body for sale

image courtesy of

I spotted the portable bathrooms first, well they aren’t really bathrooms, just portable toilets… Progress I’d say. I knew they couldn’t be too far away. My eyes scanned the field looking for them, I glanced back to the temperature gauge; 102 degrees and still fairly early in the morning. My air conditioner in my truck was set at 60 degrees.

The area we were driving through as quickly as possible was just below sea level in the middle of the desert, which means taxing humid conditions. The sun, heat, and humidity make for sensational vegetation growth in the low fertile valleys… but not exactly great conditions for humans…

After about a half a mile, I spotted them, “Look – over there,” I pointed for my wife to see what I’d been searching for. She looked curiously at the subject without comment. “They’re earning their money today,” I said in a sympathetic tone.

They were seasonal fruit pickers. It looked like they were picking cantaloupe or watermelon. There were about ten or twelve of them walking behind a tractor pulling a long, low metal trough. It was about two feet off the ground for a quick loading of the fruit.

Those type of jobs pay by the amount of production, number of melons in other words, and typically eight hours is only about two-thirds of the work day. “Can you imagine bending over, working all day long in these conditions?” I asked my wife as I strained sideways to watch them as we passed. I know a little bit of what that’s like, but it’s been a long time… Makes my back ache just thinking about it.

Those people are overusing parts of their body… I know for sure that anything done like that for any significant time will catch up with a person. They’re selling a piece of their body for wages, sweat money, money earned the hard way. Those common people have common lives…they’re more than just a body for sale… My guess is they probably have children and are brokering out their physical ability and endurance to feed and shelter their family.

Regardless of political persuasion, I believe a thinking person should admire a person who does what it takes to care for their family. I know what those worker’s backs will feel like tonight… and tomorrow at 4:00 am when they get up to do it all again… I respect those people. I think a hard day’s work is a thing of honor… An honor that is slowly disappearing from our society.

My hunch is that the common people’s children will have a better shot at a good and balanced life. Work is a gift, and pride in work is one of the best gifts we could ever give our children.. I’m becoming even more convinced that the best thing we can ever give our children…

Are the things we don’t…