Category Archives: Welfare

How’s that work ethic coming along?

work ethic caption

Growing up in a family where everyone worked, was expected to work, some things are branded on the psyche and tend to remain there. When I was a pre-schooler and my mother was working in the cotton-patch pulling boles during harvest, my sisters and I had our own pillow-case sized sacks. And though we didn’t pull a lot of cotton, the experience established a niche in our thinking processes that never went away, for me.

[The Runaways – 1947, posted here July 9, 2013, tells a bit about that time]

It’s only as I had five-or-so decades of life behind me that I ever seriously examined the values concerning work I’d lived with and adhered to all my life.

I’d pursued a career almost twenty years, blindly believed my dedication to the job, and the job, itself, were a major piece of what made me valuable as a person. And a spinoff of that belief was that a person who didn’t hold that view and allow a job to measure his worth probably wasn’t worth much.

But toward the end of that career the realization began to creep in that I was devoted, pouring my heart into a job that probably didn’t need doing. That I was wasting my life and that I was actually having a negative influence on the lives of many other people by my single-minded pursuit of that career.

Tough wake-up call it was for me. Jangled my entire life.

So I left that career for another, and wasn’t long in realizing that I was not that job. The job was just a way of making a living. That I was actually in another job that probably didn’t need doing. And I looked around me and saw it was true for almost everything going on around me.

Yes, there are essential jobs out there. Jobs that really need doing. Running the municipal sewer plant, for instance. Driving the garbage truck. Making sure the crops farmers plant are nurtured and harvested. Delivering food essentials to the population. Placing food on the counters for sale to the public.

Now isn’t that interesting? The most fundamentally essential jobs in our ‘civilization’ are the least coveted? That the rewards for doing them are less than those for people selling something, or representing someone in a lawsuit, or working in a unionized factory as a piece of an assembly line? Or repairing automobiles?

I’m inclined to believe the entire issue of the work ethic in this country, and the people who embrace the notion it’s a measure of human worth, needs a lot more careful examination.

I hope I’ll be doing some more blog posts about it for a closer look. Which I expect will raise the hackles of some readers.

Old Jules

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What is this thing called ‘we’?

mob

Hi readers.    Thanks for coming by.

If you’re like me you probably figure you know an awfully lot about how this country and this world ought to be run.   All sorts of opinions about some composite of human being  bagged into the word, ‘who’ ought to get fed, get rich, or get killed.   Most of that ‘who’ can be distinguished from ‘we’ in various ways.

For instance, people who need killing are usually located outside the boundaries of our country.   And they tend to be inside the boundaries of a country our politicians and wealthy people dislike for one reason or another.   And usually people who need killing get around to being killed if they don’t see the error of their ways.

People who ought to get fed, on the other hand, and those who shouldn’t is a lot more complicated.  Of course, right at the top of what people ought to have full bellies are those blessed with wealth, either by coming from a wealthy family, by being really good at selling something, or by stealing it and getting by with it [or having ancestors who did].

Next, the people who ought to get to keep their tummies full ought to be people as much like ‘us’ and possible.   People who go to jobs everyday that pay enough so’s there’s plenty of money for food and other things.   Naturally those should be fed because they’re like US.

And then of course there are those people who definitely shouldn’t be fed.   Snot nosed kids who are born in bad neighborhoods, who have parents who use drugs, drink too much, and the fathers don’t take responsibility for them.    Those little bastards need to be deprived of food so they can be persuaded to earn an ‘honest’ living.    As prostitutes, say, or selling drugs on schoolgrounds.   If they wanted a better life they should have been born to wealthy parents.

But that’s just me, and you, if you happen to be like me.    A lot of other soft hearted people think EVERYONE ought to be fed and NOBODY ought to go hungry, or suffer cold because he or she can’t afford a warm place to stay.

Yeah, and those commie snowflakes ought to be killed.    They definitely aren’t a piece of ‘we’.

Thanks for the visit.

Old Jules

Celebrating MLK day by doing the laundry and trying to stay warm.

Hi readers.     Thanks for coming by for a read.

At 6 am the thermometer on my porch declared it was almost 20 degrees F.   And an hour later it dropped to around 10 degrees F.    So there you are.

I hope you are all having a merry little MLK day.    If you didn’t get all the presents you were wanting old MLK to bring, maybe the Valentine will give them to you, or the Easter Bunny.    Don’t give up hope.

