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  • Hard work is for fools. I truly believe this.

    That's why, two summers ago, I summarily quit my job at Hardin plumbing, gave my cat to the neighbor and moved into a squatty house on Austin's East Side.

    Now, I'll acknowledge that moving into a largely Mexican neighborhood and a house with more mice than Nimb is, in itself, work; but it is not HARD work. Difficult, yes--but not hard. I don't have to clean other people people's shit from clogged traps or lug rusty pipes around the 9th Ward while car loads of aimless kids call me names. Fixing a sloped porch (that I intend to utilize for daily napping services) and eating stale tortillas (that will one day translate into great Mexican food) feel more like challenges than work. Challenges, I can dig. I get better and better as more of them fall behind me.

    My grandfather was a rancher. He worked hard. His hands were bent and scaled with mounds of worn and punctured skin. But he never shook with stress or yelled at a waitress. I spent almost every waking minute with him from 1978-1982 and he never--not once, blinked like a maniac when he saw traffic up the road or called my Grandmother a nasty name. This was because he knew the difference between working hard and hard work. In between feeding hungry animals and towing horses out of the mud he sat under an olive tree and drank hot tea while humming Charlie Pride songs.

    My grandfather also hated booze and boozers. My grandfather wouldn't be particularly proud of me taking up the curse with such relish. He could be a silly man who said silly things. He couldn't read or sign his name properly. He was a great man who wasn't great at very many things.

    Maybe he found school to be hard work.
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