August 27, 2009 at 3:54 pm (Life & Death)

Televission’s first beatnick, Maynard G. Krebs [Dobey Gillis’s pal], would stare at the camera in mock horror at the very mention of the word “work.” WORK!!, he’d scream at the prospect of his participating… cringing, while running off camera as if his pants were on fire. Sure it was TV fiction, but I wondered why MGK repeatedly got the laughs he did with the ongoing bit.

Not until I read Working, by Studs Terlel, did it become clear. “Everything you need know” about the subject, mostly from the mouths of the workees themselves, is covered. I learned more about people from these writings, than from any other text I ever read.

Studs passed away a few months ago. The day he died, coincidently, I found a paper back copy of the classic. I passed it on to my son, Phillip, who is starting his first year of college this semester. He glanced at the back cover, and gave me a “thumbs up” [our signal to each other that all is cool, or that we both share some sort of perverse interest in proctology. I prey, all is cool. :-)].

Oddly, the gig in life that gave me the most satisfaction was being “Mr. Mom,” the stay at home parent, for the first years of his life. No where is that occupation mentioned in the early 1970’s classic. Fortunately for both father and son, was I able to “think out of the box.”

Here a picture of the late, great Louis “Studs” Terkel:


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