Well, here I am. I have seen some crazy things in my time, and heard of even wilder, but when I look at my life lately I seem to be moving to the top of the rankings for the unbelievable story segment. Modern Waste is out in paperback, Kindle, and an incredible audiobook (sign up for a free 30-day trial of Audible and get Modern Waste free today) narrated by Scott Pollak. I’m finally getting a hold of my social media presence and am pleased to tell you that there are now several new ways to get inside of my head. On Twitter you can follow me @marcdcrepeaux and on FaceBook I’m Marc Crepeaux. The analog voice inside of my head tells me that I should shudder and say, “or whatever,” after that.
So you’re probably wondering how I just casually breeze right in without addressing the last seven months of silence. I seem to have developed this habit of finding my way into some hole, being covered up, then emerging with great news of budding and being productive only to find that I am once again a seed in the ground. I hope that you made it back to Rome by way of Modern Waste before I got the first delivery of furniture in my new home. I’m no less perplexed now than when I was writing to you from the rugged central coast of California, but at least now the voice of confusion is more in English than not. As I returned to Georgia an entrepreneur, an officer, a writer, and a father it didn’t take long for each segment to become needy, pulling in its own respective direction creating the tension necessary to keep me upright. I have settled into the life of a private investigator like returning to a bad habit. It is a great life for me as it affords me time to focus on the rest of my plate. As writing goes I am wrapping up several projects which have excited me enough to wake the neighbors (see previous dad joke). Working with William Edgar Boggan has been an excellent learning experience and it has been an absolute whirlwind. As I mentioned earlier I also connected with Scott Pollak (great voice, lots of experience) to record the audiobook version of Modern Waste. This comes at a good time as I am also close to publishing the sequel to Modern Waste: Calhoun, My Love. If you can stomach a healthy dose of Flannery O’Connor without questioning your beliefs and growing suspicious of your own skin then you may be ready for small doses of Calhoun, My Love. I’m so enthralled in this series that I have already started a third installment. More on that later—let’s bring it back to the here and now.
I’ve been holding out, which is the pattern with this collection, to tell you the latest on my “Blue Collar Poetry” book. It is titled “Worked-Stiff: Poetry and Prose for the Common”. I’ll dangle the foreword in front of you just to give you a taste of what is to come with this collection.
This collection is a salute and celebration of the modern American worker. Generations of unrecognized heroes who wash our cars, mow our lawns, bake our bread, douse our fires, take out our garbage, teach our kids, grow our food, build our houses, mend our roads, and defend our freedom. Some who dare to read this collection may end up, heaven forbid, pondering a little about the world and other people around them. If that does occur, you may think or even say aloud to somebody who pretends to care for the moment: “Hey, this here is all just a big whine- a real bleeding heart liberal squawking, I must stop reading at once! Can you believe this guy?” Some may even believe the opposite to be true, that surely the writer involving himself in these works is a big-government hating, non-taxpaying conservative thug, or even a libertarian, of all things, who wants nothing more than to take away all taxes and programs that would assist the working class in any way whatsoever. “This guy, this Frenchie, is a wanna –be Neo-Con with the preemptive strike of a free-market loving lunatic! Where did he come from?” I ask you to leave these notions of judgement at the door please. Take them off like clothes, you’ll feel better, trust me.
Just hold tight there-Rooster, I’m an American, true blue. You won’t be able to pin me down. Besides, we wouldn’t want to jump to any conclusions and start the pecking right off anyway. After all, that’s what they want.
Now, I know that it is very easy to say the word they to your friends as it pretty much defines whoever is against you at the time of retched thought or hopeless debate. For some, they is meant to describe the overpowering menace of G-Men and their alien lizard warlords who run the show. For others, it’s Oprah Winfrey, philanthropy in general, the contradictory hordes that pretend to care for others, people who drive a Prius, or those who have a vegetable garden that they like to meddle in, later listening to NPR and drinking chamomile. That’s who they must surely be.
For me and my purposes, they are who is in power in today’s American economic and political machine. As a surprise for many, the powerful and elite have their little diablo hooves on both sides of the political spectrum. Really??? Yes, all can be found wearing the cloaks of Republicans, Democrats and everything in between and on either side of the extreme.
