Blue Collar Lit

There are many paths to developing an interest in literature, and to take that a step further, becoming a writer. Some jobs lend themsleves to reading and daydreaming provided certain preconditions exist; it’s tough to read while operating a forklift, but easy to daydream as long that big red button on the console can be mashed in with the palm of your hand.

Years ago in lower Manhattan I was employed as a claims investigator. My principal qualification for the job was foot speed; at nineteen I could outrun all the middle aged men in the department in what my supervisor called the ‘five yard dash.’ The five yard dash is what insurance investigators do when the subject of the inquiry threatens you with a heavy object; a guy threw Gravity’s Rainbow at me and I was hooked. For weeks I read this monstrous tome at my desk while typing reports on theft, vandalism, wind driven objects, suspicious fires. My supervisor would stop by and heft the book a few times a day and shake his head. “So, you’re saying this guy…attracts V-2 rockets, is that what you’re saying?”

My supervisor on White Noise. “This guys wants white noise? He should work here.”

Focaults Pendulum “The earth rotates. This is news?”

Valley of the Dolls “Good book. Maybe a great book. Get over to Queens. Somebody burned down a warehouse and we got coverage on the contents; five hundred gross of brassieres. I smell a rat.”

More anon.