(Also for Three Word Wednesday and ABC Wednesday: "P" is for "Bob Porter")
Here’s this week’s Berownial quiz question. I wrote the following to see if it might remind you of a famous musical. Which musical?
Friend of mine, Bob Porter, was hurt badly by the recent recession.
He was depressed. No job, no money coming in; for him it was the old 1929 crash all over again.
He’s an old-fashioned type. He still believes in trade unions, even though in our twenty-first century they seem to have lost a good deal of their power.
When Bob was a lad, and it goes for me too, unions ruled. In some industries you couldn’t get a job if you weren’t in the union and the Catch 22 was that you couldn’t get in the union if you didn’t have a job.
I believe many folks think trade unions are now just a thing of the past, like running-boards on a 1930 Studebaker. But they’re still around; they’re just not as sharp as they like to think they once were. Bob, though, had hung on to his membership in his union – for what reason? For la nostalgie, maybe, or perhaps it was like believing in a myth, a sense of loyalty to the old days.
But what do you know, it paid off. He got a job, after months of no work, with a clothing manufacturer specializing in nightwear. The pay certainly wasn’t great and the work wasn’t interesting, but it was a job.
As fate would have it, he had joined the work force of this company while all its workers were in the middle of a brawl with management about wages. For some reason, very unusual for employees, they felt their work was worth more money.
Well, when Bob learned what their demands were, he nearly burst out laughing. They were asking for an hourly raise of less than ten cents! They were marching around, carrying signs, chanting slogans, all for the fuzzy goal of less than a dime an hour increase.
Bob thought this made little sense. But one of the working stiffs explained it to him. You’re right, he said, a raise of less than ten cents an hour is very little, almost nothing. But give it to me every hour, forty hours every week, and that's enough for me to be living like a king.
(Also submitted to Sunday Scribblings)