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The Things I Used To Do, Lord, I Won't Do No More

Marc Munroe Dion on

My father spent the last 13 years of his work life at a sporting goods company, where he was an assistant department head.

When he retired, 34 years ago, he had full and complete rights to a pension of $241.86 a month. He died five years later, and my mother received $241.86 a month for the next 34 years.

And that was my father's life, that and about $1,000 a month in Social Security. Add them together, and that was his cash-out number. He started to work before he graduated from high school, served four years in the South Pacific, during World War II, and had a spotless record of payment with a bunch of landlords and utility companies.

And he could work, that man. He'd come in early when he was needed, go home late if he was needed, work weekends, travel if they wanted him to travel, relocate when transferred and "bring work home" when working at home was a big deal.

He had no passion for the sporting goods business, for making sure the store in Wichita, Kansas, had enough baseballs. What he did have a passion for was not going back to bartending, which is what he'd been doing when he got the sporting goods job.

Despite his service in World War II, or maybe because he'd seen combat, he had the kind of sympathy that doesn't do a bartender's mind any good.

"The worst thing about tending bar is that your best customers are the guys who are killing themselves with the stuff," he'd say regretfully.

And we do it. We work. I did it for 37 years in the news business. Come in early. Work late. If the company wants a little more, you take it out of your end. After all, the company is big and you're small, and baring your puppy teeth at them and growling won't get you anything but the suspicion of your boss.

And I have a pension and Social Security and some investment income, and my wife is still working, and I write this and a couple other things.

 

I did three years of talk radio after I retired, five days a week for a paycheck that wouldn't keep a goldfish alive. I got fired because you get fired all the time in radio. The guy they hired after me makes less than I did.

And we hear, we hear that the younger workers, who probably aren't going to get a pension and are unlikely to have a union card, we hear they "don't want to work," which means they don't want to do every damn thing you tell them to do for crap money.

They want crazy stuff like a balance between work and personal life, and a boss who doesn't talk to you like you're something he's trying to scrape off the bottom of his shoe.

Some people scream that migrants are being allowed across the border to commit massive voter fraud. I think we haven't fixed the border because employers want a big, managable pool of workers who won't say "no" or "I'm busy that weekend" or "I can't do three 14-hour shifts in a row."

The real people in charge, the ones whose campaign contributions run like water into the low ground of a senator's soul, they shipped the jobs overseas, killed the pensions and crushed the unions.

And now they tell us we don't want to work.

To find out more about Marc Dion, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit www.creators.com. Dion's latest book, a collection of his best columns, is called "Mean Old Liberal." It is available in paperback from Amazon.com and for Nook, Kindle, and iBooks.


 

 

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