So, it being a clear day full of sunshine I figured I’d go down to the laundromat to celebrate MLK.    Discovered sun or no sun, those sidewalks and parking lots are SLICK.  No, not slicker than greased owl droppings, but still slick enough to throw a man who was not sufficiently careful, or one who felt the need for a broken arm or hip.

But it was worth it.    I’m blessed with a load of clean laundry, all folded nicely, ready to go into the various hidey holes and drawer-like places here.    And while I was waiting for my dryer I stopped by Wendy’s for a Caesar salad.    Which I didn’t get one of because all their damned Romaine  lettuce was recalled.

So I had to settle for some other lousy salad that wasn’t worth the chewing it required.

But it was worth it anyway.    Because at the booth across from me I heard the most INTERESTING conversation!     It all began with a few remarks about MLK and the issue of whether racism in this country has improved since his time.   Mostly these folks figured it hasn’t.

But of course, they weren’t alive or adults to experience how it was when MLK was doing his work.   Everything seems to me to boil down to conjecture and personal experience.    Along with the manifestations of racism a person chooses to call by that title.

But I’ve digressed.    What struck me as most interesting was that the conversation drifted to something they were calling, ‘restitution’.     Evidently there’s either a plan in place, a program somewhere, or just a fond hope among a lot of people that we who are alive today are going to be compensated by someone sometime for bad things our ancestors experienced.

To me this sounds peachy, but somehow unlikely.    My personal ancestors, I know, experienced great hardships, deprivations, injustices and sometimes even rudeness.   I’ve always resented the fact nobody ever offered to pay me for all that stuff that happened to them.

But my impression listening to these people at Wendy’s was that they thought ‘restitution’ for things our ancestors suffered but we didn’t have to not only made sense, but was somewhere on an agenda and might happen.

Where do these ideas come from?     Is it because we’ve endured a system of inherited wealth and power all these generations after we ceased being aboriginals?   So if we can inherit wealth, we should also be compensated for the suffering dead people endured?

The world is a crazy place, and to me that definitely sounds like an idea not likely to come to pass, but stranger things have happened and still do.    After all, we do allow people to inherit power and wealth generation after generation.   Which probably would have sounded fairly crazy to aboriginals.

Thanks for the visit.

Old Jules

Re-Post: Who Has Been an Inspiration in Your Life, and Why?

Posted on August 23, 2011



I’m not an admirer of human beings as being particularly inspirational, on the whole.  Yeah, a lot of human sentences find themselves trapped between quotation marks in fragments people find supportive of viewpoints that won’t stand on their own hind legs.  Pithy wisdomoids giving authority to vapid premises.  Often this does happen in a synthetically inspirational context.  But the sources of those quotes usually don’t appear so wise or unblemished under careful scrutiny.

Maybe ‘inspirational’ isn’t the appropriate word to capture the concept I’m hoping to convey.

Maybe ‘has had an influence on your life you believe helped you to be a person you came nearer admiring than the one you were previously’ would more accurately describe it while filling the need for cumbersome rhetoric.  The inspiration derived from firing wisdomoids back and forth at one another isn’t made of the strong stuff I’m trying to communicate.

For instance, I used to be acquainted with a Vietnam vet, who lived in an Econoline van in Albuquerque.  He had a route of parking spots and a time schedule he’d follow to hang around each place for a while.  The street guys who were dumpster-diving knew his schedule.  They also knew  he’d pay a fair price for  anything he could get his money back on that they’d salvaged out of the trash.  After making his rounds, the Econoline would head to the flea market and he’d sell first to the crowd, then whatever was left to the flea market merchants.

By reselling it from homeless guys dumpster-diving, he provided them a means of getting some cash for a lot of things they’d have no way to sell  for themselves, or would have had a lot of difficulty getting more than a few cents for.  His route superimposed an economic network devised to offer those submerged in hardship a trickle of income, a safety net.  He provided a valuable service.

But what I particularly admired was that, when he came across someone he believed was ready to try drug or alcohol withdrawal he’d pack them up in the van and head off somewhere to the middle of nowhere, usually a small town with a restaurant or grocery store where he could pick up food and supplies. Once out of the city environment, he’d keep the addict in the van a week, two weeks, a month, drying them out, getting them clean, being there for them.

I came across him once parked at Vietnam Memorial Wall park in Truth or Consequences, New Mexico.  I didn’t realize at first what I was seeing.  I just saw his van with the white Ministry sign roughly painted on the side and recognized it and him outside it.  I stopped to chew the fat with him, then heard the moaning in the Econoline.  He caught my eye and shrugged.

