country...

Here's a link - The History Of Labor Day

So now that you have read all about the history of Labor Day as brought to you by the US Goverment, let's hear from a poet who celebrated the common laborer.

Part II: From poet Walt Whitman:

I Hear America Singing


I hear America singing, the varied carols I hear,
Those of mechanics, each one singing his as it should be blithe and strong,
The carpenter singing his as he measures his plank or beam,
The mason singing his as he makes ready for work, or leaves off work,
The boatman singing what belongs to him in his boat, the deckhand singing on the steamboat deck,
The shoemaker singing as he sits on his bench, the hatter singing as he stands,
The wood-cutter’s song, the ploughboy’s on his way in the morning, or at noon intermission or at sundown,
The delicious singing of the mother, or of the young wife at work, or of the girl sewing or washing,
Each singing what belongs to him or her and to none else,
The day what belongs to the day—at night the party of young fellows, robust, friendly,
Singing with open mouths their strong melodious songs.

Part III: Let's play a game! This is one of those hashtag games that was running around Twitter a week or so ago and, before it caused all sorts of "white privilege" angst amongst the complaining Twits, it was fun and enlightening.

Anyway, here are the questions [modified for space and time]:

1. What were your first 5 jobs?

2. What were your parents' first 3 jobs?

3. What were your grandparents' first 2 job?

Pick one question to answer or answer them all if you can.

Have a great Labor Day everyone!!

Note: 68 days until Election Day 2016.


Anonymous said...

Bev: Thought provoking questions! I'll work on them some more tomorrow but I can tell you that my maternal grandfather's first job was mining coal in Pennsylvania. He was 14 years old. That was in 1925. He did it until he was 19, with his dad. They didn't get paid by the hour, they got paid by the ton.

AndrewPrice said...

Bev, It's too bad that laborers are no longer loved by the labor movement. They prefer billionaires and welfare types now.

On your questions...

1. What were your first 5 jobs?

Community organizer, state senator, President of the US.

2. What were your parents' first 3 jobs?

Dad: Nigerian scammer, student.
Mom: Shacker-upper

Oh wait, that's Obama.

tryanmax said...

First 5 jobs
1. Detasseling corn
2. Telemarketing (x3)
3. Park maintenance
4. Janitor
5. McD's

I have no clue what my parents' first jobs were, but dad's career was as a mechanic and mom's in office clerical work. Such white privilege was I born into!

tryanmax said...

Lemme add, Dad's dad was a delivery man of various sorts for most of his life, ultimately working for the USPS until he retired. Dad's mom was all sorts of things, mainly a seamstress.

Mom's dad was a farmer until he got wise to the fact that the insurance man got paid whether the year was good or bad, and followed that notion. Mom's mom taught in a one-room schoolhouse, and Mom was one of her pupils. BTW, the farm had running water, but no outgoing plumbing. It boggles my mind that I'm only one generation removed from that.

Oh, and both my grandpa's served in the Navy, but in opposite oceans. I've always thought that was funny.

Anthony said...

1. Stockboy (Kmart)
2. Cook (Hardees)
3. I forget the job title, but I was getting paid by some advocacy group to watch tv (they gave us specific episodes) and note every bit of sexual content. Oz was always painful.
4. Administrative Assistant (for a small law firm)
5. Operator (AMW)

BevfromNYC said...

This is fabulous! Just a couple of questions so far:
1. Tryanmax - What is "detassling corn"?

2. Anthony, where did you get a job watching TV??? I excel at that! I would go so far as say that I am a TV watching savant/genius who could and has turned TV-watching into an Art form with a capital "A"!

BevfromNYC said...

Gypsy - let's us know!

BevfromNYC said...

Andrew - It is a tragic that we think so little of "laborers". These jobs - building trades, mechanics, shop owners, miners, makers of things, farm workers/growers of things and all jobs that require manual skills are considered "less than" jobs. We divide them by class distiction too. We have been led to believe that skilled laborers are stupid dullards who probably think. But of course, that is just not true. But whatever makes the educated elite feel beter about themselves.

Btw, the most useless people during a disaster are almost always the "educated elite".

tryanmax said...

Bev, detasseling corn is exactly what it sounds like, removing the tassel from the corn plant. This is an essential part of the process in producing hybrid seed corn. Two varieties of corn are planted together, with 4 or 6 rows of one variety planted to every 1 or 2 of the other. The majority variety has their tassels removes to prevent them from pollinating, assuring the minority variety will pollinate the field. (Corn plants have both male and female parts, thus removing the tassel essentially renders those plants female.)

