Middle Class Hero
Two distinctions: sweaty and dirty, or not?
I was 'paid' Working Class only occasionally, when at University studying full time for example, working four hours afterwards, five evenings a week for the Royal Mail, sorting parcels and loading them into articulated lorries in a rush to make flight and rail departures. During my 50 odd years in working life, unlike the Working Class, who worked max 8 hours a day, I, like most of the Middle Class, worked c:a 11-12 hours a day, usually missing most of the coffee breaks due to the urgent work load and total workforce performance responsibilities. And, unlike the Working Class too, I could never be absent sick on Cup Final Day, or at Granny’s funeral when an extra free day was needed. Each working day was not a new day from scratch either, as I was booked up for three months ahead, contracted to help fellow human beings who would commit suicide, or go berserk at home or in public, if any discontinuity of ongoing support extended more than a day or two. No, I often passed the Working Class resting their weary limbs after evenings of boozing, having an unscheduled chat or smoking pause in nooks and corners. Also, I had a professional responsibility to keep a minimum success rate at all times, where performance levels were observable and knowable. No skiving off for me!
I’m a pensioner like any other now, but I wish I could proudly boast that I had been Working Class, as it sounds more decent and honest, and hardworking. A day’s work for a day’s pay; putting Hovis bread on the table to feed five kids, and buy the missus a pretty frock to thank her for slaving at the stove and wash basin all day; earn a pint down the local, and a flutter on the horses; some baccy and some Rizlas. I could only boast coming home tired on the commuter train, watching the news, helping the kids with homework, helping prepare a light supper, taking the dog for a walk with the good wife, before crashing into bed to sleep until the wee, small hours, to then leave for the train at first light.
No, we can’t all be Working Class heroes, now that the steel works have been automated, and coal pits have closed to save the environment. Some of us have to work hard finding things to do now, and miss hearing the unemployed singing old union battle songs. It’s tough being an unsung Middle Class hero, in spite of studying and working hard all through the best years of your adult life.