Forget to get the eaves.

Forgot to get the eaves.

Yesterday, I was painting the eaves of my house, and it brought back memories of my youth when I was an aspiring Eagle Scout, doing my Eagle Scout project. For some crazy reason, my brother and I decided to work together on a three building painting project at our county fair. An old train station, a church, and a school that were considering historical buildings were in need of a serious paint job. So we decided to come to the rescue and paint it. The fairgrounds supervisor named Dick did us the fine favor of scraping the paint off, then allowed us to use oil based primer to paint all three buildings, which would only come off with gasoline, then paint them with actual paint one more time.

It took us a month of oil, sweat, paint tears, and unwilling volunteers, but we finally finished. To this day, if you quote Dick’s famous line, “Don’t forget the eaves!” my brother, mother or me will go on a bitter tirade about the whole project. I did finally end up getting my Eagle, but my brother did not, because the idea of a combined project was rejected. I don’t think my brother would mind me telling you that this decision is what caused him to bitterly quit the Scouts.

A few years later, I decided to visit the fairgrounds again and saw that the buildings were once again in ill repair. I realized that for all the hard work paint is, it barely recognizes all the hard work you put into it. In fact, just like yesterday, when I was painting, I could barely tell the difference between the old paint and the new paint. And heaven forbid, if anyone came over would they even realize that the work we did was something new or the same paint job we did 15 years ago.

Then I started realizing that recognition for hard work is pretty rare in all aspects of your life. Do you remember all the hard work you did on a project at work? And how much recognition you got from it? Do you remember getting paid any more? Getting an award for your overtime? Having the boss say thanks? Just like the paint barely recognizes your hard work, I bet at your yearly review, the boss didn’t remember that you were the only person during the two snowstorm days, taking care of EVERY others person job that day, because the rest of them couldn’t make it in. They probably remembered the one time you screwed up (or in my case all the times).

When trees attack.

When trees attack.

Just like all that work you put into your tree. Digging up some soil, planting that tree, watering it, avoiding mowing it over those seven times, and all it gave you was that terrible rotten fruit and the shade that always covered the other side of where you needed it. So you went to all the work to chop it down, and the wood you were going to use from it was wet so you couldn’t use it and the reams of paper were for your first draft, so those just got recycled.

Or all that work you put into that food you ate that one time. You got in your car, you turned it on, you let the engine rev a little, you turned on your air conditioning because it was hot, realized that you didn’t have air conditioning, put the car in reverse, backed up a little, turned the wheel, punched in the clutch, moved into first gear, then second, third, then downshifted to second again, when you got to the stop sign at the end of your street. See where I’m going with this? Then you went all the way to McDonald’s, got some McDouble’s ย and some McChicken’s and some McFries and some McOrange drinks and gave them the last of the money in your McWallet, and got home and everyone just scarfs it right McDown their McThroats. Minutes later, the kids are in your fridge looking for something to eat because they are still hungry.

All that hard work for nothing.

All that hard work for nothing.

All that hard work for NOTHING. It could go on and on about all the hard work things I do everyday. I awake and get out of my bed. I comb all those hairs and all they do is keep moving from my head to other places that don’t need hair. I drive my car places and they keep complaining about needing more gas. I eat things to make my stomach shut up and moments later they complain cause I gave it too much. ย I type things and they keep yelling at me with it’s red squiggly lines. I give someone a credit and they just keep asking for more.

But when I lazily sit around on a couch, does that couch ask anything of me? Nope, it just says, “Keep laying down. Lay down forever if you want. I love having you here.” Does it praise me and recognize me? Absolutely. Anytime I leave, it leaves an honorary indentation in the cushions for me. It lets me rest my weary back. It tells me to never leave or get up. It wants me to stay and rewards me for doing so. It says, “Get those feet off the ground. Don’t worry about all those crumbs, we’ll just put those underneath my cushions, heck we’ll even save some quarters and nickels for you later when you run out of money. We want you here. We need you here. Unlike that paint that takes everything from you and gives you nothing.”