Of course, you don't need to know all that in order to do it. All you need is to be reasonably tall enough to reach the top of a corn plant so as to pull the tassel out. Also, you must be competent enough to drop the tassel to the ground. If it gets hung up on the leaves, it may still pollinate. There are machines designed for this task, but they lack the efficiency (60 - 90%) needed to successfully hybridize corn stocks. Thus, manual labor is required to finish the job (99.5 - 99.9%).

tryanmax said...

I should add, the job of detasseling is something of a right-of-passage for teen in the corn belt, which is to say it is basically ritualistic torture inflicted on young people. Corn leaves can be razor sharp, temperatures in the fields can fluctuate 40°--50° in a day, and heat stroke is not uncommon.

It happened to me. There is something lastingly disconcerting about being shivering cold on a 100°+ day with high humidity. The upside is that detasseling provides greater economic benefit than simply hanging from hooks pressed through the skin. Also, who doesn't appreciate perspiring nubile young bodies in states of partial undress under the midday sun? Poetry in motion!

BevfromNYC said...

Thanks for the detassling instructions. Not only does it sound like very hard work, I didn't know what was entailed in growing corn. It is much more complicated than many might think. Even sciencey! Most people never really think about how their food makes it to the table. It's prolly a farmer just throws a bunch 'a seeds in a row and they grow and are picked.

And yeah, I understand from personal experience "heat stroke" shivering when it's 100degrees is scary.

EPorvaznik said...

1) Asphalt seal coating
2) Pizza cook/delivery boy
3) Video store clerk
4-5) Various temp jobs, including janitor and sheet metal pressing, the latter of which gave me a literal appreciation for the industrial music scene coming into its earliest popularity at the time.

Dad: Auto mechanic --> Navy --> Insurance salesman
Mom: Social worker

His dad: Farmer --> Marine
Her dad: Navy --> angriest man in Western PA

Ahhhhh, privilege ...

BevfromNYC said...

1. File clerk
2. Dept. store sales associate
3. Student Ass't
4. Free-lance theatre carpenter/electrician/costumer/anything they would pay me to do and sometimes not pay me to do not in NYC.
5. Free-lance theatre stage manager/costumer in NYC.

Dad - delivery boy/soda jerk, Navy pilot, Doctor
Mom - Dietician, real estate agent

His Dad: immigrant; delivery/deli worker; deli owner Brooklyn, NY.
His Mom: Immigrant/Sweatshop seamstress (age 12 to 68);

Her Dad: WWI Army soldier; Railroad telegrapher
Her Mom: Primary school teacher

BevfromNYC said...

EP: You owe me for a new monitor for the spit-take when I read "Her dad: Navy --> angriest man in Western PA" that left my monitor drenched. 8-D

EPorvaznik said...

Unless you don't mind putting it on DeBlahBlah's ever-increasing tab, will do. I just honestly don't know what my Grandfather's post-Navy job was. Only knew him later in life, long after he and my grandmother had divorced, and while always nice to me (except when busting my balls for not drinking beer -- "What the hell kind of Slovak are you?!?!" -- never met a more cantankerous man in my life, not even my other grandfather, a man my dad still considers suing Norman Lear over Archie Bunker likeness right.

ArgentGale said...

For me, and this is stretching it a bit since I spent more time in school than on the job.

School office assistant
State office assistant
Library research assistant
Warehouse monkey (current)

My mom said her first job was in a shoe store but I mainly knew her to work accounting jobs. My now former stepfather was in the military and worked various office jobs afterward. Last I knew my grandmother did some kind of work for Belk while my grandfather was in the military and spent the rest of his career in the police.

- Daniel

tryanmax said...

EPorvaznik, on the beer thing, I have to side with your grandfather.

Critch said...

1. Farm worker
2. Pallet Maker
3. Forest Fire Fighter
4. Log Cutter
5. USAF Nuclear Weapons Specialist

My Dad:
1. Farmer
2. Truck Driver
3. Moonshiner
4. Prison Guard
5. Auto Mechanic

My Mom:
1. Waitress
2. Seamstress
3. Factory Worker (B-25s during the war)
4. Restaurant Hostess
5. LPN

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