$15 Heroes

It isn’t easy coming of age in the modern era. Young Millenials begin their adult lives by indenturing themselves for important-sounding degrees, like a dual Bachelors in Art History & Creative Writing, specializing in the Swedish Renaissance Era, with emphasis on early feminists. This is much more tricky than it sounds. Imagine translating Shakespearean English into the equivalent-era Swedish and account for the fact that “feminists” were called “women” and you begin to see the challenge.

I had to look all that up online before making it up. Such a degree holder (and I’ve no doubt there’s someone, somewhere) would not have to take that step. I must admit that I learned something. Renaissance-era Swedish Art is riveting, world-changing stuff, and the degree is worth every penny of the $30,000 debt, on average, the student will accrue in pursuing it.

A degree such as this would qualify the holder to collect and preserve ancient works for a new breed of Swedish people that might not otherwise find it worth saving. They should be able to write for a variety of publications. If all else fails, they will be a great conversationalist as bartenders or baristas. Finally, as a fallback plan, they could interact with Scandinavian-manufactured robots at fast food restaurants to deliver nourishment to hungry patrons.

Regardless of employment, the newly-minted worker will have a human or human-like person who will be their boss. In order to be helpful and give advice for the most-likely kind of employment Art Historian degree-holders will attain, we’ll be focusing on the latter option.

Your boss is most likely to be a veteran who has risen up through the ranks in the cutthroat world of fry-slinging. They will be skilled at punching buttons that operate the fast-food robots, sloughing off bathroom-cleaning duties, and ordering hapless new college graduates who didn’t get their first choice of career to empty the cans of overflowing trash into the industrial-sized bins in the alley out back.

The good news is that, unlike the poor slobs graduating before 2010, your boss is likely to be a fellow college graduate. In practical terms, it means they’ll be telling you to check your privilege before scrubbing the grease out of the traps at the end of your shift.

Always listen to your boss! If they like you (and sharing renaissance art tips and holding your tongue when assigned lavatory scrubbing duty will surely help), they might share valuable tricks they learned the hard way. This will help you manipulate the next generation of condiment concierges who arrive the week after you start. If you find yourself stuck with disgusting tasks two weeks in a row, rest assured that your boss hates you.

This kind of work might not sound very glamorous, but don’t despair. Like David the humble shepherd, you’ll get your chance at greatness. One night, your restaurant will receive a panicked phone call. The caller will claim to be an alarmed technician at the gas company. He will inform you that gas is leaking into the restaurant at the rate of 12.7 kiloliters per minute and unless you follow his instructions precisely the restaurant will explode in forty-eight seconds, or possibly twenty-nine, if the gas hits the deep fryer before reaching stochiometric equilibrium.

To avert the catastrophe, you and your fellow employees must break every window in the establishment. Use whatever is necessary to do this. Chairs. Garbage cans. Robots. One enterprising worker even drove his car through the front doors to avert disaster.

I think the insurance company is still laughing about that one, actually.

Nobody expects an Art History/Creative Writing BS holder with an emphasis on Swedish Renaissance Era feminists to understand the math, call the fire department, or check with the gas company. They expect you to blindly follow directions and save lives, just like you were taught in college. I expect no more from you, either.

After all, as an unpaid humorist I might be caught in the explosion while raiding your garbage cans for leftovers. Who knows? The life I’ve saved with this post might be my own.

Fast-acting heroes go unsung every day, and that is why they are worth more than the $15 an hour a lot of politicians are proposing for a minimum wage. Paramedics, fire fighters, and police officers make a much higher hourly rate, and since you are all bravely saving lives it just seems like the pay should be commensurate with that. I don’t know what that is, but $7.50 didn’t do it, $10 didn’t do it, and I doubt $15 will do it either. I’m thinking it will work if your hourly wage is raised to $50 an hour, or maybe $60.

Not everybody with an advanced college degree will be employable in the fast food industry and the eventual $145 minimum wage. To find out if you will make it or if you will need to mentally prepare for something more degrading, such as cartooning, take the chalk test. Do political messages written on your campus sidewalks in chalk make you feel unsafe? If so, you’ll never survive the political messages awaiting you when you have to clean stall #2.

Cartooning it will be, then. Sorry about that.

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