He Who Eats All of Our Lunches
I came across the following post on Facebook from a friend who wants only to be known as “DC”. I wanted to share it with anyone who comes across this blog.
The fat kid who steals everyone’s lunches is sitting on the other end of my seesaw. He pretended to be nice and said we should play. After all, it takes two to play on the seesaw. I knew it was probably a trick, but I went anyway because I wanted to enjoy a simple life pleasure. This was a mistake, it seems. I am hoisted into the air, and it’s too far to jump down. The fat kid wants me to think that at any moment he can just get up off his end, and I will come crashing down. He wants me to be afraid of how he has control of my end of the seesaw. He taunts me with candy bars and exploits my helplessness. He laughs and laughs at me, legs flailing around in the air as I dangle over the divot where he let a few of the other kids fall. I am angry as hell, but I am a little bit afraid of him. He is huge compared to me. He is also smart, and his use of fear and intimidation has given him allies.
What the fat kid doesn’t know is that from up here, raised into the air above his line of sight, I have the better vantage point and can see the entire playground. I can also be seen by the other kids who have been oppressed by “he who eats all our lunches”. At first, the others laugh in relief that they are not me. They, too, have been there before or at least close enough to be grateful that my misfortune is not theirs. The other kids wait for me to cry, panic, or try to climb down. They know it will signal the fat kid to let me drop into the divot in the sand, where the hard ground is poking through a little bit. I do not cry out. I am afraid; but I decide to take a chance, because this is no kind of life on the playground. We can all enjoy it together, sans tyrant.
I will tremble and wince with uncertainty now. I will allow myself to become a spectacle for every joke and whisper and secret note passed in class. I will endure lousy nicknames and taunting rhymes. I will overcome burning blush and nervous stutter in place of this fat kid’s power over me by way of an imagined fear and a potential injury.
So I put my arms up and my head back. I look straight into the sky on the edge of dizzying vertigo. This is a moment. I don’t even know what it is supposed to mean. I’m just doing it out of sheer defiance, but there is an echo that starts to build. It might be freedom, although I don’t really understand the word yet because I’m just a little kid. Nevertheless, I gaze at the blue above, into the forever. Balanced in my narrow seat, I can feel the seesaw dip slightly as the fat kid quivers with the anticipation of jumping off his seat and watching me crash into the earth. Now my heart is racing and i can’t breathe. The air in my lungs will only come out one way; and if I want fresh air, I have to do it.
That’s what I say. I don’t really say it as much as command it. Here I am in this ridiculous looking posture, all eyes on me, and I just say “do it”. Now i can breathe. The fat bully on the other end is delighted but hesitates. He wants the game to last because once I fall and get hurt, I wont play again for a while. Time slows to a crawl. I have doubts, and everything inside of me is calling me an idiot. It’s going to hurt, and I can’t get down from it.
The first half a second of free fall was abruptly met with a controlled descent and the fat bully’s gasp of astonishment. I release my gaze from the sky and meet the gazes of my peers who have all come to help hoist that fat bastard into the sky with a combined effort. There is only one thing to say.
“We want to play with you, fat kid, but stop eating our lunches and stop bullying us! If we want to, we can let you fall! We can hurt you!”
Scab hunting was good yesterday. Seeing my fellow union brothers and sisters out there on mobile strike is a good thing for me. These people are so different from me, yet they are same. They have different political views and different lifestyles. Some have little kids, some are grandparents, and some are just getting their lives started. All of these people are different, yet all of these lives effected by the same monster: the corporate threshing machine. It’s almost a parody unto itself; “the machine”. It makes me giggle at its audacity, but there is no mistaking that it is a real and dangerous entity.
The hippies knew it was coming, but the squares wouldn’t listen. The liberals saw it taking over, but the conservatives were to afraid to look. The Democrats got confused and turned into Republicans quicker than you could do a bad Ronald Reagan impression. The Republicans decided that as long as they are all getting paid; who gives a shit what they call us. The Tea Party and the independents got lost in the sauce of social media buzz words and an ego driven paradigm shift while generations ‘X’ and ‘Y’ decided that getting high and getting laid was better than voting for the lesser of two assholes who they cannot seem to relate with.
The days tick by, and I forget if its Tuesday or Friday. I grab my picket sign and continue to hold the line. It is a privilege to see good people fighting for something the rest of society and the overburdened communities can’t or won’t entertain, because there’s just too many bills to pay and statuses to maintain. We as communications workers understand all to well how much is at stake. I watch the US Postal service hack up their workforce and the Wal-Mart employees having a ‘sit in’ as my cost of living increases twice as fast as my wage increases. I tell my kids about it and they understand what I’m saying, but they don’t understand why this can happen in a world where almost anything can be imagined and made manifest.
We all know something is wrong.
DC is an employee of Fairpoint Communication out of Manchester, New Hampshire. He has been on strike for quite some time now with no easy ending in sight. He’s been on strike against an unreasonable management for weeks, battling against a management that wants to put dollars and cents above the people who keep them running.
I’ve been in a utility union for most of my career and have taken parts in my own battles against a one-minded management. I haven’t been thought what DC has been going through, but I sympathize with him, his cause, and his compatriots. It takes guts holding the line, going on mobile strike, and trying to bargain with a management that does not have your best interest at heart.
Keep fighting the good fight, DC and anyone else affected by the unfairness of Fairpoint Communications. Even if I can’t be on the line with you physically, I’ll keep you and your families in my mind and heart.