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The Case For Building A Wall

August 1, 2018

This post has nothing to do with immigration or the president of the United States.

I don’t get to build walls much anymore.

I work in computers. Actually, it’s more accurate to say, I work with computers. If you’re reading this, chances are you do to. It’s a great job. Today in Utah it was 102 degrees. My office was a pleasant 72. Six months ago it was 10 degrees outside. My office was a pleasant 72. Six months from now. . .You get the idea.

And by luck of the occupational lottery, I ended up in a profession that pays pretty well while not requiring me to brave anything more dangerous than a paper cut. You know, from back when we used to use paper.

But, my job is also very unfulling in a weird sort of way. When I arrive at work, my desk is completely empty. Okay, there’s a computer monitor. . two actually, and a docking station for my laptop, and the keyboard and mouse and my desk phone and my bluetooth headset. But, other than that, it’s totally empty!

When I leave for the day, my desk is totally empty. Except for a bunch of stuff I’m not going to list again. But, you get the idea.

A successful day for me, often involves “winning” a battle with my email inbox. Less than 10 remaining emails? Winner!

The point is that there are few physical evidences that I’ve even been to work. This has been a tough week. I attended a meeting earlier where children of abuse related their stories. Yeah, it was as emotionally disturbing as it sounds. Why I was in that room is a story for another day.

But, if I’m feeling down, it helps to build something. My job doesn’t allow me to build stuff.

I had lunch earlier this week with my friend Toad. (Yes, that’s his real name.) Years ago I worked for Toad remodeling an empty house. It was a “fill in” job while I was between computer gigs. There was something deeply therapeutic about first destroying something old and rebuilding something new.

I ripped out old cabinets, sheetrock and a 8’x8′ brick fireplace. (Jackhammers are a really fun tool!) I then built new walls and covered them with sheetrock. I installed countertops. I got to hammer stuff and cut stuff and even fire those cool .22 caliber nails to secure a wall to a concrete floor.

At the end of the day I could look at the room I was working on and see real progress. If I doubted myself in other areas that day I could ask myself,

What have you done today?

I built that wall. It will be there for decades. It’s a good wall. It’s been a good day.

I realize the difference in pay between most laborers and my job. In fact, I don’t fully understand why society has decided that “information workers” like me are worth so much more than people who actually build stuff, or repair stuff; people who are creators.

I wish those professions paid better. Because, sometimes it’s a very good thing to build a wall.

Rodney M Bliss is an author, columnist and IT Consultant. His blog updates every weekday. He lives in Pleasant Grove, UT with his lovely wife, thirteen children and grandchildren.

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(c) 2018 Rodney M Bliss, all rights reserved

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