Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Real Problems

Rambling Post #124
Keep it real. Okay, don't really keep it real, keep it...well, keep it real. It's simpler. Less lies to remember. Besides, most people don't believe the truth anyway. Life is funny like that.

When I was kid, George Jefferson was my dad.

Okay, he really wasn't, but my father did own and operate a Dry Cleaners and Uniform Rental Service. My brothers and I served as cheap labor, and at times manned the front counter, delivered uniforms and floor mats, affected boiler repair and served as computer technicians.

I remember waking up at 4am to ride out to this plant with my Dad, the usual driver was out sick or on vacation or something, I don't remember, and standing in a cold parking lot counting dirty uniforms to check in then crawling through the back of a panel van finding names on uniforms to hand out in the ambient light of frosty South Carolina morning. Then I went home, took a shower, had breakfast and went to school. I remember finding out what shop towels were. I remember working when it was so hot you put the bags on the clothes to keep the dust AND your sweat from getting on the garments. I remember going to Augusta to pick up jeans for acid washing and the van breaking down in the middle of nowhere. I have known hard work. And that's just childhood.

I went through all that...to talk about affairs at the "Chicken Plucking" factory I work at. One of the pluckers didn't do his job correctly, and so one the chicken recipients might have to taste a feather or two. And the manager in charge - well, lets just say I can see the rise in his blood pressure, the frustration on his face and other signs of stress. At one point he rested his forehead on his desk for a few moments, then popped up with that oh so fake mantra we all do "Oh, no, everything is fine!"

You know that one, you're off the cliff and in the air, but you got this!

Okay, honestly "chicken plucking" is a euphemism I use. Where I work there are a whole bunch of phones and whole bunch of computers. There is no ditch digging, no heavy lifting, lots of AC and free coffee. Sometimes free lunch and cake. And so this issue was in reality - a phone call issue. Somebody on a phone somewhere had said something we didn't like. Not something bad, something we didn't like. Our hands were tied by the circumstances. We'd done all we could, and more, but to no avail. And he was moaning about it. I was like, um, whose next?

Maybe I'm a little jaded. The other "chicken pluckers" have the luxury of concentrating on one issue at a time. I don't. Every chicken, or just about, falls into my bailiwick at one point or another and so ALL the chickens are important. So when I reach point X, I start trying to help all the chickens I can help, not wail and worry about the one I can't. It's an outlook that has helped me with more than just work. Okay, maybe just work. Call me pragmatic.

Real problems.


Barkeep, something with a kick to it. I want to feel my teeth rattle.

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