Thursday, June 21, 2012

Manual labor: a mental straight jacket

Every morning I wake up with a fun new bruise/scrape/mysterious lump. If the amount of damage to my hands and arms were applied to my face, people would think I was in an underground fight club. The real, not-as-interesting-as-a-fight-club reason is that I work a manual labor job that requires putting my extremeties in positions that leaves them often vulnerable to being pinched, smashed, or bent backwards. If it wasn't for steel-toed boots, my feet would look like Jack Nicholson's face.

For clarity, I work at a party rental business. We rent out tents, tables, chairs for people that are putting on events. Summer is the busiest time, because people are getting married, graduated, or drunk in the outdoors for no real reason and need some shelter.

This means that about 25% of the time I'm working, I'm building a tent in someone's backyard so they can celebrate their brat daughter graduating high school. Yea, high school. Remember when people thought that was an accomplishment worth celebrating? Me either, because I was born after 1970.

I understand that I shouldn't complain about having a job, considering the rough financial times the country is having. I'm not saying that I'm above my occupation, but there's a part of me that wishes I could honestly say that my job requires basic literacy, but it doesn't. Come to think of it, an inability to read may actually make me better at my job. Words would be one less thing to distract me from that trailer hitch I'm about to walk into.

Shin splints make a man out of you.

Since I was a teenager, I've been using my body and physical attributes to move myself forward. That's a stupid way of saying that I played sports for a long time, too long. And once I stopped doing that, I found out that my brain, my wit were what I really had to offer the world that meant something. I've spent roughly the last two years focusing entirely on that, so now that I'm swinging a maul, I can't help but have the word “regression” bounce around my head.

I know most of my writing has some optimistic twist at the end that makes all these childish gripes a worthwhile venture through the blogosphere, but I don't see that happening here. I'm coming off an 11-hour shift that was spent almost entirely in the sun. We got a brief lunch break, but I didn't finish my food because I was too busy fantasizing about the horrific death of today's customer, who liked to whistle at you to get your attention. Like you're a dog.

Lifting stuff sucks. Sweating blows. Unemployment sucks and blows.

That is all, internet. I have to work in the morning.

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