>>I drove through a Jack in the Box near me a while back and the guy taking >>my money said hello and it turns out he was one of the people who comes in >>every week to clean my house. I didn't have time to chat because there >>was someone behind me who was probably hungry, but this guy, an Hispanic, >>was obviously working two jobs. He was probably doing poorly by American >>standards, but doing pretty well in terms of the nation he came from or he >>wouldn't be here. <<MG: I'm not going to tell you how furious this "observation" makes me, because
you would never understand in a thousand years -- or unless you end up living hand to mouth some day. How insufferably smug and superior it all strikes me. But I know you have no clue how I could get that from what you wrote, so I won't comment on it. But yes, I agree, he's probably doing a lot better financially working two menial jobs in the US than none at home.LH: Mike singles this out for especial attention, telling me how furious he is by not telling me how furious he is. I don't understand your comments, Mike. I admire this guy. He's doing what I did. I grew up poor in Wilmington California as I said in another note. But we all have choices. I was especially conscious of mine when I tried to argue my friends into making the same choices I was. "Come on, join the Marine Corps with me."
"Are you nuts? People are getting killed over there."And then later, after I wasn't killed over there, "okay, be sure and get a college education. Get a degree in something."
"What for, we're getting in some good hours down at the docks. We're done with school."
I think if I can do it, you or anyone else can do it too. You perhaps don't want to do it and invest me with some sort of advantage so you can stand back and declare me smug. Someone who works hard for 39 years doesn't feel smug when he suggests that others can do the same thing. Yes, I have done it and yes I'm retired on a comfortable income, but why did that happen? I was not born into wealth, quite the contrary. My father and mother divorced when I was ten. He was an alcoholic. She worked as a checker in the Foodman Grocery store in Wilmington. She married again when I was twelve -- to a truck driver. And when I was 17 I enlisted in the Marine Corps and no one in my family tried to talk me out of it.
In college some people had part time jobs in restaurants or department stores, but I came from the docks. My part time job was loading trucks. And I had to work harder than the others because I could only be there in the Teamster's hiring hall when I wasn't in class; so I wanted to do well and be picked out by truckers who remembered me. I worked Hides, beer kegs, Frozen Fish from New Zealand, nails (and you couldn't work nails without ripping your hands on the bands around the kegs and pierce your legs with the nails sticking out of the sacks, I worked just about everything that was hauled into or out of the LA/Long Beach/San Pedro Harbor by truck. I kept my Teamster's Union card for several years after going to work for Douglas Aircraft Company because I wasn't sure that a manual laborer with a degree in English was going to be a good fit in aerospace engineering. But then I've always tended to be able to figure things out and get things done -- whatever they were. Is being smart an unfair advantage? Maybe.