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Yesterday, I talked about the state of my generation, a bit of the world we’re getting, and the need to have skilled tradesmen.

Yet, I suspect most of us don’t even know which end of a hammer to use. The art majors might know how to paint, but what about the rest of us? Do those of you reading this even know how to use a plunger? I’ve tried, and I’ll admit I haven’t had much success. We can quote the battles historical, but can we change the light bulb categorical?

My dad knew how to do a bunch of this stuff, but thanks to a divorce, I never got to learn it from him. I suspect my story isn’t unique there either. Children stripped of families, often with little to no contact with any fathers that might have these skills to pass on.

It’s like Mike Rowe said in the video I posted yesterday, how can we have shovel ready jobs, when most of us haven’t ever used a shovel and were told we didn’t want to? How will we continue our modern life with its electricity and plumbing, if we don’t have people who know these jobs. And we won’t have people in my generation who know how to do these jobs, because we were raised to have too much fucking pride, and that these jobs were shameful.

But these jobs are not shameful. In fact, you can have more pride in those jobs than I’ve seen in any of the Higher Education jobs. Why? Because these jobs are Real. Think back to when we were kids, and the pride we felt when we made something by our own hands? I don’t care if it was a fortress/town from Lego bricks, or a macaroni picture. That same pride can be ours again, real, honest pride that is based on reality. A house is a real thing. Plumbing is a real thing, keeping it going is even more real. Remember that in the bathroom. So is keeping the electricity going in your house, because all our toys aren’t going to work without it.

All things considered, I would actually rate a plumber as more important than a doctor, because while a doctor can cure sickness (or is supposed too) a plumber can make the sanitary conditions where diseases can be prevented before the doctor is needed! But we were taught that being a plumber and doing manual labor was shameful. Let me tell something about that shameful profession. My plumber, when I was a kid, got to take his wife to Europe or the Caribbean every year, had a cabin on the lake, and buy her expensive jewelry.

Fuck, I wish I had that kind of “shameful” job. Sounds so much better than my “respectable” white-collar job, where I only get part time and barely above min wage. I can’t even afford all my bills, much less a trip to some far away exotic location.

And the thing is, not only would these jobs provide us with a “living wage” (that so many on the political side like to scream places like Walmart and McDonald’s should be paying us over-educated monkeys) it would solve much of our education problem. Guess what, you don’t need to be able to read at a high school level to put cars together in a plant. Or to know how to build a house. The skills you do need, like knowing which tools to use and such, you can get on the job, and you’ll learn it better because it’s not some abstract thing that will “be important later on in life.” It’s a real thing that’s important right that minute. ADD could be worked with, as people found things that “calmed” them and they could focus on. We wouldn’t have to push kids through the system, because they could get the education they wanted, needed, or could handle, and then be able to go on later in life and find a job they could do.

I knew a kid, we’ll call him Todd. Last time I met him, he was struggling in school, had no chance to get into college, and the impression that his family and school were ashamed of this. I knew him because our moms new each other since back in one of those pregnancy classes, and my mother acted with pity about it. Todd was likely to have to go to a trade school, and it was phrased much like that, like the Victorians used to say “so and so had to go to the country for a rest” which was all kinds of code for shameful things. Still, in someways, I think Todd has a chance to be lucky. If he gets into a trade school and manages to come out with a trade he can make a living at, he’s gonna be one Hel of a leg up on the rest of us.

Part III Tomorrow