Friday, December 12, 2008

Is it possible…

…to drag yourself out of bed this morning when you know what lies ahead? The wounds that regularly train track across your hands sting like they did those first few days on the line. There is no way to know just how many wiring harnesses you have strung together over the years but, today, you know that there won't be many more. How do you wake up to pink slip?

You were never under illusions that the work you did or the skills it took to do your job was more than means to a pay check. You weren't a rocket scientist, a social engineer, a medical researcher. You were number 14 in the line building wiring harnesses for the inner workings of a Ford Fiesta, then a Honda Civic, then a Buick LeSabre, and so on. The harnesses for the Cadillac's were stupid. Number 14. Tim was 13 and Frieda was 15. Last week you sold Tim one of the last of your litter of chocolate Labs and you gave him a deal. You play hockey with Frieda's husband every Tuesday night in the beer league team sponsored by the company. "It's a living" you tell your buddies and they nod.

And now it's not. No severance. No Christmas bonus.

You look down at your hands. Your fingers only know how to make money one way. They look humiliated and weak holding a pen – filling out the EI forms. Days at the plant tick away into mindless oblivion. Deft hands twisting, pulling, placing, and sending away. Rhythm and constant rhythm. Like a well worn sedative against the ghosts you've shut out. And now they've cut you off. The large screen TV mocks you with the latest news. You shrink into the pillowy discomfort of your new Lazyboy – the one she got you last month with your favourite hockey Jersey. You curse your hands.

You plot a scheme to rip out each and every CA-345TF circuit board in every vehicle on the block. You're pretty sure you know where to look. It would only really affect the intermittent windshield wiper systems…

You've spent your whole life building a product that could largely go unnoticed. But everyone needs a car. Right? Needs a car? Or three? Your work sits inside rusting, pollution spewing… Come on! What were you thinking? Can you ever get to the point of thinking that maybe you should lose your job? Maybe it's better that you are out of work? After 26 years? After pouring your life into your hands? Can you just chop them off like that?

Who is going to bail out the soul of western society that has suckled at the breast of capitalistic 'endeavour'? When wants are fed like needs to the greed drunk masses, who will be brave enough to shout over the loud speakers – "DON'T DRINK THE KOOL-AID!"?

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