a touchy subjectTheir eyes glimmer with urgency. They aren’t as lucky or blessed to be born into a cushy life. Their life is harsh. Reality to them is much different from it is to most of us.

As a kid we’d hang out on the dock of the marina to see the scads of carp swimming around and under the slimy docks. On occasion to have a precious snack, we’d tear off a sliver off of it to drop into the murky water and watch the fish swarm for provision – the biggest one usually ended up getting his way and the modest prize.

I think of those carp from so many seasons past when I see the men swarm the trucks in hope of work. Like the fish, they’re desperate. The truth is they’re real life desperadoes. The don’t sport sombreros or pistoleros, but they’ve broken the law to be here and that makes this a touchy subject. Kinda like the hot potato not many folks want a turn at and if they get one they want to make it as brief as possible.

Living in the southwest I know this dilemma first-hand. I personally know men who have made the illegal trek through a punishing Arizona/Mexican desert, run out of water and came whisker close to death trying to make a better life for themselves and their family.

I’ve often wondered what I would do if faced with living in abject poverty and intense violence, knowing the land of milk and honey was a three or four-day walk through hell on earth. Would I risk getting caught? Maybe prison or death to have a life worth living? I come up with the same answer every time; a resounding yes. I don’t think I’d hesitate for two seconds. I’d do and risk it all to have a chance to have my family live a lifestyle we’ve all come to take for granted.

As I watch the desperadoes swarm the potential hard labor opportunities, it becomes blatantly clear that these men don’t have a plan “B” – there is no back up plan, “just in case.” They’re lining up to work – not lining up for a handout! They’ll do whatever they have to in order to care for their loved ones.

That doesn’t seem so “alien” to me – that seems like an attitude that once described the people who made up this God-fearing nation. I have to say those folks willing to work hard to make their own way have my respect. I know some “good” American folks that only want to stand in line for a handout, not a job…

Interestingly enough, just a few miles from the mega do it yourself box store that I’d just left, I ran into a kid that looked like he could be one of my relatives… from the good-looking side of the family that is… He was in fine shape, in his early twenties, and he held up a sign at the stop light before the underpass.

Mr. GQ’s sign read, “Got a great spirit for adventure and ran out of money along the way – anything is appreciated!” I just stared at him till his Hollywood smile melted. While I appreciate the kid’s honesty… I have more in common with the desperadoes…