“They’re all crooks-downright, no-good liars,” my father once said of politicians, and I believed him. I believed him because at one point in their careers, the politicians who now run the show surely must have compromised their integrity at one point or another. The first transgression could have even been early on, in order to win that mayoral race way back when. It could be that it happened only recently. Your guy or gal stuck to their guns for the majority of their political career, not to be bought by anyone, yet when it came to the big race, they had to bow to the real powers that be: The teams they were playing for and the money behind them. These teams can be tricky too, even choose with coin amongst them, who is best suited to win against the opposition and all that. After they are all good and compromised with regards to integrity, what many of them do is take one issue, maybe two, often social, because social issues get the most fire from the bellies of the people. They go ahead and nicely define the sides of the political debate for you.
If one team’s mascot says oh they just love the color purple, they will do absolutely anything in their power to defend the right to purple. The other side’s mascot says that purple is what is wrong with America, but BOTH sides take on floods of money illegally and legally from anybody who will doll it out, regardless of their stance on purple. These politicians do this for future favors, in the form of policy decisions, which also don’t have anything to do with purple or the safety thereof. To top it off, neither side wants to do anything about purple during their term because it may rock the boat and they are counting on votes and money from both pro-purple and anti-purple sides that stray away from their main flagpole for their own petty reasons altogether. Like they don’t appreciate her hair, or he doesn’t stand presidential or something like that. So the issue of purple becomes a non-issue in the campaign and in the time of rule, yet, everybody gets so crazy over the color anyway, drawing lines in the sand when it doesn’t actually matter. That’s all a big distraction. What matters is money, food on the table. People vote for or against purple despite the fact that everyone involved is ignoring the plight of the modern middle-class and the American worker.
People throw their votes away on one or a few stand-alone issues while they are being robbed blind. This game we are playing is rigged. The American Dream is, well, different. I think it’s a tad cliché to say that The American Dream is dead, besides, I don’t believe it. The dream is still there, hidden in plain sight, riddled with confusion and abandonment. This game we are playing is chaotic, and the league we are playing in, the system, well, it’s broken. Think I am wrong? Just search-however you want-old-school in the library or new-wave on the interwebs for the difference in salary of the middle-class from 1950-NOW. How about the difference in salary of the top 1%? Have you or someone you know been in need of a job lately? Talking about the wage gap has become a political issue, when it just shouldn’t be, what we are talking about is facts. Think statistics lie? Sure they do, but I can tell you that counting does not lie.
Yes, ever since my high chair days, counting has been solid evidence of either having or not having something. I can tell you that for most people in America, they are on the unfortunate side of not-having when it comes to jobs, a solid, steady wage, and a future that looks bright for their children. Those early days of counting macaroni didn’t even fathom negative counting, otherwise known as debt. Debt has been around as long as there has been a form of currency, but not in my country. Mortgage? Student loans? Credit Cards? These evils, only generations ago, didn’t even exist in America, yet they are used oh so cleverly to fill in the gap of what workers should be actually earning compared to what they have been left with.
Does that mean that a rich man who climbed his way to the top is undeserving? No, actually, I don’t believe that at all. Well, what about some tight wad whose family struck oil and he inherited the world on a silver platter? Good for him, I say, hope he was raised well and he knows what to do with all that cheddar. You see, I don’t have envy. I do want to be wealthy too, though. Who wouldn’t at least want the opportunity for advancement? Advancement may not just mean money either, for some it can mean education, opportunity to travel, home ownership, or simply freedom of time.
Who I absolutely hate is the winner of the climbing contest that cuts the rope behind him so that nobody else has the chance to match or beat his record, and he has no fear of going back down the rope again. I loathe the man who makes it past the gate of wealth and opportunity, only to barricade the castle walls with guards, archers, a drawbridge, moat and sharks with lasers to protect his position. I hate the politician who got elected with his own money and that of a few friends, only to enact policy solely to protect both growing piles. Will they starve all of a sudden if they think about the future of America over their own bottom line? No, certainly not. Plenty of wealthy men and women throughout history have provided the opportunity for advancement to other human beings without being worse for the wear. Notice I said, opportunity for advancement and not handout? Unfortunately, some amongst us on both sides of the aisle refuse to recognize the difference.
I quoted my father earlier, and I’ll do it again, because everyone should listen to their parents on occasion: “You have to keep an open mind, son.” This is pretty easy to say, and actually, pretty easy to do.
So read on and enjoy with an open mind the celebration, story, and circumstance of the modern American worker and all the small yet wonderful moments that make up our lives.
And please remember that your hands are only as clean as the towel you dry them on.
Well, there you have it. Now go tell your friends what Marc D. Crepeaux is doing.