Friday, January 14, 2011

Words that heal?

The Bucket and the Envelope
(by R.P.Edwards)

The bucket and the envelope
Containers, much the same
A holding place for offerings
To ease another’s…pain
But one speaks of the living
The other…of the dead
The bucket and the envelope
Our common…mortal…dread

You know, I don’t talk a lot about my “day job” at the steel mill.  For one; who cares?  For another; it’s poor taste; after all, I am gainfully employed while many others…are not.  And, I think it makes the metal “masters” a bit nervous; and we certainly don’t want that.  But, let me open the window, just a bit.  You see, in this fire and brimstone industry, results are key.  In other words; the product must be made in a timely fashion, up to specs, and out the door on time.  No steel…no deal.  And, since we’re interested in the “result,” we’re not so interested in the pretty packages people come in.  In other words, we don’t care about your “hairdo,” we’re concerned with your “can do.”  And, subsequently, things can be a bit crude and coarse around here; but that’s how it is, even when it comes to…donations.

The opening poem has to do with two “collections” that occur from time to time in “steel land.”  Sometimes, on the way in, as we pass through the cheese grater (slotted turnstile) there may be a white five-gallon bucket waiting.  These containers, the former carriers of some sort of maintenance glop, are cleaned out and, in this case, used for a cash depository.  Seeing one of these (along with an attendant) usually means…somebody’s off work due to injury or illness, or maybe their kid is grievously ill.  They could use a hand; a little “we remember ya” offering.  Wallets open, and the bucket fills. 

Then there’s the envelope.  It’s one of those big manila things; normally used for transporting in-house documents, but, when walked around the “floor” by a laborer…it usually means somebody’s loved one…has died.  Last night, while in the break room, such an envelope was placed in front of me.  Sure enough, a co-workers dad…was dead.  The wallet was retrieved; the pittance was put in (along with a sigh), but I knew this little jingle of cash could never replace the voice of “Dad” on the phone, or a slap on the back from “the old man.”

So, where am I going with all this?  Well, a week back we had the “Tucson Tragedy,” where a congressperson was shot and six others died due to a nut-jobs actions.  This week a great get together was planned--a memorial thing--and a number would speak, including the President.  Many wondered if his “words” could heal the nation.  And as for me? I didn’t tune in.  I didn’t give a rip.  Why?  Because, like my jobs purpose for being…I’m interested in the final, tangible product.

Now, of course I’ve prayed, and am concerned, but…I’m just tired of the production.  I’m tired of the science of Hollywood that knows what theme music to play and what inflections to put on the syllables.  I’m tired of the polished pundits who live in a world of words and spray tans and artificially white teeth and ivy league elitism. I’m tired of Mensa midgets who delight in putting Sarah Palin down, but they, themselves, are not worthy to carry her water. 

In conclusion: I’m interested in results.  So, let’s see if those who have, previously, championed abortion; sought to cheapen traditional marriage; weakened the military; and have gleefully put our kids and grand kids into debtors prison; let’s see if their “words”…heal.


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