I didn’t travel by car, but I saw the same things in multiple states, all across Montana, and everywhere I read online. We’ve known this was coming, we haven’t had enough workers for a very long time. You can read all sorts of articles dating back a couple of decades or more that discuss the coming “labor shortage crises”. Combine that with deliberately suppressed wages and and a year and half in which a lot of middle class or retirement age people are learning new ways to cope on a lower income and here we are.

The narrative and the evidence don’t line up. Any time the evidence doesn’t match the assumptions, you check your assumptions and see where you’re going wrong.

It’s not about imaginary benefits letting poor people live like kings while everyone around them is working 2-3 jobs. It’s not about people that don’t want to work but somehow can still pay historically high rent prices and ever increasing costs of living. And despite those things, we’re still seeing record high profits in some sectors, a stupidly high stock market and a wealthy class that has seen their wealth grow by as much as a 3rd in just under 1.5 years.

If it isn’t the poor, and it isn’t that there aren’t people willing to work, then where do you go from there?

Check the narrative.

8 years have changed a thing or two. Now there’s just one lass, and an awesome one she is. And there’s no rapping or tapping, it’s all Snap Chatting – And you tell me what the Hell Poe would rhyme with Tik Tok since Ravens don’t go knock knock…or use cell phones, really.

Now excuse me while I go yell at some kids to get off my lawn.

In the hero’s journey we don’t focus on all the friends, family and companions that get hurt, killed or left behind. The hero prevails but does so at a major cost that’s almost always ignored in the story.

It’s even worse when the hero’s journey ends in failure. Shakespeare had it right. You know the difference between a Shakespearean comedy and tragedy? Some characters survive in the comedies…

I know there are many things that I would do differently if I didn’t have friends or family that depended on me to handle my responsibilities. There are risks that I would have no problem with if the only person affected was me. But that’s not my life, and it would be terribly, terribly selfish to take those risks without understanding and addressing all the other people involved.

Ours is a pretty ruthless and unforgiving society. There are many great, compassionate and caring individuals. But as a whole, that’s not the world we have built. If you need proof, just look at what we do to our heroes who fail.

My dad was lineman for the railroads for 33+ years. It took a wide range of knowledge but also a great deal of labor, right down to something “basic” like digging a ditch. He said, you could always tell the new guys because they didn’t know how and where to dig. You see, my dad worked in the north – MT, ND, WY, and it is a miserable bugger during many months of the year. High winds, terrible cold and snow, too. The experienced guys, they knew to use their truck to shield them from the worst of that as they did what they had to do. The new guys- they didn’t know any better. Most of us have probably heard the expression, “Well, you could always go get a job digging ditches,” usually used when somebody was telling another person that if they didn’t like the work/pay, they could just go be “labor”. It turns out that labor needs skill and knowledge, too.

My mom never graduated college, but she can cook for 2 people, or 50. She can run a kitchen, manage servers, wait tables and remember what everyone was drinking and when they needed refills. She could do that for 10 hours a day and do it with a smile even when that’s the very last thing she wanted to do.

Labor is a skill.

I was talking with a guy a bit back and he was frustrated that all these potential employees were demanding more money, which in turn would “cause” existing employees to want to make more money. I wanted to point out to him that if they went and did the same job as a self-employed person, the amount they charge per hour would easily be 5 times as much. The conversation wasn’t going to head down that road, so I just told him that yes, they should be paying the other employees more, too.

Labor is a skill.

For my Ayn Rand loving, Capitalism worshiping Libertarian friends – if you really do love a free market(and not just when it benefits corporations) then understand that currently, the free market is telling you to raise wages and bring in more workers.

One of these is sitting on my desk right now. I have dreamt of this moment, as only a gamer geek can… I have spent many a day searching for them -about 390 days, last I checked…. I’ve read of people who know a guy who has a friend that has a Russian connection. Word is that they bought one, once…

But to actually be in physical possession of one? Well now, that’s something.

So much something, in fact, that I recognize I cannot keep it – in the same way that all those people in possession of a second PlayStation 5 know that it is their solemn duty to have mercy on the less fortunate.

Although I want to savor this as my own, it would be too much. No, seriously, this thing was expensive! So who wants it? I’ll make you an offer most of us can’t afford. 😉