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5 Characters Who Embody the Spirit of Labor Day
The Hard Working Man Gets Some Respect
By Joe Oesterle
September 05, 2009
5 Characters Who Embody the Spirit of Labor Day
© Bob Trate
Yeah, yeah, yeah…. You're all overworked. Except for the ten percent of you who are unemployed thanks to this crazy economy, but you're probably thinking you're working too hard just to get a job in which you'll eventually feel you'll be working too hard.Well suck it up you whiney babies. It's Labor Day weekend. You're going to go out, get loaded and for 3 glorious days, you don't have a boss; Unless you're married, or in a relationship, or work weekends.
Anyway, you've got nothing on the following working stiffs, so sit back, relax, and enjoy the fact that you're not them, and most importantly, you don't have their bosses.
5. Jimmy Olsen
When it comes to working as a photographer for gruff major metropolitan newspaper editors, there are really only two choices - Jimmy Olsen and Peter Parker. Now granted, Parker’s boss is a way bigger jerk, but ol’ Triple J does have to contend with the fact that ol’ Double P, while a talented shutterbug, isn’t always the most reliable staff member.
Jimmy Olsen meanwhile, aside from calling out a few sick days back in the Silver Age with a bad case of turning into a giant turtle, has been a model employee. Olsen is there at the crack of dawn, fetching coffee for his superiors, and calling everyone Miss This, or Mr. That. And talk about adhering to a dress code… The guy still breaks out the bow tie once in a while.
Olsen has thrown himself in harm’s way time after time to get the perfect picture, and what does he get for his effort? A ball-busting Perry White, who obviously can’t find flaws with Olsen’s work habits, but is so compelled to crap on his underlings he gives Jimmy shit for calling him “Chief.” Seriously, what the hell is so wrong with calling someone “Chief?”
4. Admiral Firmus Piett
Bosses can be difficult to deal with at times. Some bosses make you work late, some require their people go to the office on weekends, and some supervisors don’t care if you miss your kid’s school plays, but Admiral Firmus Piett easily has one of the biggest A-hole supervisors in the entire galaxy far, far away. Choking your subordinates? Really? Has Darth Vader never even heard of the Human Resource Department?
Sure, Piett is a sneaky-looking little punk who got promoted up the ranks by shifting blame rather than an actual nose-to-the-grindstone work ethic, but his home sector was the safest in the Outer Rim, and the big wigs at the Imperial Center notice that kind of track record.
So along with having to wear a stupid Communist-looking floppy baseball hat and pinning on a badge of primary-colored Chiclets Chewing Gum on his chest, he has to worry about not screwing up so his boss won’t strangle the shit out of him.
Hey it could be worse, remember what happened to that Kendal Ozzel guy before him.
3. Montgomery Scott, a.k.a. Scotty
Now maybe Scotty’s boss isn’t nearly the outer space douche that Darth Vader is, but Captain James T. Kirk can certainly be unreasonable at times. When his boss demands he not only fix the transporter, but he needs to fix now, without the proper tools, and while the Enterprise is being ripped apart by photon torpedoes – courtesy of the Klingons, does Montgomery Scott complain? You bet your sweet tea he does, and he does so in a terrible, but lovable Scottish brogue.
This “old Aberdeen pub-crawler” has successfully removed his captain’s fat from the fire on too many occasions to recall, but it’s always Handsome Jimmy who gets credit for saving the day.
What else can you say about a man who, for 52 years of his existence admirably and bravely served the Starfleet, even at the expense of his own love life?
And when he was in his early 70s, and three months shy of retiring and sailing the globe in an old fashioned boat, this guy was coaxed out of retirement by his charismatic captain, and helped save the El-Aurian refugees.
To chief engineer Montgomery Scott: He’s always given ‘er everything he’s got.
Yeah we’re going all the way back to ancient Greece to honor this dedicated working stiff, so don’t shrug it off. Ha! You see what we did there. Atlas… shrugging… ah… we love a good Ayn Rand joke around here.
Zeus might have been the biggest ball-busting blue-collar boss in history. He didn’t give vacations, (in his defense Christmas hadn’t been invented yet) no overtime pay and scholars all agree that the Mount Olympus dental plan sucked bad.
But Atlas wasn’t exactly a boy genius whose ascent to the corporate fast track got derailed by a tyrant of a boss. Maybe this was the only job in his skill set.
After eons of back-breaking work, supporting the entire weight of the world for eons, (or actually the heavens if you know your Greek mythology) Atlas gets a vacation to go apple-picking in the countryside provided Heracles fills in for the over-worked Titan.
Now Atlas thinks he’s found a stooge to do his heavy lifting, but what does he do? He comes back with a basket of golden apples and gets duped by Heracles. Here’s what you don’t do if you’re a god, and you’re sick of preventing Gaia from ever intersecting with Ouranos… You don’t put the heavens back on your back – even temporarily - so Heracles can poof his shirt up a bit for more shoulder padding. ‘Cause you know what Heracles will do? Steal your freaking apples and run the hell away leaving you to hold the proverbial bag again. That’s what Heracles will do.
1. Alfred Pennyworth
When does this guy get a chance to sleep? During regular work hours, while Bruce Wayne is laying in his expensive comfy bed, resting from a night of either inhaling too much fear toxin, getting the crud kicked out of him in the sewers by a crocodile-man, or just dry-humping Catwoman on the top of some sky-scraping gargoyle, Alfred is busy cleaning a huge mansion. By himself. A freaking 20 bedroom mansion! By himself! Mopping, sweeping, dusting, vacuuming, and washing windows. By himself!
Oh yeah, and then there’s a mansion-sized cave, located directly under the mansion that needs cleaning too. And that place has bat crap all over the computers. Every day. Do you know how hard it is to get bat crap out of a computer?
And guess what happens when Bruce wakes up at 11 PM and wants to play super hero? Alfred has to give him his freaking sandwich, monitor the now crapless Bat computer, in case his boss needs him to Google something while he’s tooling around in his billion-dollar Bat car, and when Master Bruce comes home all banged up and bleeding, Alfred is expected to repair major arteries, and remove bullets from vital organs.
All we’re saying is the guy better have a pretty sweet pension plan, but he’ll probably die of exhaustion before he ever gets to use it. Crime doesn’t take a holiday, and neither does Alfred Pennyworth.
Joe Oesterle is an award-winning writer and illustrator, but what he often fails to mention is that many of those awards were won on a New Jersey boardwalk. Pick up his latest books "Weird California" and "Weird Las Vegas" in any Barnes and Noble near you, and look for his next book, "Weird Hollywood," due out soon. www.JoeArtistWriter.com And be sure to check out his weekly animated rant: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hzAbmHZfGNc