Wednesday, February 01, 2006

(Insert Clever Title about Hands)

As I may have mentioned here before, my father always told us that you can't make a living with your hands any more. He was a sheet metal worker for 40-some years and made a more-than-decent living, in part because he was a union sheet metal worker, a status he was able to maintain even when he and my uncle took over my maternal grandfather's business, thanks to his union having an "owner-operator" category for its members. Anyway, when my brother announced that he wasn't going to college, there was much wailing and gnashing of teeth, not least because he also announced that he wanted to be an auto mechanic. My brother is a very, very good mechanic, and he makes a decent living, my father's declaration notwithstanding.

I've been thinking about this a lot lately, as you might imagine, given the amount of time I spend making things these days. (Today: a batch of brioche, which was eventually separated into small rolls and into cinnamon-raisin loaves; all of today's croissants, plus two extra pieces turned into almond and chocolate croissants, because Johnnie made six extra pieces of dough today; some filling for some turnovers; and maybe something else, though it's escaping me at the moment.) It's true that I couldn't do the things I like to do and have this job, unless (a) I'd made a bunch of money at a previous job and saved it up, (b) I drastically changed my lifestyle, or (c) I had a partner who could contribute significantly to the household expenses. I've mostly got (c) going for me, at the moment, though we've been living in part off my savings for awhile, so (a) is in there, too. It's also true that I want to have my own place, I think, though of course what that place will be remains to be seen. I do believe I can pull it off, if the stars--and funding--align properly; certainly this job is giving me really crucial experience.

But the point of today's meanderings is similar to other points made in this space, namely, I come from a family of very smart people who make things. I don't regard this as mutually exclusive, especially given my family experience, but our culture in general, and the Management attitude that prevails throughout our culture, does regard making things and being smart as mutually exclusive: If you were smart, you'd be making money rather than things. And, really, smart isn't going to make you rich, either--college professors, who are presumably some of the smarter people among us, at least in some sense, make shit for pay, as do elementary and high school teachers. Anyway, I don't have anything organized to say today, and I have the results of a Salvation Army expedition (5 pair of jeans for $10.36) in the dryer downstairs, and I should eat something, and I'm eagerly awaiting Crawdaddy's arrival (he had a job interview today), and no, I didn't make it to yoga today, either.

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