Friday, August 24, 2012

What I am really tired of (as if you cared)

I am really really tired of people who insist, in person and on Facebook and their blogs, how they don't get enough respect.  How nobody appreciates how hard their job is.  All kinds of people bitch like this, from police to lawyers to career military to chefs, and your brother-in-law.  But I'll use the example of a firefighter I once had to work on a book with (who thought, BTW, that no one should edit him). 

Ron was profoundly convinced that nobody, NObody appreciated the danger of his job, which largely entailed sitting around the firehouse and running the squad to pick up seniors with breathing problems.  He believed that those seniors and the rest of the world, the non-firefighters, were stupid people who had no idea that he could die because of their stupidity.  I was not in a position to talk frankly with him, so I'd like to do that now:  He was so proud of being anti-intellectual that it's a pretty good guess he'll never read this.  Still, I'll change the name.

Don - you.  Don't.  Have to.  Be.  A firefighter.  You volunteered for this job which has great job security, good hours, paid vacations and a terrific pension program.  If you don't want to risk your life for stupid, unappreciative people, you can quit and go to work for the Wall-of-Evil, where you like to buy things from China at good prices while you complain about people who drive Japanese cars.  WalMart or MacDonald's will pay you minimum wage and not give you full-time work.  You will have no labor union or medical plan, no job security, no pension, and no respect.  You will work on your feet and with your back until they give out.

You say you can't do that, you have a family to support.  Well, your wife could go to work too, duh, instead of sitting around painting her nails and complaining about being a housewife.  You could live like a great many people do, here and around the world, hand to mouth, paycheck to paycheck.  You wouldn't have that nice house your wife hates to clean and that yard you hate to mow.  You wouldn't have to bother having your nice new SUV detailed by stupid people who don't do it right because you wouldn't have a nice new car.  You would drive something held together with duct tape and baling wire.

And you know what - those unappreciative kids of yours who don't know how lucky they are and how wonderful you are?  You don't have to stick with them.  You can foist them off on your mother or just walk away and let Children's Services take care of it.  Drive away.  It's your choice every day of your life.

In other words, you are CHOOSING to do your job because you like the benefits of working on taxpayer's money.  And in fact, you were attracted to the danger, and still are, and to the idea of thinking of yourself as a superhero, the nation's savior.  And in fact, many many people - and I am one of them - deeply appreciate the fact that people like you are willing to do this.  (And also that not every firefighter has your attitude.)

So here's my suggestion:  learn to appreciate what you've got.  And suck it up.


  1. When life presents a hurdle, I know I look towards other things that I can wrestle easier and thus feel like I have some power left. Yes, I may be better than some others, but when I look deeply I am not really.... only at this exact moment it just feels that way.
    When I tell some one else to suck it up, and oh, YES, have I done this (I live with a miserable roommate), I am really talking to myself about some other issue.

    1. Yes, I've certainly had times when I was projecting my own issues onto someone else. I don't think this was one of those times. I was responding to a Facebook friend, trying to disguise that fact, but just burned up about the constant complaining. The way this touches on me is that I am a poet, and there really ain't no money in poetry, in the words of a song. And no esteem. The competition is fierce for the few academic jobs and prizes. And at least half the people I know occasionally write poetry, or have done that, and think they are poets, too, without having done the work. It rankles when I hear other people complain about their hard life. A poet or artist's life is hard, without pay.

  2. Jeanne,
    You might like my friends poems...again, no fact, his publishing is purely a gift to the world as well. He has to teach for the big bucks....hah!