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Who's working and where?
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The Spectator
founded 2004 by ron cruger
A place for intelligent writers
A place for intelligent readers
 by Ron Cruger
rcruger@san.rr.com
2013 Spectator Ron - The Spectator All Rights Reserved
C
Do Americans have a work ethic anymore?
          My %$#@$ing computer suddenly stopped working!
          I’m checking out some sites on the internet then I’m typing and without warning the %$#@ing thing ceases to operate. Not being a very smart and knowledgeable computer person, I had no idea of what to do to correct the situation! I turn the computer on and then off. I do this maneuver three times. Bubkus!
           So, I panic and call up my cable provider. I dial them and get a machine that asks me if I am going to talk in English or Spanish. Then I get a series of recorded questions. All this, so far, is recorded – not a human voice anywhere.
          Finally, a human voice comes on the phone, asking for my home telephone number, obviously because that is how I’m known to the cable company. I’m a telephone number.
          The voice then asks me what my problem is. “My computer can’t get the internet anymore,” I stutter.
          The voice then says, “Please hold on, I will switch you to one of our technicians.”
          A voice comes on and continues to ask me questions. Then, I’m asked to go to the back of my computer and remove one wire and place it in the back of the “Airlink 101.” Uh, oh.
          I tell the voice that I have no idea of what an “Airlink 101” is. The voice tries explaining where it is. I tell the voice, “Look, I have no idea of where the wires are or where they go.”
          The voice tells me, “Can you hold on, sir, I will transfer you to another technician.”
           I offer, “But, but, but.”
          A new voice comes on the phone. “Hello, tell me what’s wrong with your computer.”
          The lady is very nice, very polite. I ask the lady, “Where are you?” The voice answers back, with a slight accent, “We are in the Philippines.”
          Anyway, the voice tells me all about switching wires and cable connections. I tell her that, “This isn’t going to work. There are dozens of wires back there. There’s scanner wires, printer wires, computer wires, speaker wires, monitor wires, television wires, all in addition to plain old electric wires. I don‘t know which one goes where. The voice sounds frustrated, and says, “Okay, let’s try something else. Unplug your computer for thirty seconds and then plug it back in.”
          I follow these instructions and whammo, on comes the %$#@ing computer. It works.
          I tell the voice from the Philippines, “Hey, it’s working. Thanks.” The voice, with the accent, says, “You’re welcome, we hope you have a good day. Good bye.”
          Later that same say I drove to the next town to buy some plant fertilizer. I noticed over twenty Mexican men standing on one corner. Perhaps a dozen on the opposite corner. They gather on these corners every morning, six days a week. They’re there to be picked up by citizens to work for them. Most of the times it’s building, repair and landscaping contractors who hire these men, but often it is homeowners in the area who pick them up and put these men to work.
          I don’t know if these men are illegal aliens or not. That’s not my point. What I wonder is, where are the Americans? Aren’t we unable to do physical labor anymore? Are we incapable of doing work with our hands at a reasonable price? Can’t we Americans man the telephones and tell people how to repair their computers and can’t we do this at a fair and living wage? Are we so spoiled that we would rather accept a welfare check from the government than go out and work with our hands? Are we so spoiled that answering questions on the telephone is below us. Are we so spoiled that we must send simple tasks overseas rather than have Americans earn a fair wage and regain the dignity of work.
          I’m worried about the reports that American children are growing up fat and out of shape. I’m worried that wherever I go I see people from another land doing the physical work that we used to do. They’re climbing the trees and straining on the hills and pulling the weeds and mowing the lawns. They’re building the walls, constructing houses, putting on new roofs, lifting the heavy rocks, mixing the cement, stocking shelves and driving the trucks.
          It is not xenophobic to dream of Americans working with their hands at a fair wage. It is not xenophobic to dream of jobs returning from overseas and Americans earning a fair wage.
           It seems like the right thing to do.