Working This Job

This isn’t some career-ending diatribe against my own employer, but I am angry about the way people see their own employment and the jobs of others.

The catalyst: the crass commenters on a story about the hit-and-run death of Neal Alan Smith:

ST. PETERSBURG — About 11 p.m. Sept. 12, a car struck Neil Alan Smith and threw him off his bicycle on Fourth Street N. The car didn’t stop.

Mr. Smith, who was pedaling home from his job as a dishwasher at the Crab Shack, struck his head on a light post.

He was taken to Bayfront Medical Center. He died there six days later. He was 48.

Police have not located the hit-and-run driver.

Shortly after the St. Petersburg Times announced Mr. Smith’s death on its website, a reader posted a comment stating the following: A man who is working as a dishwasher at the Crab Shack at the age of 48 is surely better off dead.

That’s some cold-hearted shit, right there. Even if you don’t approve of bike riders or dishwashers or folks of a certain age working in the service/restaurant industry, that’s quite a low value to put on a human life, to say nothing of the callous disregard for the bastard who hit this man and then drove off.

For whatever reason reading the article got me thinking about a song by the Drive-By Truckers, “This Fucking Job”. Mr. Smith seems only to have been solitary – not disillusioned or down on his luck – but there’s something about his story and his living conditions and eventual death that makes me draw that conclusion.

Watch the video and see what you think. Maybe I’m just as guilty of stereotyping as those commenters are.

The one difference being that I’m sad he’s gone. No one deserves to die that way OR be mocked so mercilessly for the crime(s) of washing dishes and living in a trailer park.

Maybe we all want to believe we’ll get that job as a captain of industry and die peacefully in our sleep and these folks are just raging against the dying of the light. Alternatively they could just be raging assholes.

I’m going with the latter.

Enjoy the music! The subject might be a downer but it’s a damn good listen.

One thought on “Working This Job

  1. Alex, What is…”raging assholes”?

    I used to place humanity on a pedestal. That belief blinded me into thinking people make genuinely good well thought out decisions as to what they post on the internet.

    It’s day 38 of my current shit storm and I know my naivety is crap. When people don’t care what reactions their words bring and type them from the safety of their lounge chair sometimes with the bonus of anonymity, people write with the sensitivity of Greg Giraldo; dead or alive. (Too soon?) Nah, if he was here, he’d be laughing.

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