Jim Trainer


In Uncategorized on September 6, 2011 at 1:31 pm

The Office of Jim Trainer
Bat Manor
Hippie Town, USA

Geoffrey Daragh
The Grind, Whip In
1950 S I H 35
Austin, TX 78704

9/5/11 5:48pm

Yo Man-

I can’t escape the irony of hearing of your troubles while this state was on fire, blazing on the TV above the bar at the Whip In on Sunday.  As I said, I have had many, many nights of exasperation and dead-end hopelessness while working behind that very same bar.  We are born to trouble, Brother, but they are paper-thin.  They’ll either be assimilated or forgotten but love will live in this house forever.

My 20 year career as a shift worker careened between the building trades and the service industry.  I’ve proudly? done everything except plumbing and electric and I’ve risen up the ranks to waiter and bartender all the way from a lowly dishwashing position at Martinichio’s Italian Restaurant back in the good old days of 1987, when I was 12.
My graduation to bartender status was Too Much Fun.  When I was 28 and I was a B-team bartender at a place called The Inn at Historic Yellow Springs it was the fucking best of times.  I had a pocket full of money and drugs at all times, phone numbers on napkins, liquor, linen and grapefruit juice in the trunk of a 1989 Lexus and inroads to some of the wealthiest clients in Teddyfrin township.
Besides dumb&romantic notions, working in the trades was not so much fun.  At 22 I was homeless and stuffing fiberglass in my Doc Marten’s to get me through the winter as a laborer in my hometown.  When I was 25 I was the foreman of a demolition crew in what used to be called North Philly.
For a week in the summer during the Year of the Horse, the crew&I were charged with shoveling pitch off the roof of an old candy factory and down to the top floor.  From there we would load&shovel the stuff down an elevator shaft.  Once the pitch was at the bottom of the shaft and favorably settled, we would shovel&load&wheelbarrow the stuff out to a dumpster in the alley.  Pitch is the detritus&gravel of asphalt, so named for the color of the dust that gets kicked up when you’re shoveling the shit down an elevator shaft.  The crew consisted of 30 and 40-year-old black and Puerto Rican men from the Badlands of North Philly, Tau and myself.  Brother Tau is Samoan but black, brown or white we were all pitch black from head to toe at the end of the day; except for the strap marks from your respirator if you chose to wear one.  Allot of those men didn’t.
ALL of those men were making less than half of what I was being paid and it was b/c they were poor and black and I was white and friends with the sub.  As incredibly heinous and intense as this sounds, IT WAS STILL BETTER THAN WORKING IN THE SERVICE INDUSTRY.
There’s no hope for anyone except the top 2% of “earners” in this Country.  The rich of America are like some Billionaires Club.  They dine behind wide walls while the working class and the rest of us spend our time chasing a cut dime-parking their cars, washing their windows and shining their stars.
I cribbed that from Brother Neil Young, a true&finer American than most of the ones born here.

I am certain that you think of your incredible and sensitive son and the love that you and your wife share to get you through another day at the Whip In.  We Irish will never suffer fools gladly but if you get the Call you must Answer.  If the state is spontaneously bursting into flames while you stand behind that quagmire of a chalkboard food menu waiting for some St.Ed’s choad to ask what ghee is and it feels right, you must Answer the Call.

If the house is burning down, walk away, she used to say, but she’s long gone and I’m working on a building.

Death is the only escape Geoffrey.  Until then I will offer you this Wisdom:
Do not wait for the rats.  They are first out during a shipwreck or plague. If winning was everything we would’ve said quit a long time ago.  They are paper-thin.  We are Champions.  They grapple over tethers& crumbs but we know.   Love will live in this house forever and we got the fire in our blood.

Happy Labor Day.

Jim Trainer
Bat Manor
Hippie Town, USA

  1. i love the way you tell stories. the image is as clear as if i had been there. attaboy. z

  2. […] weeks of forcing myself to sit here and post, and sending out long and angry letters to the world.  What I found, driving drunk and falling through the Night Kitchen, was the vast and rolling […]

  3. […] foreman of black and Puerto Rican men from North Philly almost twice my age, filling dumpsters with pitch at the end of the American Century, and as ball busting as that was, it’s heaps better than […]

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