Aahh, the pleasure of being awakened at 7 am by a grotesque, sputtering, hornet-buzzing chainsaw….some baseball-cap-wearing dude strapped into a nearby palm tree, vigorously and relentlessly slicing off dead palm fronds….eeeyowwawwoowwwaaagghhh! Thanks, guys. Why didn’t Randy Newman mention this aspect?
If you’re unlucky enough to have a grunt-level job of any kind, you sometimes have to get up at 5 or 5:30 am…agony! Which means if you need seven or eight hours you have to crash at 9 or 10 pm…Jimmy Kimmel on YouTube! To bed at 10 pm, up at 5 am, start trimming palm trees at 7 am, lunch at 11:30 am, back to work at noon, back to the garage at 3 pm or so. Take a shower, chill, have dinner at 6:30 or 7 pm, watch some TV, start to droop around 8 or 8:30 pm. Rinse, wash, repeat…over and over with the years dissolving until you’re too old to hack it. It’s a wonderful life. I would be looking into painless forms of suicide before my 40th birthday. Hell, my 30th.
“The Horror, The Horror!”, posted on 9.17.17: “I suffered through a few recurring-theme nightmares in my early childhood. Gorillas, drowning in quicksand, boxer dog chefs walking around on their hind legs and wielding carving knives, frying in the electric chair. But none of these generated the feelings of dread and terror that I developed in my teens and 20s over the prospect of a blue-collar, wage-earning life.
“For many years I was absolutely horrified by the idea of having to get up at 6 am and report to work by 8 am or earlier, and being stuck with a physically demanding manual-labor job, especially in cold weather. My father was an advertising guy who always wore a suit. He commuted on a train and was never expected at the office before 9 or 9:30 am. That, to me, was a civilized, managable approach to work and earning a salary. Grunt-level blue-collar work always struck me as a brutal, punishing activity — the kind of work that was guaranteed to make you feel miserable and frustrated and drive you to drink in your off-hours.
“I was stuck with miserable jobs in my late teens and early to mid 20s (working for a furniture company, driving a delivery truck for a lumber yard, chain-link fence, tree surgery). I was finally freed from that treadmill when I broke into New York journalism in the late ’70s. If I’d never broken out of that blue-collar cycle…I don’t want to think about it. But it would’ve been Godawful.”