Recently I got a call from the butcher. This was a “red alert moment”. The butcher is a man to be admired and feared. It occurs to me that folks in cities might not understand why a call from the butcher is more important than a call from the President and Joint Chief’s of Staff and maybe Bill Gates and Donald Trump and Mickey Mouse too. This is because the butcher is local and he works. Those other guys? Fuck ’em!
Pay attention kids because this is an important point:
If a person will do stuff for money, and if they do it well, and if you’re too busy to do it yourself, then they are specifically making your life better. Treat them like your biggest friend:
Always keep the butcher happy!
He’s important (at least to me) because he’s part of the last dwindling remnant of specialization of labor. In saner eras the economy was based on this thing called money. You could use money to hire skilled labor. The person you hired would solve your problems.
Generally you did this for things you didn’t want to handle yourself; like drilling a well or performing dentistry. But sometimes you did it because you were lazy. You could hand a few bucks to the neighbourhood lawn mowing kid so you could drink beer instead. (I was that kid.)
It was a superior economic model. It granted Americans two cars per household while Russia waited in line for toilet paper. It kept humanity from dying young while slumped over a plow.
I’m a freak that can’t get with the times. I still try to pay for labor with money. Alas what we think of money is nothing of the sort. We have electronic digits in accounts. They’re symbolically but not actually related to little green slips of paper. The green slips of paper were once symbolically related to things of value (like silver or labor or beer) but have since been expanded so much that they literally can’t even be printed on slips of paper. The greenback long ago violated number theories which are tied to physicality. What once was money is just debt pegged at new and utterly unimaginable levels that have never before existed in any place, in any time, for any society, since the dawn of time. Meanwhile whatever I can offer to hire labor has been outbid by sitting on the couch and watching Oprah. (Assuming Oprah is still alive? I wouldn’t know.)
So how does this lead to reverence for the butcher? Am I just a fruitcake on the internet ranting about fiat currency? No! I have proof. I know that money ‘aint money because (with the exception of the butcher) when I want to hire work done it often cannot be purchased at any price. If you can’t buy shit with money, then money is no longer money.
Globally, the walking dead are still walking. I can get on the internet, order a computer, a radio, or even a bitchin’ coffee mug with a skull on it. It’ll be FedExed to my house quickly and efficiently. I’ll pay with a debit card. Notice who didn’t a piece of the action? Nobody within a hundred miles of my house will see that money. Frankly if it weren’t for far away forces vying to get my money it’d wouldn’t be worth the paper upon which it’s no longer printed. Except for the butcher…
Before I get back to the butcher, let’s talk about gutters. I can’t hand greenbacks to someone to fix my gutters no matter how much I offer. See what I mean? When it comes to gutters, money ‘aint money.
Here’s the thing. I hate working on gutters. I’d happily pay someone else to deal with them. But it’s not rocket science and they’re not radioactive. It’s just that money can’t buy it done. Locally I could probably score hookers easier than a gutter guy. How can that be? It’s easier to find people who’ll have sex with strangers easier than it is to find a dude with a ladder? WTF!
Maybe someday I’ll hire a hooker. When she says “hey big fella’, now that I’ve got your cash I’ll do anything you want” I’ll say “here’s a ladder, fix the gutters”. From an economic standpoint it would all work out; at least until Mrs. Curmudgeon sees a whore in stilettos clearing the gutters and buries my body in a swamp.
I think its a social thing. Hell, for enough money I’ll at least consider damn near anything. Want bacon delivered to a cave in Greenland? Got radioactive lizard shit behind the fridge and want it cleaned out? At some price I could make it happen. There is some price at which I’ll dig ditches, haul your mother in law to the airport, and retrieve your cat from a tree (dead or alive?). But I’m unusual in that I want cash and will chase it… like the butcher.
Back to the topic at hand, since the butcher is the last guy shouldering some of my labor burden (for cash) I’m grateful. If he stops taking my money I’m toast. I’ll have no help in anything. I’ll buy shit via FedEx right until I die of exhaustion. It’s terrifying.
(Note: Don’t let flaky hippies or the ghost of Any Rand fool you… it’s a bitch doing everything for yourself. Self reliance, like liquor, is a heady potion best taken in moderation. In excess, it’s just another way to describe the thousand years of starvation, war, and misery that followed the fall of Rome. Some self reliance is good for the soul. Nothing but self reliance is either Mad Max or starving to death in a mud hut.)
So the butcher, who takes labor from my shoulders and is good at what he does, is a goddamn hero! When he calls I fuckin’ listen. I listened. Then I hung up the phone. It was a 30 second conversation. The butcher is a busy man. He hasn’t got time to waste with chit chat. He had given orders, I was about to follow them.