There is no value that can be ascribed to the comfort and memories that a family in a Northern region will enjoy thanks to a Masonry Heater built by someone with the patience, passion, skills, experience, and materials to build it. Regardless of how much that family pays the Master Mason, the memories and the comfort resulting from the trade will eternally exceed the value of that work. Can a value like that really be determined? Is there any amount of money, really, that can afford those comforts and memories?
When I walk along a busy street, like many people who have spent years of our lives working, providing and creating value, I have this tendency to see a cityscape as an event through time, rather than a moment in time. I see moments of the past overlain with subsequent, logical, methodical and purposeful activity which was the foundation for the seeming chaos of the moment. My experience allows me this pleasure. I can understand the events by some that led to the experiences of many, and that is ultimate value.
I see the foundations of the buildings being poured or built by hand. I see the corners and the first courses laid. I see the sills and the lintels set. I see the scaffolding being built. I see the workers walking those planks. I see bricklayers hanging over the walls like bats, their trowels ringing the walls like bells from the past raining down a fine mortar product that dries before it hits the ground.
[N]ever despise a callous-clad value creator again.
As you are seated in a hall, listening to a symphony, I hear the wires being snaked through the walls as the Spark apprentice builds her triceps. I hear the Trim Carpenter’s blood blister nursed with a curse as he affixes ornate trim. The drums of wood stain, jostling and bumping are tympani. Drills, tile saws, torches and the banging of ladders are the honest cacophony in a world where the big lie of easy living is projected into the living rooms of haves and the have nots alike.
I smell festering deals, I smell brokers and agents, I hear phones getting slammed down, and I hear Champaign bottles popping. I see groceries getting paid for. The contractor is a grunt. The Real Estate Mogul is the smirk he wears, because the kid mixing the mud is the business person.
Oblivious, some haven’t yet identified their own value. They belittle labor and skill as though they would never do anything “below their station”. They have been trained by some unfortunate ideological disaster to see the creative, industrious, and difficult (but necessary) work as some kind of punishment. Soon, hopefully, they will experience that moment, that precious first moment of value creation for others. The feeling fused to that is meaningful and life changing. After experiencing it, may they never despise a callous-clad value creator, again. They will look at the world that surrounds them with awe, knowing that human energy is alive in so much they had taken for granted. Welcome to a world buzzing with the residual energy of creative humans.
Plenty of people are grateful for and appreciate what they made from life. They know what’s behind what they have, and do not take a moment, or the people involved in the process, for granted. Simultaneously, the oblivious lay everywhere, filled with irrational entitlement, expecting some kind of ride to heaven on the backs of others.
Across the spectrum, to the oblivious, I say learn a skill and learn it fast. You’re getting ready to need it. Across the spectrum, to the industrious and grateful, I raise a glass.