Ross: Exercising my Labor muscles this Labor Day

Sep 4, 2023, 7:38 AM | Updated: Sep 12, 2023, 8:26 am

(Photo by Sasha/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)...

(Photo by Sasha/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

(Photo by Sasha/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Labor Day was founded to celebrate the labor movement, I’ll leave you to look up the history.

But what I think about when I see the word “labor” is people using their skill and strength to do physical work.

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I don’t consider what I do for a living to be physical work. I stand up for long periods of time, and I push a button here and there and do some typing, and sometimes walk over to the latte machine, but when I leave here, there is really nothing I can point to and say, see that? That’s what I built today.

By my definition, laborers are people who can point to something that physically exists in the world, “See that? I made that!”

One of the problems with all the technology we have is that so many jobs involve twiddling fingers to manipulate insubstantial pixels. Yes, it requires concentration; it’s definitely work, but the result is invisible and untouchable.

I think that’s why I putter. I like to fix things, reclaim something old, and build something new, my project for the past two weeks was to build a deck with reclaimed wood and pieces of an old garage door – even using reclaimed nails from old projects. Yes – I save old nails. You might ask, who goes around straightening old nails anymore? Me, that’s who, because of a self-imposed rule for this project, was that no money could be spent.

Why would I make up such a rule? I don’t really know.

There are probably deep psychological reasons for this, but I don’t care what they are. All I know is that, for whatever reason, I feel like I have to build something once in a while.

And I mention this just to show some respect for the people who make their living doing the physical stuff: the digging, pouring, paving, painting, lifting, building, planting – people who can point to anything from a new skyscraper to a new freeway lane, to a light rail system, to a re-forested mountain and say, that’s there because of me.

This day’s for you.

I’d throw a party for you on my new deck, but it would have to be at your own risk.

Listen to Seattle’s Morning News with Dave Ross and Colleen O’Brien weekday mornings from 5 – 9 a.m. on KIRO Newsradio, 97.3 FM. Subscribe to the podcast here.

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Ross: Exercising my Labor muscles this Labor Day