Old Dogs

FILL 'ER UP?


I've always agreed
with those who say
every job is equal
in the overall
scheme

the esoteric physicists
smashing the elusive atom
couldn't do their work
with an utmost devotion
if there were no people
to stock grocery shelves
fill roadway potholes
or fix leaky roofs
over those wet
intellectual
heads

I thought
that I could buy in
to such a philosophy
and get a job somewhere
not worrying about the status
or the relative salary
just buckle down
apply myself
and do the job
being fully satisfied
with my efforts
and my
life

it seemed
only a matter
of closing my eyes
and sticking a finger
into the wasteland
of want ads
then making
a commitment
to whatever the result
even though I knew
somewhat hypercritically
that there were
just
some
things
that I
would
not
do
those positions
I guess
less equal
than others

one though
did seem palatable
an ad for an occupation
almost lost in another time
SERVICE STATION ATTENDANT
the phrase bringing back
memories of confident men
in legitimate uniforms
surrounded by walls
filled with fan belts
and air filters
and
of course
always swimming
in the substantial smells
of gasoline
lube oil
and new tires

but when
I finally went
to apply
for the job
I stopped
in front of the garage
and the only things
that I could smell
were too many
missed lunches
ten and twelve hour days
angry car owners
skinned knuckles
and heavy grease
on everything
for the rest
of my working
life

I leaned in
through the door
to the water fountain
sucked down
some cold liquid
and nodded to the man
apparently named MEL
then slowly turned
and walked away
to once again
savor
the aroma
of unemployment