One of my daily routines is check out Doonsebury. Each morning (2:00 a.m. MST), after I feed the cats, start coffee, attend to any laundry and take a shower, I grab a cup of joe, start up the ‘ol computer and head straight to Doonsebury. Don’t ask me why, I just do.
One of the few subplots going on involves good ‘ol Zonker. You see, BD lost his leg in Iraq, which caused the family to fall on some hard times. Zonker now has to do his part and get a job. For two months, we’d visit this little side act to read about Zonks crazy, lazy life and his angst about getting a job. A life practically devoid of any real job experience. Within the last week, Zonker has finally landed himself a job. When we are introduced to his boss, it is with Zonker exclaiming, “you mean you work eight hours?? Per day?!?”
That set my mind into serious motion. Here’s why.
For those who haven’t noticed, the blogging around these parts has been fairly sparse lately. Marcus notwithstanding, what with his guard duty, a crappy job if there ever was one, I’ve been B.U.S.Y. A few weeks ago I fixed my issue laden Caddilac. More to the point, I wrecked it. It was literally a bone shattering occurence. That event activated a week off from any work related duties.
I was supposed to take more time off, but my boss’s solution to the problem was to have Dana come in at 2 a.m. and do her job, then do my job. The only car available for me to drive has a standard transmission. It is somewhat difficult to drive a standard with only one arm, not to mention that the shoulder strap for the seatbelt ran right across my broken collar-bone. I drove it nonetheless. I just didn’t feel right having someone else suffer that badly to cover what was essentially my problem. I was back to work in what my doctor says was two weeks too early.
I have another job as well. This is a job I only recently started and it was supposed to only be 10-15 hours per week. Mixed in with my 20 hour per week job at the bakery, I’d have a sitiuation similar to a full time job which was perfectly suited for my schooling (note: I had to drop my classes this semester due to previously mentioned accident). Last week, around the same time I was just getting used to hobling around, one of the full time drivers at my day job (its a vending job, and my bakery job starts at 4 a.m.) slipped and fell and hurt his knee. I was called upon to help cover for him while he’s out.
If no-one has ever vended, let me tell you that soda is a big seller, and its heavy (especially for people with broken bones). At the bakery, I lift 60 pound bags of flour or wheat or bran or anything else we have that is that heavy. The sodas have to be lifted into the truck, which is way above shoulder level. Aside from the lifting, which literally causes my bones to ache each night (as I said, I should be on light to no duty at this point), there are the hours. And thats where Zonker, with his carefree do nothing lifestyle, comes in.
Aside from being in pain, I am working well past the “eight hour day.” My daily routine is the same as always from 2:00-3:30. I get to work by four and spend four hours there. As soon as I get home, around 8:30, I leave a message on Daves cell and he swings by to pick me up. We run Joes route, hit my stop twice (its a very big company) and pick up any service calls Dave gets (he normally does service calls and maintenance). I get home around 5:30. This Saturday, I’ll work eight hours between the two jobs, but Sunday should be light. I’ll only service my account for around three or four hours. Monday, it’ll start all over.
This is not the first time I’ve worked that much. I worked for Sealy as a baler (That is one of the all time most physical jobs out there). I would routinely work twelve hour days. At my age, the joints would stiffen up after a few minutes of idle time (getting out of bed was a chore). I delivered ice one summer back in ‘99. I’d do that from 6:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. every day. All summer long that went on. I worked as a plater for circuit boards. In ‘97, we worked from the day after Thanksgiving till the day before Christmas. We worked 10-12 hour days. Each of those jobs was physical. I had a severe back spasm at N.T.I. (plating) and was back to work the next day. Granted, it was light duty for a week, but I could have taken two weeks off. Delivering ice, I had the tip of a finger removed. It was sown back on, and I didn’t miss a day. I was back at full duty, even though I could have taken a few days off.
Reading the Doonsebury episode with Zonker got me to thinking. Would anyone choose his path? I’m surely not the only person to be thickheaded and singleminded in my work ethic, but would anyone else have shorted their recovery time off? Or would you have worked?