About Notes from the Scrap Heap

I’m just a working guy who is now facing either (1) a career change or (2) early retirement after thirty-nine years in the printing trades. I’m not so different from you. Will I survive? Of course. Am I angry? You betcha, and so should you be.

This blog is part memoir, part sharing of feelings, and part call to arms. A lot of people are having parlor discussions about the current economic crisis, with facts and figures to compare and contrast it with recessions and depressions of the past. Well, I’m living it. The president of my union (when I had a union—Newark Typographical Union, No. 103) liked to say, “the difference between a recession and a depression is that when your neighbor loses his job, that’s a recession, and when you lose your job, that’s a depression.” So for me, this is a depression, and I think it has a lot in common with the depression of the 1930s. That’s what I’m trying to get across with the dedication to my James Boatman, my mother’s father. I don’t call him my grandfather, because he died nearly seven years before I was born. I wish I had known him, and frankly, I wish I knew him now.

I know that one way or another I will survive this crisis, and I know that a lot of people have been hurt worse than I have. But I will never for the rest of my time on this earth make peace with an economic system and an employing class that can take hard working people like me and chuck them onto the scrap heap like Linotype slugs into the hell box. After thirty-nine years of pharmaceutical package inserts, annual financial reports, advertising brochures, restaurant menus, and tons of direct mail pieces, I think I deserve better than that, and so do hundreds of other people going through the same misery.

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