Bitter Hard Work Averse Ben


27 thoughts on “Bitterecognition

  1. You reminded me of my grandmother. Every she and spring she washed the screens for her windows and doors. We could never figure out how they could get dirty waiting for spring. (She also washed all the walls every spring.)


  2. Painters can be pretty sensitive folk–my neighbor painted the walls in his apartment, asked me to come down and have a look. I saw nothing. Then he pointed out the painted area, compared to the unpainted area. (the new paint color was a near-match for the old) I saw nothing. However, seeing his face so forlorn, hearing the anguish in his voice–I took the cue and came up with sufficient (faked) enthusiasm, and a more or less honest explanation that my failing eyesight caused a delay in appreciating the obvious and lovely improvement. Have a good one, Ben! ๐Ÿ™‚


  3. Based on my (one-time) experience working with oil-based paint primer, I have to argue that it does give you one thing in return. No matter how many windows are open and fans are on, that stuff will give you one nasty headache and keep you coughing for days. ๐Ÿ™„


  4. I made it to Tenderfoot, in the Boy Scouts. And then I found a soft couch for my tender back, and quit the scouts. Thank God! I can’t imagine having to paint a whole entire building. I feel sorry for Eagle Scouts, now.


    • So you started and never did anything. I think they basically hand you Tenderfoot as soon as you start Scouts. I don’t blame you though. Scouts was tough and a huge waste of time most of the time. I felt like I had to complete it as a show of solidarity to my brother who got jobbed. And also so I could put it on my resume, which by the way never works.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. You had me at “All that hard work for NOTHING. It could go on and on about all the hard work things I do everyday.” Personally, sick person that I am, I rather like painting — as it lasts, which is almost as good as a “thank you.” It’s cleaning and doing laundry and even blogging that seems so ungrateful. You slave away (or at least I do because I don’t have a couch coaxing me to its cushions, probably because I carry a purse and so don’t have coinage flowing from my pockets), and the work is undone almost immediately, if not before. Having said that, I admit that paint and pain are directly related; I can just tolerate pain if the results last longer than a day.


    • It really does seem like all this work that you do just kind of goes unappreciated. Think about a thanksgiving dinner. Hours and hours are spent on the preparations, and it is eaten in 20 minutes and the kids are back on their phones. Ugggh.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Don’t get me started on Thanksgiving dinner! Suffice it to say that I say I’m quitting every year, that THAT is the last Thanksgiving meal I will EVER prepare, that if I do CHOOSE to make a Thanksgiving meal again it will be king crab legs and broccoli with lots of melted butter. (Doesn’t that sound good?) And maybe a pumpkin pie.


        • I already got you started on the Thanksgiving dinner. All I know, is I don’t care if the meal is big, because I don’t usually help. I tell me wife we can go to KFC if she wants. In fact, one year we went to a steak house and it was just fine with me.

          Liked by 1 person

        • You are making me bitter. One year my husband made fun of me because I couldn’t figure out which side of the turkey was the breast and ended up cooking the bird upside down. “You stewed it,” he said. I hid in the bathroom for a good cry while he carved it. Then when we ate it, he and everyone else declared it to be the juiciest turkey they’d ever had and said I should cook it upside down every year. But, of course, I have difficulty determining which side is the breast and so…


        • I love when the turkey is juicy. Good thing something bitter came out of it for you though. A good cry in the bathroom. Now you have something to hold over your husband’s head whenever he needs a little humbling.

          Liked by 1 person

  6. Dusting. That’s unfriendly work. Cleaning in general: it’s nice for a minute, then your niece and nephew come over with their sticky fingers… -_-


  7. I didn’t know you could paint a building while lying on a couch!
    Also, I wonder if leaving out the T in paint was done on purpose:
    An old train station, a church, and a school that were considering historical buildings were in need of a serious pain job.


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