nonsensical text

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

oh how the mighty have fallen

Throughout my life, I have heard often of the great circle of life, food chains, and man being at the top of the chain. Often, when conservationists are attempting to bring awareness of an endangered species into the limelight, they will comment upon the fact that man has become such a dangerous predator to so many species while there are no natural predators of man. I beg to differ.

We (the dear husband, N, and I) were watching Dirty Jobs earlier this evening. If you have cable and you have never seen it, I highly recommend it. In the show, the host, Mike Rowe, travels to various places and takes part in dirty jobs – those occupations which make our world run as smoothly as it does but which are often thankless, menial, and just plain gross.

In this particular episode, Mike traveled to Louisiana one year after Katrina to take part in some of the ongoing dirty jobs (side vent on this one later). First he traveled and labored with a demolition crew responsible for cleaning out a house and getting it down to nothing but exterior and framing. Most of us have put a load of laundry in the wash and forgotten it for a day or so. We all know that lovely reek. Imagine that smell magnified a thousand times and you might get an idea of one small part of that job. Clothes left in a washer or dryer – sodden with not only the wash water but with what the demolition crew affectionately call “Katrina Soup,” a mix of floodwater, silt, sewage, mold, and more disease than you could be expected to name in an hour even when armed with a Physician’s Desk Reference.

The second job was tracking down, studying, and attempting to control the increased rodent population. The third job was mosquito control.

You might ask what any of these jobs have to do with my opening paragraph. In fact, you have probably asked that several times since beginning to read. Well, it seems to me that humans do have natural predators, they are just very small. Ironic, isn’t it, that the life form most dangerous to us is so small you cannot see it with the naked eye? Natural disasters bring about situations which rapidly accelerate the growth of bacteria and molds. At the same time, the rodent populations increase because of an increased availability of rotten, pungent, abandoned food. The mosquitoes increase as well, feasting upon the blood of the rats and that of the humans – equal opportunity suckers. They also aren’t so modern that they refuse to make house calls. They bring the disease right to our doors. No natural predators – bah humbug.

the side rant

I guess, sadly, the human response to disaster is often like the acquaintance’s response to someone else’s grief. The heart reaches out during the initial injustice. Helping hands are everywhere. A little time passes, though, and suddenly the griever is left in a solitary grief. Only those closest understand. Everyone else goes back to life as normal. Natural disaster as a motivator has a shelf life. Most of us grow weary of bearing other people’s grief long-term. We begin to resume life as normal, forgetting how impossible that is for some.

The men working demolition for the company highlighted in this show were not always laborers. The company owner has been in that line. The other men came from such varied backgrounds as bouncing, teaching English, Investment banking. You see, if these men want to stay in their home town, they need to work. But, until this work is done, their old jobs – many people’s old jobs – simply do not exist. Some may never come back. Those which do will only thrive again through the sweat and blood of men and women like these. The pain doesn’t go away just because the cameras stop pointing it out.



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