All this snow and cold temperatures reminds me of a winter many years ago. The small steel plant I worked at had gone on strike and it had dragged on. The company’s contract offered us pay and benefit cuts, setting up a second tier (I think TEAR better describes that) and doing away with seniority. It was winter time and we had built a small strike shack near the plant’s entrance. One of our millwrights being very crafty had made us a wood fired heater with a cook top to warm the now not temporary strike shack. We tried to have at least three or four union members on duty at all times. We would sign up for duty at times we could come. It was hard to get people to work after midnight so I decide to take that time frame. Since it was cold and snowy I spent many nights being the only one who had showed up.
On one shift an elderly man showed up just after midnight. He was someone I had never seen before but was on his way home from a part-time job at a convenient store. He wanted to know about our strike. Bob a fellow worker and I explained to him what was going on. His name was Larry and he was a retired veteran who had served in WWII and was working part-time to supplement his Marine retirement. Larry left and came back with his pick-up truck full of wood for our homemade heater. Larry stopped almost every night on his way home from his job and never came empty-handed. I liked Larry but I was always somewhat embarrassed to see him when my own fellow workers had not had enough commitment to show up for the midnight picketing. On one such evening I asked Larry why he’d spent so much time helping us. Larry said, “It is the right thing to do as I didn’t fight in a foreign war to make citizens of other countries better off to come home to see my fellow Americans engaged in their own struggles. No sireee the war isn’t over.” Larry was one of the first guys I’ve met that was a real “class warrior.”
I’ve tried to emulate the Larrys I’ve met in life but sometimes fall a bit short. I’ve been real lucky as I’ve met quite a few “Larrys” in my life. There is Dave my elderly parent’s neighbor who looks out for them, Joe my late mother-in-laws neighbor who was always there for her and Jack my elderly neighbor who plows snow from the drive ways in our neighborhood (mine as I type this) and asks for nothing. There were many who were there for my kids when they were growing up. People like all the leaders when my son and daughter were into scouting and all the volunteer coaches and assistants for my kids sports. These are all people who just plain got high on helping others whether they were thanked or not. The world is a better place because such goods souls leaned that humans were put on this Earth to make it better.
That brings me to mentioning the Bill Marr Show on HBO. I’m really bored with Bill weekly pointing out throughout the show that he smokes marijuana. He now weekly loves to talk about how some states are making smoking pot legal. I don’t want to see people get harsh punishments or imprisoned for smoking pot. I’m no prude; I’ve inhaled a time or two. On the other hand, I think the 1%ers would love to have us all constantly high and forgetting about realities like about the inequities in this world. I remember seeing a guy wave a bag of pot and yell to a friend, “Hey let’s get stupid.” That 1%ers are hoping more and more states legalize pot so more and more people can “get stupid.” Even the new pope has spoken out against the ever widening gap between the have it alls and the have nothings. It is time to line up behind leaders like Pope Francis, not stand in line buying designer weed at legalized storefronts. I’d rather you got turned on by something that will transform your life and the world. That would be reaching out and helping others like the Larrys, Daves and Joes of this world. I guarantee the feedback you will get from those you help and your own rise in self-esteem will be the largest high you will ever get in your life!
Graham Parker: “Three Martini Lunch”
“Get high on life not drugs” ~ Unknown