Weary of the life as a Captain on this ship called self employment, I’m in search of my favorite role, as a First Mate. As a title it’s one that brings me joy in the pursuit of a paycheck. When I have someone to answer to, an expert to learn from, and a cohort to admire while working, accomplishing my educational goals as an artist is easier.
The dream that became this blog was rooted in the idea of mentor-ship, as I see a disconnect between our societies technological pursuits that coincide with generations of intellectuals, and the basic needs of a community. Our societies fabric is held together by workers in the field, and as our young people become more entranced by screens, and less educated in basic skills like how to tie a knot, I’m flabbergasted.
In my experience as a maintenance man I never felt desperate about finding work, quite the opposite in fact, which leads me to teach it. Maintenance preserves what’s already been created, so I’ve become passionate about the pursuit of teaching trades and the work ethic that goes along with it, so that our culture will have more respect for hands on work. My hope is that we can come to honor the sacrifice that tradesman give, and in the process give people my age and younger, a reason to pursue it as a career.
As I don’t care to go off on a tangent addressing the reasons why maintenance isn’t valued more in our culture, let me just put it simply. Without tradesman who dedicate their lives to fixing what we’ve already made, infrastructure falls apart. These men and women give their bodies to fixing and building the basic structures that meet our national needs as a people. Until the day that a doctor or a lawyer is respected in the same way as a master craftsman or gardener, I will be motivated to write about it.
An example of this would be brushing your teeth. In the geriatric hospitals, when the nurses want to plan for the care of an individual, they look at three things. Their hands, their feet, and their teeth. Depending on what maintenance has been done, they can predict how long a person will last, what kind of cost will be incurred in their care, and how difficult it will be to keep them alive.
Maintenance builds long-term happiness, and frankly I’ve done my part to preserve the happiness of other people’s homes, and now I’m seeking to find a way to spend the second half of my working life making art. Some other kid can dedicate half their life to scraping lead paint, tearing out rotten floor boards, pulling asbestos insulation from walls, smashing holes in the devil that is concrete, and cleaning rat nests out of walls.
In the house fixing field we look at their hat, how well their jacket breathes, and whether they have a good pair of boots. That’s a house folks, it ain’t rocket science, and as an artist builder, I want to see more art in our buildings.
I’m game to teach other people how to do that, but I’ve done enough in my lifetime to clean up other people’s mistakes, repairing bug rot, and replacing worn out materials….until my brain spins from it. Now that I’ve uncovered that reality for myself, I’m looking to improve the skills that I’ve wanted to build since I was a kid, and dedicate my life to that process.
I remember being nineteen, and teaching kids two years younger than me how to fix a bike, building wheels and running a bike shop at the same time. I loved it. More kids should do that as far as I’m concerned, as graduating from the school of hard knocks will give a kid the social skills to rub the bullshit off any disrespectful intellectual conversation with ease.
When an earthquake comes you don’t call the doctor to dig you out of your house. Put the number one maintenance man you know on your speed dial folks, cause you’re gonna need a rock bar and a jack, or maybe a sledge-hammer and a chainsaw. You could call the fire department, but really, don’t you think they’ll be busy helping people who can’t make it to the phone?
I believe we have a serious issue in this country, but I hope that doesn’t stop me from pursuing the biggest passions of my life. I want to keep writing, singing, and teaching, but this post is about the glory hole. Yes this has a sexual connotation, but I’m used to that. In the “man’s world” of construction, most of the things we talk about have sexual connotation. We say, “Pound it, ram it home, screw it down, hammer it off, ream it out, bore it right, grease it up” etc. I’m talking about the one that makes blown glass, bronze casting, and steel.
In my heart I’m looking for the space and time to pursue lessons from a master of metal. I’ve worked in the machine shops of electric light. I want to stare into the eyes of a glorious hole of fire, and make something beautiful. Sure kids too…someday…maybe, but we have enough of those in the world to go around, and I’m talking about art that lasts longer than a lifetime.
After a couple of years of cleaning the tools and the floor, if I bow in respect and humble acceptance of the lessons, I’ll have the basic skill set to make, with what I can already make. A forge. I know how to make the tool. I want the skills to use it.
This is what TATWIP means. It means I love to work with the toys, and play with the tools. This keyboard is an instrument, or both. Work is one of the things I love most, as it’s like a meaningful kiss. With purpose, autonomy, and mastery comes motivation. I am not sloth. I don’t sit here typing because I can’t do anything else. I’m typing because there are so many kids and young adults who can’t, and live their lives stuck in that perception.
I want to share the feelings and knowledge I have gained from practicing hands on skill-sets. I can live anywhere and get a job. I don’t have one right now, because I’d rather write for donations, and volunteer to teach what I already know. If I get desperate, I’ll knock on some door, start fixing, and get fed.
I hope this repaired your attitude about the guy who does your plumbing, and you see that making friends with the electrician could be the smartest thing you do all year. They deserve your intellectual attention and positive attitude. Fuck the guy who is just making money on their backs and your bank account. I’m not talking about the bosses. I’m talking about the guys swinging the hammers.
I never met a relative of Jesus, but really folks….the story says he was a carpenter….right? Honor them with respect, and learn to recognize that they are educated in something of intrinsic value, that you may know little about. If this came off a little edgy, I’m an intelligent digger who pursued his calling as an artist, singing while fixing houses. Thank goodness for digital music. It’s helped me handle the frustration of a society bent on falling apart.
So that day never comes, I hope to be singing to the sound of my wrists dying, in a hammer ringing on hot steel. In anticipation of when I can pray a molten pour will go well, with a few hours left over to practice my skills playing guitar, I write tonight.