Thanks to my friend The Daddy Yo Dude for helping out with Music Week 2011. This guy is quite possibly my favorite hick and I don’t talk with him on the phone very often, but when I do, it’s a treat. I occasionally have to pull out my, “Virginia Twang to California Dude-ese” translation book, but I can muddle my way through the conversation just fine. When you’re done here, check out The Daddy Yo Blog. You’ll be glad you did.
I have been a blue collar worker ever since I held my first job. I have never had an office job, I have never made salary pay, and only once have I ever seen a wage of over $10 an hour. Currently, I have worked for the same restaurant for over three years. I sweat, I get cut, I get burned, and I get exhausted.
I have worked in car washes and factories. I have had the easiest and the toughest of jobs. Being only 28 years old and feeling like a 60 year old man is not always a great response from the mirror. This young frame with an old, hobbling man inside. It’s saddening to me sometimes.
“Yeh, this one’s for the workers who toil night and day,
By hand and by brain to earn your pay.
Who for centuries long past for no more than your bread,
Have bled for your countries and counted your dead. “
“In the factories and mills, in the shipyards and mines,
We’ve often been told to keep up with the times .
For our skills are not needed, they’ve streamlined the job ,
And with slide rule and stopwatch our pride they have robbed.”
To understand more about why I chose this song, you would have to understand more about the area I live in. We are in the rural mountains of Southwest Virginia. Coal mines, factories, gas line workers, timber companies, they all are the lifeline of this area. There are a lot of people here who work their fingers to the bone day after day, and that is the way of life for many.
I’m not saying my job now is like that, though I have had a few. I do put in 110% every day at work. It might not always be because I want to, but because I have to. They sign the checks, not me. Countless hours, sleep that can be counted on one hand, and back at it again. That is how a lot of my weeks and weekends pass by. It’s not always fun, it’s not always glamorous, but it is the job.
We’re the first ones to starve. We’re the first ones to die.
The first ones in line for that pie-in-the-sky.
And we’re always the last when the cream is shared out,
For the worker is working when the fat cat’s about.
This area watched intensely during the whole “debt ceiling” crisis, bullshit that was going on across the state over the last few weeks. People sat ill informed, out of the loop, and very nervous. Over the last few years, the mines, the factories, the timber clearers, all have let a large part of their workforce go. People are finding themselves going from all to nothing, in no time.
The applications for assistance grow rampant and this area seems to really fall behind on who is truly in need. So we watched, and we waited to see what might have been the biggest setback to jobs and finances in this area in quite a while. When it didn’t happen, people let a sigh of relief, and life continued.
People still struggled to find a job. Those who have jobs, are working them endlessly and asserting all they have just to make ends meet. We sweat, we bleed, we almost crave for our jobs. It’s the way of life here. We don’t always do it because we want to, but because we have to. While our bosses and higher ups may not see the struggles we face, we do, and we rise to overcome. The fat cat just gets fatter while our bones wear thinner and thinner.
That’s the life we live for our families. It’s the life we live for our calling. It’s the life we know, and the life we cherish dearly. It’s ours. And this is our song. A Worker’s Song.
The Daddy Yo Dude
P.S. Tomorrow catch The Muse, then I finish up Music Week on Monday with the latest from one of my all time fav bands. Want a hint? OK. I won’t be telling you the story of my life.