May 22, 2013


The Loop > Magazine > Issue 2

By Stephen Hackett

Both of my grandfathers participated in World War II. One turned young men into fighter pilots, and the other worked as a military police officer, transporting enemy combatants across Europe.

After the war, one of them built houses across the South, equipping Baby Boomers with nurseries and yards to play in. My other grandfather became a truck driver, a job he would keep for decades until he retired.

While neither of them are alive today, I think about them often. What would they think about the world in which my children are growing up? Would they understand — or respect — what I do for a living?

When I think about the 20th century, I think of it as a time where real men and women made real things. Both of my grandfathers did things with their hands. They had back-breaking jobs.

In contrast, I sit behind a desk and make words appear on a screen by moving my fingers. The majority of what I make isn’t “real.” At least, not in the sense they would have used the word, probably.

When I retire, what will I have to show for it? Some hard drives full of photos and text documents? Short of printing out my website, it isn’t a tangible thing. That’s a relatively new phenomenon.

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