September 4, 2016
Let me tell you tales of labor of high adventure. Or, maybe not. I mean, you’ve got your Labors of Hercules. But let’s face it, those weren’t so much lunch pail jobs as they were quests. And Hercules was hardly a blue collar fellow.
There is Sam. Samwise Gamgee, that is. He provides, probably, the quintessential exemplar of the working class hero. A gardener on a heroic quest. A participant at least. The only of the Fellowship with a job. The rest of the Fellowship consisted of aristocrats or demigods. Good work, if you can get it.
Garrett, P.I. is self-employed. In fact, he’s employed as little as possible, preferring to loaf rather than labor. And now that he’s got people on his payroll, he is management, not labor. The boss.
Neither Conan, Fafhrd, or the Gray Mouser ever worked a steady job if they could help it. Why would we want them to? Those of us bringing home a paycheck who also read heroic fiction do so to forget about the job for awhile. We don’t want to read about Conan’s day at the office, or the Gray Mouser’s panel van breaking down along his route. We want to read about them breaking heads in a tavern brawl.
Look, there is nobility in work, in doing your job well and taking care of your family financially. But it isn’t the stuff of legend. I understand there is a market for business novels in Japan. Good for them, but I can’t say it sparks my interest. No, when I get home from work I’d rather open a book to swashbuckling adventure, not to salary negotiation and the copier malfunctioning again.
So happy Labor Day, all. Have a cold one, toss a dog on the grill, and read a tale of high adventure.