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People crash their cars into other cars, into poles, houses
or anything that cannot get out of the way fast enough.

Sometimes the cars just take a crap without even hitting something.
Sometimes they wear out.
Sometimes they were Yugo/Trabant crappy to begin with.

I work in a parts warehouse. We have stuff for old cars.
Not antique or collector cars, not cars under warranty.
We have parts for the beater you drive to work.
We have parts for your old tractor, your rusty truck.

I go out into the stacks and find your fan belt, your blinker switch, your rim,
your gasket, your carburetor kit, your AC hose, your condenser,
your headgasket, your overflow reservoir, your pump motor, your brake line...

You see what I mean.

I drive to another warehouse, about 20 minutes away,
gather in the steel and plastic fruit they have picked,
bring it on home to the shipping ladies.
They examine, cross-check and calculate the cost.

The other pickers and I will pack it into cardboard boxes.
Headlights, taillights, window glass and mirrors get bubble wrapped.

(Yes, we have a machine that makes bubble wrap!)

Pick ticket, order number, packing list all checked.
Wrap it up, roll it up, extra cardboard, tape it shut.

Breathing paper dust won't kill you.
It won't make you crazier than you already are.
It will make you bored.
We try not to sneeze into the boxes, bad for business.

For this I get pretty average health insurance and kinda crappy pay,
two ten-minute paid breaks and a thirty-minute unpaid lunch break.
Lucky Angus MacPup gets to spend the day in his kennel.
My sweet love has a job that ain't much be better.

When your pile of metal and plastic don't go no more
and you can't afford a new one,
drag it to Chris and Jim's garage, tell 'em I sent you.
Make an appointment and they'll order the parts.

Somewhere in the supply chain,
somebody puts on a day-glo vest and hard hat
And digs out your whatzit or widget or gonkulator,
so you can get to work.

I suppose I could wax poetic about the dignity of labor,
but I'd be lying.
My job is dirty and boring and it makes my back hurt.
There is no union, yet.

The people I work with are nice folks.
The Foreman and lead-person understand how to lead.
There are occasional moments of visual joy,
when I pause to appreciate the beauty
of a finely machined piece of steel.

I could work this around to it's connection
to all things in the universe
and the greasy fingerprints I will leave on the fabric of existence.
But it's Friday.

I'm going to stop right here,
go put my dancin' and drinkin' boots on.
I'm gonna take the missus to a carnival with a Cajun band.
Beer, accordions, fried dough and Zydeco!

Don't wait up for us.

More ruleoflaw poems...

Originally posted to ruleoflaw on Fri Jul 05, 2013 at 04:21 PM PDT.

Also republished by Rebel Songwriters, Badger State Progressive, An Ear for Music, J Town, In Support of Labor and Unions, Indigo Kalliope, and Community Spotlight.

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