Listen, we can all do it right? The lifting, the dragging, the pushing, the whatever. Hell, I love snowblowing at night, and there isn’t a man in New England who hasn’t watched a plow take out a mailbox and think, “Now that would be a fun job.”
No, the reason we should thank all of the laborers out there, doing the jobs we take for granted, isn’t just their physical strength and toughness, it’s that they do it- Every. Day.
I’ve had my fair share of terrible summer jobs. I’ve mowed lawns for fourteen hours a day, I’ve loaded tractor-trailers full of packages, I’ve wheel-barrowed gravel for tennis courts, and I’ve mopped kitchens. And yes, those jobs were long hours and I would work six out of seven days a week, but then summer would be over and I’d be back at school with a fat wallet and nine months off before finding my next backbreaking endeavor.
But could I do it for years? How many mailboxes would I cover in snow before I’d stop giggling and start yawning? How long before the drone of lawn mowers never stops ringing in my ears? How many times could I slip into cold wet clothes or climb a pole to return power to a neighborhood full of ungratefuls before I said, “Screw these people.”?
It isn’t for everyone.
It reminds me of my oldest son.
The four year old is my worker. We bought him a shovel for his birthday. He runs to it when it snows.
Mike-not so much.
I think about him as I clear the driveway. The precipitation was more sleet than snow, so the snowblower can’t pick it up. It’s just me, three hundred feet of driveway, and the boys and our shovels and… wait-no, it’s just me and my shovel.
The little one forgot his gloves and disappeared into the house an hour ago. I’m ten feet from the end of the driveway when I hear Mike’s footsteps crunch over the ice.
I wipe the sweat from my eyes. I look at his appearance between shovels: boots, ripped wind-pants, tee shirt, a leather aviator’s jacket and a shovel slung jauntily over his shoulder gripped in glove-less hands completes the ensemble.
It isn’t really working-attire which bothers me, and he’s about an hour and twenty minutes too late which would not have gone over well when I was a kid. With a sigh I point to the spot next to me, too tired to lecture him.
“Sorry I’m late Dad, had to get my adventure jacket.”
I nod wearily and show him what to do. I give him a little section to work on behind me so he can be out of my way. It doesn’t take long before he stops.
I look back. The shovel is over his shoulder again. His eyes are on the horizon. It’s the last straw, and I prepare to unload a lecture. My eyes light up and my body tenses. What kind of a lazy son have I raised? Where have I failed? Didn’t he see me out here for the past hour busting my ass? What will happen to him when he gets a job? He can’t just stop working to daydream. When I was a kid I-
“I didn’t know it snowed in Japan.”
“Huh?” I ask.
“Japan. Does it usually snow here?”
“Are we in Japan?” I ask.
His eyes squint as he locks me with a glare.
“Yes. The map. We followed the map here, remember? We have to find our way to Shark Bay, and then…the treasure.”
For a second I believe him. Something does seem different. I look at him in his aviator jacket. His nine year old body looks old and wise and tough-as-nails. My fourth grader has morphed into an intrepid adventurer. As he looks off into the distance I think to myself, “I would follow you anywhere.”
I finish the driveway myself. I stand there at the bottom, leaning on my shovel breathing hard.
I smile as I look at my work.
The driveway is clear and black and my son is fighting a horde of invaders over by the playscape.
Yep, I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished.
Owner Spowerks LLC