As is often the case, I am working on the Fourth of July... it's not a bad deal, it's only a four-hour shift on top of my usual full-time workload, and I'm getting double-pay. Ordinarily, I have Mondays off, but all of our sites are open so it's 'all hands on deck' for my four-man department. It's a pretty cushy gig- I show up towards the end of the regular hours of operation to lock everything up, and I'll stick around the site after clocking out so I can catch a glimpse of some fireworks displays without having to deal with any crowds or traffic.
Not everybody has it so cushy, there are plenty of people working in rough, service jobs (here's where I note that I don't always have it so cushy- the basement of one of our buildings flooded when a torrential thunderstorm caused storm sewers to back up, and I had to deal with an unpleasant slog). These people are essential personal, the people who form the bedrock upon which our economy is built- pumpers of gas, stockers of groceries... the people who provide the necessities that the 9 to 5 crowd need to thrive.
One of my all-time favorite songs is The Fourth of July by LA's X, which is written from the standpoint of a man who has to work a low paying job on the Fourth, and whose relationship with his wife or girlfriend is suffering from economic uncertainty and a paucity of hope:
She's waiting for me when I get home from work
Oh,but things just ain't the same
She turns out the light and cries in the dark
Won't answer when I call her name
Here's a live version of the song from, appropriately enough, 1986's Farm Aid concert:
I've always believed that the song ends on a bit of an optimistic note, a feeling that the couple has a chance of making it, even though it won't be easy. It's certainly not a sugary view of our society, but it captures an essential grit that I feel that hasn't been beaten out of people. Here's a salute to all of those folks who have to work today, especially those of you who don't have a cushy workday.