Thursday, November 11, 2010
Love at First Bite
Maybe it was the price ($5.00) maybe it was all the home-made splices in the power cord.
Sears finest, circa 1950 or so. Someone spacey like me must have owned it and was a little vague about where the cord was when he was cutting. I found it at the Congregational Church flea market up in Williamsburg about ten years ago. And I loved it even when I found out that the $5.00 price was probably because they didn’t make blades for it any more. So I sharpened it by hand. A half an hour of work with a file, and it would be good for another year of occasional use.
Well, this was perhaps its last hurrah; The last item on the punch list generated by the new owner of 17 Summer Street: cover the sump in the cellar. Last project in my garage before it became broom clean and ready for new things.
So I cannibalized this piece of 5/8" plywood that was my workbench for many years, and cut it to fit over the hole, and cut a slot for the output pipe. It was rough going: Dad had not sharpened it lately. It was blue smoke, and overly sensitive circuit breakers blowing every five minutes.. I minimized the bite so it wouldn’t stall and made worthless promises to it to be a better owner. It hung in there until the job was done, and I saw Ed at Ed’s Electric yesterday and he promised to give it a new cord when his order came in. And I will sharpen it, eventually. Maybe.
American made machinery; now an anachronism. And the American working man and working woman stood by and let it happen. We aren’t ornery like the French truckers, who blockade borders. We bought into the siren call of free trade, let the owners ship all the machinery overseas, voted for the two tier contracts for ever-diminishing workforces. And now the big boys are computerizing and outsourcing all the white collar jobs to India.
So it seems that we are headed back into underdeveloped status. Our troops will eventually have to come home, and there won’t be much here for them to come home to. We’ll keep shipping our timber to China to come back as IKEA furniture, shipping our iron ore from Mesabi to come back as Honda Accords, and gradually we won’t be able to afford all these nice things on our welfare checks, and then the welfare checks will start bouncing. Then we'll get around on pedicabs.
But cheer up, things might eventually get better. In the now not-to-distant future, we might be eligible for foreign aid, and there’ll be calls for land reform and breaking up the big latifundos. It’ll be five acres and a mule for the landless peasants of America, and calls to import machinery from Indonesia to rebuild some of our basic industries. And through it all we’ll keep saluting the flag,watching Vannah sashay across the stage flipping over the letters on "Wheel of Fortune", and remain true believers in Darwinian Capitalism.