Another Day Older and….

     We have seen in this space many postcards reminding you of the value of a good day’s work.  The virtues of elbow grease in keeping one’s nose to the grindstone, or something like that, was extolled in card after card.  AND we have seen cards which complained about tough bosses, long hours, short vacations, and the annoyance of having to work at all.  In either case, it was clear that the postcard artists knew we were out there sweating for our daily bread.

     So naturally, the poor working stiff was accorded great respect, right?  Ho ho.

     See, the cartoonists followed the lead of comedians past, who knew that most of the people we bumped into on a daily basis, and who bumped into us, elbowed us on the streetcar, pushed ahead of us in line, or actually SOLD us our daily bread were working stiffs like the rest of us.  So they reckoned that we would buy postcards slamming our fellow citizens.

     Those people who worked all day long selling us things were obviously cheating us (or we’d have more money left after the deal was complete.)  Sometimes they used tools to accomplish their cheats.

     And sometimes they managed on sheer nerve.

     On other occasions, it wasn’t so much the prices they charged as their general attitude toward perfectly respectable customers like us.

     Some professions just naturally attracted complaint.  Jokes about barbers and their personalities go back at least eighteen hundred years.  (Here’s a joke from a Latin classic: “How would you like your hair cut today, sir?”  “In silence.”)

     Women who worked were always being subjected to accusations that they got their jobs on looks alone.  Counter clerks in stores were always getting that sort of gag.

     And, of course, waitresses.  (Another golden oldie, going back at least to Victorian comics, “The barmaid shortchanged me again.  I doubt she can even count on her fingers.”  “No, but she can count on her figure.”)

     Mind you, men who worked in occupations where they waited on women could rely on jokes about their predatory leanings.  Shoe salesmen were always under suspicion.

     The same went for window washers.  (Cue George Formby’s number “When I’m Cleaning Windows”.)

     You’d think firefighters would be immune, but no, they had to take their lumps as well.

     As the old joke goes, “A man can serve sodas at a counter eight hours a day with a smile on his face, and yet to other people he’s still a jerk.”

     Postcards admitted that there was really only one sure way to get a compliment on the job you’d done.

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