Promising the World with Wooden Nickles

Since my graduation, I have been on the quest for the ultimate dream job, the job to end all jobs, that pivotal career job that will be my final place of employment. Cue (scratching the needle over vinyl record sound). With the seasonal economy, high food and fuel prices, an election, and oh heck I will throw in the Royal Wedding too, the market economy has not being doing so well. Naturally, the best employer in Canada, the government, is not hiring as much at this time. So, I wait for that moment when my dream job floats across the frontiers of cyberspace, calling out to me “job opportunity.”

In the meantime, it is remedial, labour type jobs. The sad truth is, with my education and experience, I am doing a lot better than most, so therefore, I consider myself not doing as well; then there are a lot of hurting people in this country. I now have first hand proof.

I was talking to a group of young adults in Langley City on Tuesday. Each one of them are in their mid twenties. All live at home with their parents and guardians. None have full-time work, or a job, and they all claim to be earning little bits of income from doing various jobs, and favours that come by every so often. They scrounge bottles, collect scrap metal, and do the odd acts of labour for profit that they can find. They are very good at the “Con” game.

In a way I feel bad for the world. Everything that could not happen to the market economy has happened. Greed is flourishing well, and I blame that squarely on most of the troubles we see today with large over extended corporations, and people who spent beyond their means. For the young adults that I met with back then, they dreamed of having credit cards, driving around in expensive cars, and having a magazine model as girlfriend. Reality is a far off distant land for these guys. But, they are also trapped in the land of promises.

They too want that dream job, that career where they are boss, and they bring home the mountains of money, and never have to worry about where the next meal is going to come from. They even play the lottery regularly, spending what little money they have, after buying cigarettes and beer, on these bets. All for that single dream chance—that dream.

Here we have a case of the Cons, being Conned in the great cycle of disparity. There is tragedy and humour all wrapped into one emotion for these guys. I sit, and all I can do is listen.

One of the best dialogues that has stuck in my mind over the years came from a short story called “Daemons in Middle Town America” by R. R. Brendon (spelling?), circa, 1950s, which was mandatory reading in one of my English courses. The story is told from the first person point of view of a young boy who encountered a preacher selling trinkets that would ward off evil beings. The boy was on his way into town to buy a hammer for his father who needed it to finish fixing the family wagon. The preacher noticed that the boy had money was trying to “con” the boy out of it.

The fat man in the white suite stood up said, “Behold, I give you the Sun.”

“But the Sun is not yours to give.” I answered.

“Only the pure in heart can see the Sun for what it means…” the fat man snapped back.

“The Sun shines equally everywhere on the Earth,” I replied back.

“You do not believe! You dare question that what is right, as the nose plainly on your face!” yelled back the fat man, pointing upwards at the Sun. “Then you will forever live in darkness….” as the fat man looked down and shook his head.

“Um, Nope! The Sun looks as bright as it did this morning. And I know this, dad said it is going to be Sunny all this week. Are you sure you are not getting confused with night time?” I then mounted my bike and continued onward into town.

I am sure these young men will grow up to be great and wonderful people. Perhaps one or two of them will survive this economic depression and leap forward and make their mark on the world. The sadness is in the talent that is being wasted as each of them claws their way through each day to get by.

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