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Working John
A Monologue on Menial Working into the Information Age

John is 55, with sandy blonde hair in a thick mullet, with a thick mustache and deep bronze tan, standing about six foot at 180 pounds.

I do roofing, siding, painting, decking and landscaping.

I don’t subcontract. I work for homeowners. I’ll carry their groceries. It’s all work to me. A man tried to give me a sixty dollar tip this morning and I wouldn’t take it. Ladies want me to bring in their groceries for $20 but I’m there, already got paid $200 $300 for the morning. Who but a stripper in Alaska would make that in three hours—makes it clear.

The thing is with treating a deck is to never use wood putty on the cracks. Get a good clear sealant. And paint, you can’t get all that paint off to save your life. You start out with fresh board, lightly power wash it, let it dry in the sun-so you’re power washing in the morning. I use two coats, then every fourth year I lightly power wash it and then hit it with another coat and it lasts forever.

[shows pictures of a deck, a pier and a 70 foot wheelchair ramp he recently treated]

You can see here where it has taken grey that I had to heavily power wash it. People don’t listen. I tell them not to paint decking and they still paint it. Then you have issues.

Born en bred right here. [Edgemere, Maryland]

I lived in Dundalk, off Wise Avenue when I was married. I come home from work late one night—girl didn’t even have to work—and she’s fucking a guy in his car right in front of our house. I knocked on the window and said, “You can have her,” and went about my way. The judge told me the house was hers and what I could take. I had been sleeping in my truck through the whole divorce, a year sleeping in my truck and I’m riding down Northpoint and I see this trailer for sale. I call the guy up and he says its $1,500 for this family camper. I said, “I’m paying cash and I’m staying right here ‘till you get back in town.” He had to move in a hurry so the next day I’m towing that camper back into the land I was born—live in it ‘til this day. A client of mine has 30 acres and he lets me park on his back half. I run a line to the house, do his landscaping, roofing, siding, home improvement for material cost only and got no rent to pay. That client is a good man. I see my business as taking care of clients—whatever they need, except electric work, I’m there for them. It’s never just a deck or a roof, it’s a relationship. I don’t cut lawns and mulch beds I take care of my clients’ yard like it was mine.

[John thanks the author for the two rounds of Budweiser cans he purchased for him and shakes his hand.]

Once I was riding my bike—I had chopped it myself, loved riding that bike—and I found out how important it was to have relationships with clients and not just do jobs. Shoot, this work ain’t easy. If it’s just you and the job its doing you.

I was riding down North Point Road, right out here and this 78-year-old man who had snuck his keys from behind the desk at the old age home where he lived and went for a joy ride, hit me from the right side. The bumper hit my ankle and snapped the leg clean in half so the sole of the foot was pointing right—I found that out later.

I went flying 26 feet.

When I woke I looked up and this cop was standing over me. That wasn’t a good sign. He says, “Don’t move,” and my dumbass tries to get up and I pass out. They had me in a neck brace.

They take me down Bay View and while I’m sitting there I hear them behind the curtain on the phone calling some doctor in to do an amputation, that they have a foot that needs to come off. I said, “Oh heck no, my foot ain’t comin’ off!”

So I hobbled to this wheel chair that was sitting out and wheeled my ass out of there, flagged down a cab at the lobby and got a ride down to the main hospital, Johns Hopkins, where they knew what they were doing. They took me in and evaluated me but said I’d have to wait a day for an operation so I called my girl and had her come and get me—foot still facing the wrong way.

I was cleaning up in the shower in the camper and blacked out.

My girl calls the hospital and they tell her to bring me back in and it turns out I not only have a bad concussion but internal bleeding. My client—my landlord—he drove me back in there. He even did the work he had hired me to do while I was heeling up. As it turns out the man that worked on my leg did a fine job, but I don’t ride no more. I work for good people, come here for a goodtime and go home to a good girl.

Sponsored by Ron West

Here is my brainchild for setting precedent holding intelligence agencies and their political enablers responsible for war crimes. This is a true copy of my filing with the International Criminal Court, also online at:

You are free to share this mail with anyone.

Ron West

‘Graphic Storytelling’

A Crackpot Podcast Listener Who Does Heroic Sketches

Son of a Lesser God



Add Comment
LaManoJuly 15, 2018 11:56 PM UTC

John sounds like a good man. People whining and moaning that "they can't find a job" should talk to this guy or read his story. Although I don't know about this "going home with a leg snapped in two" thing, maybe he should have someone at home to help!

But a hard, skilled worker? We need more like him.
responds:July 16, 2018 4:31 PM UTC


John inspired me to start laboring recreationally as part of my conditioning routine.

He advised me on useful things after a single friendly hello.