Click to Subscribe
▶  More from Harm City The Man Cave When Your Job Sucks
‘That’s My Son!’
One Of Those Events Older Parents Cherish

My youngest son is 27 and has remained close friends with three men he met in his early teens. One of these, Michael, was recently laid off, and, in his spare time, my son helps him with job ideas. He has worked on the resumes of numerous friends and family members, resumes being something of a hobby.

Six weeks unemployed, and Michael decided to focus on the good things in his life, his wife and baby daughter. He posted an extensive, celebratory ode on social media about their love for each other, their closeness, there bond as a family made better in hard times, blah, blah, feel-good blah…

Arriving at my son’s house for dinner, I was told this by my daughter-in-law, while I waited for my son to come home from work. Despite arriving after he was supposed to be home, he was still making his way from work after a 12 hour day, which is typical. My daughter-in-law has a mischievous streak and reminds me of my Grandmother Kern, unable to resist the occasional temptation to rib the breadwinner.

She told me, “I read off this message to your son…” and then began reading, “Oh My God, he made the same look you just did—like why the fuck am I listening to this shit—and then I said, ‘Why don’t you ever write romantic stuff like that for me and post it on facebook?’

You would have been proud of him. He just snapped, “Because I’m busting my ass for you and don’t have the luxury of unemployment!”

I beamed and shouted, “That’s my son!” and she laughed, “You got that right.”

Which brings me back to a very old working man story from my late 20s, when my oldest son, who I had adopted when he was 20, and called me Jim, was arguing with his mother about quitting school. He was 13 and had experienced enough of the violence and stupidity of school. I was listening after working a 21 hour shift, in which I had to defrost the ice cream freezers on inventory day with an order coming in the back door…

Feeling I had no moral authority as a high school dropout, delirious from walking home in the summer heat with my overalls and sweat shirt on, I just listened as I tried feebly to unlace my boots.

Finally, Vance said, “Well, Jim quit school when he was sixteen and he makes good money. He got us this house and you have a car to go shopping!”

She rose to the occasion and said, “Yes, that’s true, Jim is a good provider—but look at him! He can’t even get his boots off! I don’t want you to end up like that.”

Vance looked at me from under his blonde eye brows as if he were peering into the pit of hell at some tormented soul. But I’ve got to hand it to him, he leapt in after me and is still busting his ass as a refrigeration mechanic—looking like a survivor of the Battan Death March come July when every frozen food case in Baltimore is icing up…

For an escaped slave like me it is a measure of some pride that I can look back into the Plantation of leveraged souls that I escaped to see my sons doing well enough to avoid the overseer’s whip.

When Your Job Sucks

The Ghetto Grocer Kindle Edition

Add Comment