On Top of It #17: A Lesson in Humility and Tone

I read this and it brought home the difficult lives and choices college graduates are having to suffer through what with huge student debt. Today’s bachelor degree is what a high school diploma was when I was going to school. Without at least some college education or trade school, it isn’t possible to be hired in most fields these days.

The Drunken Odyssey

On Top of It #17 by Lisa Martens

A Lesson in Humility and Tone: Talia Jane

This weekend, the Internet caught fire with Talia Jane, a Yelp customer support representative who wrote a public, scathing letter to the CEO of her company and, of course, was fired soon after.

I agree with a higher minimum wage. I also agree that student debt cripples the dreams of many young Americans . . . such as myself. And so, I opened the link ready to read a letter written by an educated young woman, a fellow customer support rep, my peer, addressing these points.

What I read was a condescending rant that looked like a long drunk text I might send to the person labeled “Fuckboy” in my phone. Asking the CEO to pay her phone bill? Complaining that she couldn’t take the free food home? Bitching about the $20 copay to…

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Let me take you

Let me take you on a pilgrimage to the labor that working men and women have done and continue to do for a long, long time.

Let me take you to the cotton fields of Alabama where my mother chopped the cotton and labored in the mills no longer there, her fingers worked to the bone.

Let me take you to the coal mines of West Virginia where the black lung kills man after man. Let me take you to the grape vineyards of California, the apple orchards of Washington and the orange groves where the migrants pick so that the rest of us will have our breakfast juice.

Let me show you the steel mills no longer alive with the fire that once breathed into men’s souls.

Let me take you to assembly lines of Henry Ford.

Let me show you the men who laid the steel rails hewn through the valleys and mountains to create the land that was America.

Let me sing of the men that climbed to the crow’s nest to spot the big whales. Let me tell you of the garments sewn with the sweat and blood of immigrant labor.

Let me show you the Mohawk high walkers throwing the skyscrapers into being.

Let me take you to the men and the women who work in the slaughterhouses and in the poultry houses to bring the rest of America a meal.

Let me sing to you of the porters who work the railroads and the truckers who drive the eighteen-wheelers from one end of the earth to the other.

Let me introduce you to the maids who mop the floors and make the beds and clean our toilets.

Let me sing of the waitresses who serve our meals and the dishwashers who wash our dishes.

Let me take you to those who dig the diamonds and the gold out from the earth.

Let me introduce you to all that have and continue to do the backbreaking labor. It is from these folks I have been hewn, I have been birthed. The peasants, the serfs, the blue collar workers who work with pride and raise their heads up, knowing that their children will have a better life if only ….

Let me sing to you of the poetry of their work.