Tag: Group Writing March 2020

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Respecting Work: The Wisdom of “The Essential Craftsman”


There’s a story about a young man who hopes someday to be an airline pilot. Having to pursue his dream “from the ground up,” he finds himself servicing the lavatories for small jets on a private ramp. Employed by a penny-pinching manager, there’s an unresolved repair ticket on the waste pump hose. Due to this malfunction, about once a week the young man gets sprayed with a combination of “blue-juice” and human waste. One evening he comes home after work, stinking of disinfectant and poo. His bride suggests that maybe he should look for a new job. “What!” he exclaims, incredulously, “and get out of aviation?”

Recommended by Ricochet Members Created with Sketch. Farm Life and the American Work Ethic


If you pay attention to the trends in agriculture in rural America, you are probably aware that the number of farms in the country, which consolidated sharply between 1950 and 1970 and declined markedly in the 1980s, has been steadily declining since 2000, hovering around 2 million but slowly declining after a significant uptick in 2007. Two million farms are feeding a nation of 300 million and indeed the world. We are the top exporter of all agricultural products worldwide, far ahead of #2 (the Netherlands) and #3 (Germany), and doing it with an astonishingly tiny farm workforce. You might think that this means those few people work like, well, workhorses.

And you’d be right. I had the pleasure, no, the advantage of growing up on a dairy farm that had survived that consolidation between the ’50s and ’70s that I mentioned above. We mostly kept that iconic breed of American dairy cow, the Holstein, with some Brown Swiss, some Jerseys, and some Guernseys to keep the gene pool healthy.