工作的价值

21 四月

When I was fourteen my mom made me get a job.  She was really hell bent on this, as soon as you can start working legally, you start working.  I don’t mean to make her sound mean—this was perfectly normal.  I imagine someone had made her start working the literal second it was legal as well.  On the east coast, at least 20 years ago, there wasn’t an underclass of immigrants doing all the gigs that teenagers could do.  You’re fourteen, fifteen, sixteen, you get a jobI wish it were like that out here; you’d see more fourteen year old girls working retail.

Anyway, she made me get a job.  And again, not to be mean, and not to make me give her the money or pay rent to live in my own childhood home or any shit like that– I got to keep the money.  But just to teach me some lesson about the value of workOr some other, more jaded lesson.  Something about how all work sucks and is useless and horrible and the value that you actually get out of your labor isn’t shit compared to what some rich property owning guy makes, some guy who ninety nine times out of one hundred inherited some position in society where it would be easy to have these things.  To own a McDonald’s franchise or whatever.

So my first gig was working on a cranberry farm.  Not a bad gig at all, considering, it was for some family friends who were perfectly nice.  I was working with the farmer’s daughter and the other girl who carpooled with us to school, in these cranberry bogs.  For those of you who don’t know how the cranberry comes to your table or juice pak or whatever—it’s a swamp-dwelling fruit,  a crawling vine that grows in cold, moist sand.  It’s emblematic of southeastern Massachusetts, I think, because it’s a scrubby, twisty little plant that scratches out a bare existence in the miserly, unyielding mire.  In sand lashed by salt water, peppered with rocks.  It crouches in these frigid swamps and yields a berry so hard and bitter that if you actually ate it it would伤害您It would damage your digestive tract.  And this is the only fruit that grows in any numbers in the area.  In order to make it palatable you have to pump it with sugar, which of course, Puritan settlers did not have.  They sweetened their food with pine cones or something.  Sugar would probably have been viewed as satanic somehow.  But anyway, this was the fruit they had, and they must have seen it as fitting.  Eating this fruit is a punishment.

My job was to walk around in these giant man-made swamps and pull out rock maple saplings.  Little eight inch high trees with a tap root that went all the way to the fucking Earth’s core, and if you didn’t extract every inch of tap root, the tree would immediately spring back stronger than before.  It’s weird, to be—to be killing trees, for one thing, when every public service announcement, every park ranger on a field trip, is telling you trees are a precious fragile resource and hey little boys and girls, we must be stewards of the forest and etc., and then your first job is getting paid four dollars an hour to walk around ripping up trees.  And it’s weird to be, like—you leave one millimeter of tap root in the ground, and this fucking tree will be back in full form明天。我他妈的印象深刻by that.  I feel bad killing this organism that is so fucking resilient and badass.

But the thing that JUST occurred to me is that this swamp maple that I was going around killing is the same fucking tree that produces maple syrup.  The only non-bee-infested source of sugar in the American northeastIf people, starting with colonials, had simply left the fucking swamp alone, they could have had huge stands of natural, impossible to fuck up trees that required NO EFFORT to grow and produced sweet delicious sugar.  Instead, there are hundreds of years of backbreaking labor going into coddling a hard, bitter, inedible fruit.  This is the true value of work– generally, if you just leave things alone, things will end up pretty much OK and nature will take care of it.  But if you throw in hundreds of years of human ingenuity, effort, and exploitation of one’s fellow man, you can get it so that you have something that is much worse than before.

2回应“工作的价值”

  1. pffffffftttsssssssiimmbllllllddddddnnnnnnnnn 2012年8月21日上午9:04

    我最好的钓鱼点之一是在泽西岛松树贫瘠之地的一组废弃蔓越莓沼泽那里有很多人,事实上,Ocean Spray甚至还有一家装瓶厂这些特别的隐藏,你无法从主要道路进入它们,你必须走在树林里半英里的地方沿着一些小径 - 松树贫瘠之地纵横交错,迷宫般的小径Some of them are firebreaks built by the fire departments to do their controlled burns, some of them are quad trails, some of them date all the way back to the revolutionary war; supposedly the colonists cleared them to throw off invading British troops – they lead to nowhere, loop back on one another, etc., pirates, poachers, runaway slaves, and fugitives during that time also used to use the Pine Barrens as a hideaway, so some were built by themSo, anyway, there’s three of them in a row seperated by these narrow strips of land like you would see in some asian rice paddy (I don’t know the name for these things, you probably do) most of these strips are washed out, connected by makeshift duckboard walkways built by anglers从主要道路通往这条狭窄的小路,你可以沿着它们走出去钓鱼This place is pristine; it’s like a fucking sanctuary沼泽中有海狸水坝,你看到海狸游来游去画家乌龟在半淹没的原木上晒太阳Bluegills你的头大,巨大的大嘴鲈鱼,链长大小的梭子鱼,redbreast sunnies,黄色鲈鱼和鱼是干净和健康的看起来您在SOuth Jersey钓鱼的大多数景点都在旁边
    他妈的炼油厂,或者在高速公路旁边,你必须听到无休止的汽车和卡车轰鸣过去不完全是我认为适合钓鱼的宁静环境You can fish in Philly, too, but it’s something like this:

    因此,松树贫瘠之地的这个地方是一个非常保守的秘密我遇到的唯一的其他人是少数当地的“Pineys”南泽西版的乡下人,以及在该地区工作的蓝莓田和蔓越莓沼泽的墨西哥日工。What’s funny, I ripped into illegal immigrants in another comment; all the blueberry farms are owned by Italians who came over to work as day laborers for the original WASP landowners around the turn of the centuryThey faced all kinds of discrimination; the local KKK chapter tried to drive them out – these evil Roman CatholicsMy great-grandparents emigrated to North Jersey and Philly LEGALLY, but still, some Scots-Irish dude around 1913 was probably going on rants similar to mine about my ancestors: “Fucking dirty eye-talians taking all our jobs.” I tried to give a bunch of these Mexicans a “steward of the forest” speech one day他们保留了他们吃的所有东西就像其中的10个一样会出现在86个本田思域中,后面挂着一张墨西哥国旗CD,下面是火焰贴纸贴纸他们像马戏团里那些他妈的小丑车一样从他们身上堆起来,猛地捞出尽可能多的鱼,他们可以从湖里带回家炸了So I went over to them one day and I says to em “you know you keep pulling all these fish out of here and there ain’t gonna be none left to catch.” They just stood there staring at me like I had three fucking heads然后他们中的一个试图用英语跟我说话,但是它太破了我无法理解他妈的说什么,所以我就走开了他们一般都是好人,而且他们很难他妈的工人,但他们有问题This ain’t 1913, eventually you gotta say enough is enough; we’re closed.

    这是现场的一些照片,海狸坝:

    这是那些狭长的土地:

    哦,我很确定印度人在清教徒到来之前种植蔓越莓,枫糖浆确实没有任何营养价值但这会破坏故事的寓意。

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  1. Shit Jobs: McDonald’s « 狗万是不是万博-2013年1月27日

    […] was sixteen and my mom made me get a job.  Again.  Learn the value of work.  She was right, it’s a lesson I retain decades later: the value of work is less than […]

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