Monday, July 7, 2014

Compensation (July 19, 1980)


I could have taken off, letting my broken toes lead me to disability. But I hobbled into work the day after the accident, like some Revolutionary War hero, lacking only the flute, flag and bandage across my head. Management was so delighted they promised me a job, even after school started again in September. A small reward for living up to my own ideals. Most workers would have taken compensation-- something for which they might even maim themselves.
 It is the thing the bosses expect-- part of the myth such people have been manufacturing for years to downgrade unions and other so-called high-priced workers. "See how American workers are these days," management says. "Is it any wonder why Japan's beating us?"
 But more importantly is my freedom to rebel. I've defied the bosses since I came here over fundamental issues, unreasonable searches by security, fascistic rules concerning breaks. I have to live up to a higher ideal-- even when it means hobbling into work in pain, to glare at them, to thumb my nose at them.

 I'm not buying their phony dreams of working towards retirement. I don't see life after sixty-five nearly as valuable as it is now. It is a management ploy to keep people's noses into the grind stone. Forget the idea of enjoying life. And now that people are actually living longer, Management suggests raising the age to seventy. People aren't meant to retire. Just die. So you can see why someone might take compensation now, getting their taste of happiness before they're too old to enjoy it.

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