A funny thing happened in America during my lifetime – Americans have come to abhor physical labor. I first became aware of this twenty year years ago during the years I built stone walls. Lifting stones all day and fitting them into walls definitely qualified as physical labor. To be completely honest, I wasn’t crazy about the dirty, sweaty part of the job but the freedom to be my own boss and the more-than-adequate remuneration the work brought me made it something of a dream job for me. One thing I learned during those years was that a lot of people can’t imagine doing hard physical labor. Many was the time when a client would say something like “How can you do this work!” You would think I was laying my life on the line from the tone of their voices.
Driving home after a day’s work I would make a mental note of who was doing what and sure enough, very few Americans today do anything to raise a sweat on their brow. Who’s doing the hard work around Wenatchee, WA? – Mexicans.
I’m retired now from the rock business – living off the fat I stored up during my Rockman years. But I was kinda bored a few weeks ago and after reading that one of my neighbors was looking for someone to do some brush clearing on his land I offered my services. He accepted my bid. It was a good day’s work and my back ached at day’s end but I made more money in a day than I could make working all week at Walmart (about the only option open to a 67-year-old dude without career credentials.) I put out the word through our community email chain that I was “a gun for hire” and I got five takers. Every job I bid, I got. Hard work, good money.
Frankly, I don’t get it. I would much rather be outside pulling brush and mowing weeds than stuck in an office. Am I some kind of oddity? Why do most people find physical labor so repugnant?
The fact is, they do. Good for Mexicans. Good for guys like me.