Tuesday, March 22, 2011

In which I offer criticism of a major American poet.



So, my friend, Alice, posted this video on Facebook and I had to make an observation. This is by way of getting some general bitching outta the way.

I dunno, isn't she bitching because the old timers won't let her work harder? I had just turned 19. I was a new hire at Ford's Dearborn Assembly Plant, the mothership of the Ford Motor Company. I was given a pointless, but easy job on my first day. I wanted the boss to like me. I wanted the job to work out. I threw myself into it.

After about an hour an old timer, a battle hardened veteran, a grizzled old autoworker in his late twenties walked up to me smoking a cigarette.

He watched me work for a minute then said, "Kid, come 'ere a minute. Do you like work? Lemme tell you somethin' kid. The more work you show 'em you can do, the more work they'll provide yer ass. Slow down."

He meant that, if I let them, they would work me until my back was ruined. Until my knees and shoulders were grinding bone on bone. Until I lost a finger, or maybe a hand in the gears of some machine. Until the smoke and fumes had destroyed my lungs. Until my heart gave out or the cancer ate me alive. He was trying to tell me to pace myself for a life time.

I'm glad Patti ran away to become an artist but that doesn't mean she understood what was going on. I love Patti but this time she got it wrong.

Honest, my faithful anonymous reader in Cocoa Beach, I'm working on an original post here at Poetry Is For Assholes. Trouble is I'm not much for work. If you catch my drift.

14 comments:

urania235 said...

Goldbricker!

rich said...

Those hipster artiste' motherfuckers always preach the worker dogma until they actually are handed the shovel.

ish said...

As a recovering professional I would like to firmly state that believing anything your boss tells you is overrated. It's a sucker's game.

That said, I do love Patti.

tip said...

me either!

uniplmr1 said...

Take it fucking easy for christsakes. She was foreshadowing. She bore children and took care of them later. That's work, baby...my machine is fucked up, I will appear intermittently until google, comcast and i settle up or die...how many t's are in intermittently?

Jon said...

Hey, Tim, you know I love her. I was just trying to talk about something I know that 16 year old Patti and 19 year old me just didn't understand. Give 'em hell.

ib said...

Well. Patti has been on my mind too.

In the factory; bubbling in the river.

In the past, when I've worked as part of a crew, it was my habit to go at it hammer and tongs. Good going so long as the foreman let us clock off early. That happened in a few instances. Most of the time it was just a means to let off steam, bludgeon the screaming in one's head.

Short time. And not advisable in the long haul.

Devil Dick said...

just saw this and thought of you....

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hPtbG0vtkHY

cheers!
Tommy/DD

noahlusions said...

I'm still waiting for the criticism of a major American poet.

Jon said...

Do not get snotty with me young man.

rick said...

well I have worked these sort of jobs my entire life (I'm 53 and been at it full time since I was 15) and I understand exactly what Patti is talking about the only way for me to make the day pass quickly is to keep busy if your sandbagging the damn day never passes the seconds drag like hours but when your busy you can just kind zen out

Jon said...

Hey, Rick you misunderstand. I'm a steady worker and I like to know that something got done on my watch. Now that I'm a part time office drone there's nothing thrills me like a completed checklist. I was advocating for pacing not slacking off. I wouldn't mind slacking off so much except I know it means dumping your work off on someone else. I try to avoid that by all possible means.

rick said...

well then were kinda understanding Patti differently /I take her as railing against the workers who want to just not stay busy(which I have worked with everywhere) the ones who want to just drag their heels and get mad at the workers who do stay busy

DaisyDeadhead said...

I love Patti, she was a regular looking woman who got famous. Got another one, besides character actresses like Doris Roberts, et. al? THERE AIN'T NONE. That's her importance. She won't get rid of the gray in her hair either! (((devotion! fawning!))) Its a lady thing, Jon.

On the job, I heard "slow down" when I was a kid, then I heard "speed up" from other people... I finally got it: take the cue from the older workers and when they slow down, you slow down, they speed up, you speed up. It worked for me forever after!

This company I worked for, Teletech, took calls for UPS (have never said that on my blog before, but I will say it here) and I think you can imagine what it was like to take calls during the strike. What pissed me off is that we were contract workers and therefore could not strike, but were getting yelled at on the phone for being on strike!

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