The Invisibility Of Work

It is said that all teenagers pass through a stage in which they think their parents are idiots. Some of them are correct in this belief while others are not. Is this development, however, such a cosmic constant as we assume? Did the young hunter-gatherer always and necessarily think his pop was a doofus? I do not know the answer to that, but it occurs to me that in those (allegedly) simpler times the youngsters could watch the adults practising all their skills – catching their dinner, making boats and clothes and so forth – and that a natural response to doing so would be to say, “Cool! Teach me how to do that!” In the modern West, however, such livelihood-acquiring skills as parents possess are generally exercised at this other place called Work, to which children have no access. It is famously observed that most modern kids know only that dad and/or mom work “in an office somewhere”. Here is no opportunity for observation, admiration and emulation; the youngsters see only the resultant money, which they consequently imagine grows on trees. House-drudgery apart, all they see of their parents is their downtime, in contemplation of which the teenagers may well be excused for confusing idiocy with exhaustion.

Posted on April 21, 2009 at 09:52 by Hugo Grinebiter · Permalink

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