Give Me a Union Man

by S.C. Torrington on January 18, 2008

hoffa_001A union man understands responsibility. Even if he’s not Mr. Dependable at home; at work, he knows that’s what it’s all about. Like the Hokey-Pokey. You learn it early or not at all.

So I took great comfort in tonight’s visit from my former theatre union’s Business Agent. He brought some money, more freelance work and alotta laughs. Bruce and I were sworn into the local together and we reminisce about our apprentice years with great humor. We were told to “Be on time, have your tools and keep your mouth shut.” And I kept my promise to the head carpenter at the Mechanic that he’d never see tears from me (the first/only female member in Local 19 during the 80s.)

Throughout our meeting, Bruce’s cell phone kept ringing with calls from members and shop stewards. Some wanna work. Some can’t work. And one didn’t show up for work. That’s a major no-no. The steward called, the guy’s 20 minutes late. “Replace him,” says Bruce. Next. Even if he shows up, he can just turn around and go home. No argument. No excuses.

How do you think those rules would work with a homeschool group? Twenty minutes late is par for the course with some Moms. Others are no shows without acknowledgement or apologies. And the excuse of a sick kid or dead dog, even if you’d run over it trying to get to the co-op on time, would be of no consequence.

Tools? A #2 pencil perhaps? Don’t count on it. In the IA, nobody liked to lend his tools. You had what you needed on your tool belt. You didn’t bring extra to share. No roadie wants to hear “Wait!” to take up a pipe while you and another guy share a wrench.

Keep your mouth shut? Who are you kidding? Men are the chatty sex, but at least they pay attention while they’re bullshitting. And no matter how angry one might get with another, even coming to blows (off the clock), they’d still work shoulder-to-shoulder as brothers, when “Let’s go to work,” rang out.

No tears? No homeschool activity is complete without at least one hissy fit or meltdown. And it’s not always a kid’s.

If Home Educators had a union, I’d file a grievance and some Moms would have their cards pulled.

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