Skip to main content

The Real World


Perhaps a year or so ago, I was standing in line at a local Subway restaurant, and the lady ahead of me was chatting with the guy behind the counter. It seemed to be one of those customer/server relationships that had developed over time -- not too close, yet friendly enough. The employee excitedly told the woman about a new job he was starting in the near future, to which the woman cheerily responded, "It'll be nice for you to have a real job!"

It's not an exaggeration to say that there was a palpable pause after the woman made her remark. The guy behind the counter blinked a couple times, his face went slack, and then he responded with a meek, "Yeah, it will." I, myself, had done a sharp intake of breath. The customer seemed oblivious to any of this, and went on about the business of completing her order, even going on to wish the employee "Good luck!" in his new venture.

The Subway Incident, as I've jokingly dubbed it, was notable for a couple of reasons. One, it opened my eyes to the apparent fact that anyone who works there has an imaginary job. All these years, I've been making my own sandwiches. The folks I thought were working behind the counter were figments of imagination. Second, it's okay to openly pass judgment on a fast food worker's job status, however well-intended. To the latter point, I see this occur on at least a weekly basis.

In the debate over fast food worker pay (the most notable of which has been the demand to increase it to $15 an hour), there has been no shortage of folks willing to comment that such work is really only meant for teenagers, and that if you're an adult performing such duties then, congratulations, you've failed at life (yes, people actually say this). Regardless of whether or not fast food workers get paid too much or too little, I think we can all agree -- or should agree -- that it's damn hard work. As far as jobs go, it's pretty "real."

Look, it's a tough world out there. Life (as they say) happens. You may think you've got it all, done all the right things, have it made, and that folks who hold certain jobs just haven't got their act together. There but for the grace of God go you or I. Just ask the IT folks at Disney World, who likely did everything they were supposed to: go to college, work hard, enjoy the perks of a good-paying job done well, only to have their jobs replaced by cheaper labor from another country. So it goes.

There's no point sniping at one another over who has what job and what that says about them. To be clear: a person's job -- or lack thereof -- does not necessarily speak to who they are as a human being. If anything, those who judge others' employment are more likely the ones who have "failed at life." Time to cast-out the shallowness, and focus on our humanity. Let's show some respect toward one another. We're all in this together,



Comments

Popular posts from this blog

If You Could Read My Mind

Dance clubs are a funny thing. They contain within their walls a life force and vibrancy sometimes unmatched anywhere else. When dusk settles and the lights come on, people will flood the dance floors to gyrate to music with hypnotic beats and songs about love, lust and fun at the disco. At gay bars, this sort of scenario usually increases ten-fold. It isn't for everyone, but for many it is a respite from the harsh realities of the real word. It is a place that isn't just a structure, but a sanctuary where folks -- minorities in their own communities -- can take shelter and unwind with abandon, at least for a few nighttime hours.
As someone who benefited greatly from such an aforementioned gay dance club, you can imagine my dismay at news of the closing of Chester Street Bar. In business for over three decades, gay-owned and operated, there was a time when C-Street (as it was known by most) was the only haven for those in the LGBT community, near and far, to enjoy themselves …

Third Death

My father has had three funerals. The third (though perhaps not final) one, was last night.
In reality, Lewis died in 1997. Cancer. Aged 52. He had a real funeral. I was there. The next two funerals occurred only in my dreams, yet they seemed real at the time, and their impact during the waking hours was keenly felt.
You see, during the intervening nineteen years, Lewis has come back to life in my dreams, many times. It is more than simply having a dream about him. During these nighttime images, it is noted that Lewis shouldn't be there, that he died of cancer and is resting six feet under. How, then, could he be alive and, seemingly, healthy?

Thoughts on an Election

Before I get started on the ruminations of the 2016 U.S. Presidential Election, I'll begin by saying I really have no clue as to who our next president will be. I've always fretted over the outcome of elections, regardless of the polls, and this year is no different. Especially this year. A good case can be made as to why Hillary Clinton will become our 45th president. All one has to do is look at the polls. Clinton has a comfortable lead in many states, enough to make one think that she will win handily on November 8th.
Of course, polls can be wrong. 538 gives Clinton's changes of winning in the low-mid 80 percent range. Several polls would seem to agree. Many Republicans are jumping ship from Trump. The race looks over. But of course, humanity isn't as easily predictable as polling would have us believe. Things happen. People can surprise us. And, for better or worse, I think that Donald Trump may very well become our next president.