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Unformatted text preview: Sk4 Ss &, BOOK NINE PREFACE I W H O B U IL T T H E P Y R A M ID S ? Who built the seven towers of Thebes? The books are filled with the names of kings. Was it kings who hauled the craggy blocks of stone? In the evening when the Chinese wall was finished Where did the masons go? .. Bertolt Brecht MIKE LEFEVRE It is a two-flat dwelling, somewhere in Cicero, on the outskirts of Chicago. He is thirty-seven. He works in a steel Mill. On occasion, his wife Carol works as a waitress in a neighborhood restaurant; otherwise, she is at home, caring for their two small children, a girl and a boy. At the time of my first visit, a sculpted statuette of Mother and Child was on the floor, head severed from body. He laughed softly as he indicated his three-year-old daughter: "She Doctor Spock'd it." I'm a dying breed. A laborer. Strictly muscle work . . . pick it up, put it down, pick it up, put it down. We handle between forty and fifty thousand pounds of steel a day. (Laughs) I know this is hard to believefrom four hundred pounds to three- and four-pound pieces. It's dying. You can't take pride any more. You remember when a guy could point to a house he built, how many logs he stacked. He built it and he was proud of it. I don't really think I could be proud if a contractor built a home for me. I would be tempted to get in there and kick the carpenter in the ass (laughs), and take the saw away from him. 'Cause fwould have to be part of it, you know. It's hard to take pride in a bridge you're never gonna cross, in a door 'you're never gonna open. You're mass-producing things and you never see the end result of it. (Muses) I worked for a trucker one time. And I got this tiny satisfaction when I loaded a truck. At least I could see the truck CONTENTS Betsy DeLacy, patients' representative Carmelita Lester, practical nurse, old people's ho erbert Bach, memorial counselor El n er Ruiz, gravedigger 497 e 50t 505 507 A N Bruce Fletcher, Nick Lindsay, car N T E R nt IN S E A R C Nora Watson, editor Walter Lundquist, industr designer Rebecca Sweeney, n u n t n a ap ath A C A L L I N G 521 525 527 S E C N D C A N C E Fred Ringley, ex-sa sman; farme Philip da Vinci, I y e r Sarah Houghton ibrarian Mario Anichin stone cutter F T H E R S A N D S O S Glenn Strib g, service station owner Dave Strib ng, his son and partner Steve D u steelworker Father onard Dubi, his son, a priest Ja c k rie r, teacher, adult education Harol Patrick, freight elevator operator Bob Patrick, policeman Tom Patrick, fireman 532 537 540 543 545 548 552 558 564 68 2 57 513 516 PREFACE I depart loaded. In a steel mill, forget it. You don't see where nothing goes. I got chewed out by my foreman once. He said, "Mike, you're a good worker but you have a bad attitude." My attitude is that I don't get excited about my job. I do my work but I don't say whoopee-doo. The day I get excited about my job is the day I go to a head shrinker. How are you gonna get excited about pullin' steel? How are you gonna get excited whengonna get excited about pullin' steel?...
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This document was uploaded on 10/27/2011 for the course LABOR STUD 100 at Rutgers.
- Fall '11
- For Whom the Bell Tolls