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Chapter 6 - The American Standard of Living

Following is an article on American Standard of Living written by me in first issue of the Lumberjack News then located at Fort Seward, California in October of 1957.

First time I ever gave the "American Standard of Living" much thought was once when I was working on a rafting and boom job up in Washington State some years back. It had been a rough day. The wind had got up and broke two of our booms and there was logs scattered from hell to Georgie. On top of that it was raining and snowing, and we are getting the magnificent sum of 35 cents per hour for a ten hour day. (This makes me fell like Im a couple of years oldern Christ.)

Finally we have the logs back in the booms, and old Belly River Jack hollers, "All right you guys, knock it off as its damn near whistle time". (We call him Belly River on account of the ungodly amount of beer he can drink).

So we go in the boom shack, get on our "henskins" (oxfords) hand up our cork shoes to dry out, and I take off for home which is a tarpaper shack on the edge of the Bay. I no more than set foot on dry land than I hear an odd humming noise similar to a big dynamo, and something lands right ahead of me that looks like it might be a flying baloney wagon! Out of this contraption steps a guy I will call Oscar and it has three arms, three legs, and what looks like a light bulb screwed into the top of his damned head.

Old Oscar says, "Hold up a minute stupid, as I want a word with you".

Naturally I was scairt, so I held up. First thing I could think of was to ask, "where in hell did YOU come from?"

"From up near Sagittarius" he says.

"Is that down on the Harbor?" I asks him.

"NO STUPID," he hollers, "It's away up in space, and what's more, I'LL ask the questions."

"OK," I says, "Shoot--I mean go ahead and ask."

"First off", he says, "Just what IS this American Standard of living? Hells Bell's we even hear you roaring about it away up in space."

"Well," I says, "it's the way us Americans LIVE down here, that's what it is."

"All right," he says pointing one of his arms at my place, "Who lives in that crummy looking little shack over there?"

"That's MY sh--I mean house," I hollers at him.

"All right, but keep your voice down stupid. Now, who lives in that big swell house up the road; a piece with the iron deer on the lawn, big cars in the garage, and servants all over the place?"

"That's where old Skipsum lives, and he owns this big mill, the town, and just about everything in sight, on account of he is a big hog."

"Well," says old Oscar, "You are both Americans, I presume. So which one of you HAS this American standard of living, you, or this Mr. Skipsum?"

I must have hesitated too long, so Oscar steps in his flying baloney wagon and says:

"Well, so long stupid, see you in another thousand years or so and you should have the answer by that time maybe." Then he slams the door and takes off like a cat shot in the rear end with a boot jack. Well, that's my contribution to science fiction today.