One of my friends is a vocational expert. We talk about work and jobs and one day we were discussing custodians. He said “oh, that’s laborious, unskilled work.” He means no disrespect; he was just stating facts as the Department of Labor have categorized them. When I’m in a public bathroom, I’m glad there is an “unskilled” man or woman keeping things tidy. If I see the “unskilled” person, I treat them with respect and dignity and I speak to them.
I don’t understand why someone hasn’t figured out how to keep public bathrooms neat and clean without the labor of unskilled men and women, but when I stop at the travel centers on the Maine Turnpike, I can see that this particular progressive invention has not landed on our shores yet. Apparently, public bathroom users themselves have not figured out how to be “neat and clean” in using the facilities, but that’s a completely different blog post.
This weekend, one of our Woodland Avenue neighbors had a giant oak tree cut down. My father measured the stump after they were done; it was over thirty inches across.
The tree crew started the job on Saturday and finished late Sunday afternoon. From our lawn chairs, we had excellent seats for the performance. It was part ballet and part high-wire act. It’s mesmerizing to watch a man with spikes in his boots and a chainsaw on his belt climb a tree and go to work.
Is the work of a “Climbing Arborist” considered laborious, unskilled work? It doesn’t require a college education or an advanced degree. No keyboard strokes or special apps are necessary and no junk bonds are sawed and chipped into AAA exotic bonds.
If I say all work has dignity, do I include the high-finance banker alongside the high-wire climbing arborist? Does all work have dignity?
I don’t have those answers today; I’m just a working stiff with sore muscles from pulling tomato plants.
My thoughts about Labor Day haven’t changed from last year.
My brother had some thoughts about Labor Day.
It’s raining, so I’ll be working inside today. Some of it will be laborious, unskilled work like cleaning my bathroom and mending ripped pants. I might move some digitized paper money around in my checking account and then I’ll write an article for my alumni newsletter, voluntarily.