“Trying to kick smack.  He’s on his second week.  It ought to start getting better in a few days.”  The odor of vomit, urine and human excretions was strong near the truck, so we drifted further afield as we talked.  Probably he was used to it, but I wasn’t.

Christian guy.  One of the Christians I’ve known that kept me believing there are honest-to-goodness bona fide Christians in the world.

I surely admired his guts, his determination and compassion.  There’s a lot about him I’d admire in myself if I looked inside me and surprised myself finding it there.

Nice to come across a Christian occasionally who isn’t all hat and no cattle.

I wonder what Jesus thought about sin.  Jesus did his talking about loving neighbors, compassion, peace-making, mercy, that sort of thing.  Hardly said anything about sin.  If he could speak his mind today I wonder if he’d forgive Saul of Tarsus the way he did Judas.”  Josephus Minimus

Here are a couple of blogs you might find of interest:

Urbandumpsterdiver’s Blog

Doing It Homeless

Old Jules

Kingston Trio-Reverend Mr. Black
http://youtu.be/sKJiDbvKbZs

John Lennon– Cold Turkey
http://youtu.be/n6wxTkkfLqM

Philosophy by Limerick – Screw the Hired Help and Hamburger Flippers

A wisdom akin to a curtain
Finds septuagenarians certain
Their egocentristic
Self-seeking, simplistic
Pronouncements could cure all that’s hurtin’.

Old Jules

Second Harvest – The Cast-Offs of Affluence

When I got booted out of Peace Corps training at Hilo, Hawaii in December, 1964, I dropped off the plane back to the mainland at Honolulu.  I went to work in the Hilton Hawaiian Village Hotel Makahiki Restaurant for a while as a bussboy while deciding what to do next.

I was the only Haole working at the Makahike.  All the other bussboys were Filipino and the waitresses, managers were all Orientals.  The bussboys all worked for minimum wage and a percentage of tips, which still left things marginal as a means of survival.

But I soon discovered the bussboys all had an edge.   On my first day, maybe first hour working there I went into the back carrying a huge tray full of dirty dishes and food left behind by the eaters.  I’d no sooner gotten out of sight of the customers before the head bussboy grabbed me by the arm, put the tray down and began screaming at me.  Moving dishes and pointing at leftover food items  I’d mixed, spilled water over, made no effort to keep separate from others.

Garbage!  You made it garbage Haole bastard!”

It turned out all the bussboys kept discarded food separate and put it on a table in the back each time they unloaded from the customer service area.  Then, anytime one of us had a brief break in customer demand up front, we’d go to the table and gobble a half-eaten steak, papaya, anything suiting our fancy. 

During the time I worked there I ate well.  I’m not certain I’ve ever eaten better, more consistently, even during times of affluence.

In the post Could you choose to live on the street? I described a man I knew as a youngster who dropped out of being president of a bank to live under a bridge.  I suspect one of the ways he survived involved carrying what I did at the Makahiki a step further.

Similarly, in the post, Who Has Been an Inspiration in Your Life, and Why? I described a man who’s used second-harvest of affluence as a means to pursue what he considered worthy human activity.

This morning I’m reposting a couple of blogs of people who are following the second harvest route to life.  I admire the spirit.

Old Jules

Websearch: “Lowlifes on Welfare” brings’em here.

Someone spang found this blog searching for “lowlifes on welfare“.

I’m thinking it must have been Google analyzing this pic I posted describing how a person could get spiffed up to go to town by shaving with sheep shears instead of a razor:  Shaving with sheep shears.

Well, heck!  I hate to see someone come here and find only half of what he was looking for.  I’m just hoping the emphasis was on finding a lowlife instead of finding someone on welfare.

On the other hand, I have a suspicion a person who’d do a search using that particular phrase probably would define the Social Security I paid into five decades and some change and draw now qualifies as welfare.  So maybe he went away having gotten his moneys worth.  Riding the Bread Line

Brought to mind one of my favorite quotes from the bard.  Hamlet’s immortal summing up just about said it all, but when they set it music for the musical ‘Hair’ I’ve always thought it might be considered an improvement in some contexts.  Enough irony there so’s a magnet would pick it up.

The fog’s gotten so thick outdoors I can barely see across the front porch.

Old Jules