Saturday, April 4, 2009

LETTERS FROM STEVO: Working Class Hero! Vol. I

A working class hero is something to be...John Lennon. Yes, John Lennon wrote those lyrics many years ago. Apparently, he decided he was a working class hero despite making millions of dollars as a musician...

In honor of this delusional rationality, I'm writing a series of posts dedicated to my days as a working class hero! Yes, I once worked manual labor jobs in my younger years! I've since become an HR guy and have to admit there are times I feel like I'm more a part of "the Man" than a working class hero anymore...I can terminate people in cold blood with the best of 'em! I enjoyed manual labor because at the end of the day, there was always a physical sense of opposed to feeling leashed to my Blackberry...hoping there aren't any emergency situations that need to be handled. Don't get me wrong about my job, the pay is good, there is some flexibility with my hours and I usually enjoy the sense of responsibility. But I admit, I have fond memories of my early jobs. Before I get into my first paid job, I will use this post to address my first unpaid job...working for Ol' Ern!

Ern sensed a real duty to instill the ethic of hard work into the feeble minds of the Busch Brothers. Every Saturday was spent working in the yard, building sheds, digging ditches, pulling weeds, working on cars, painting the house, building a room out of the car port, etc. His timing for projects was typically impeccable...he would pick the windiest day possible to decide to put together an aluminum shed...and it had to be finished that day! I once had to take a day off from school to dig up the septic tank...and I enjoyed it...Dammit! I got into a fight at school and received out of school suspension for a day. Do you think I got the day off? Ern had a "to do" list all ready for me!

The carport project was a beast unto itself! Ern decided that everything other than the framing was DIY. My favorite memories of this include him having me drill through concrete with a handheld drill, holding up drywall while he hammered it in then Ern getting pissed off because I couldn't hold the drywall up for hours on end...I would respond to this with a sarcastic comment that would then prompt him to chase me around the house! Unfortunately, Big Dave wasn't as cooperative as I was, and I recall Ern commenting to me once, "that kid is slow as molasses!" after telling Dave to come out and help for the 20th time!

I think the most valuable lesson I learned from this experience was not necessarily hard work ethic, but how to manipulate Ern into getting what I wanted. Ern's basic philosophy was as follows, "I Ern am bound when ye do what I say, when ye do not what I say, ye have no promise." I learned that if I went out and helped him without complaint and worked hard, he would hand me the keys to the party wagon, cash and a license to party on a Saturday night! Lesson learned for a young working class hero!

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