Where do I start?
The US, the home of capitalism is falling apart it seems. All my suspicions over what an abhorrent and dangerous man Donald Trump is had now been confirmed, yet he has a strong following … willing to storm the Capitol with an intent to harm others and “take our country back”. Idiots.
In the UK our government are equally detestable, but just divert money to their friends and enjoy starving the poor, particularly children and not paying nurses and other key workers anywhere near enough. Whilst the daily reading public scream about extreme left and their soft socialist visions.
Anyway… My cousin is apparently looking at our family history and called my Dad to inform him about his findings…
My great grandfather worked as a shotfirer in the coal mines. He was killed when 2 shots failed to fire and when he inspected them they detonated. His was wife, my great grandmother had a breakdown and went into an asylum never to come out. My grandfather was about 6 months old at the time. Basically orphaned.
I am not sure who raised him, however when he was older my grandfather too worked as a shotfirer in the mines. However when my dad announced he was going “down the pit” he was most upset, in the knowledge that it was a dangerous place to work. My Dad obviously took no notice and did it anyway.
My Dad then went on to see an average of one death a year for the 9 years he was down there. He talks about it on rare occasions and it clearly had a massive impact on him. One of the few times I have ever seen him upset is when talking about the bad memories he has of that time.
You may ask WTF this has to do with motorbikes etc. Well in this crazy world where we are bombarded with all manner of things and the stresses of the modern world get all too much, I personally yearn to get on my bike to switch of from theses thoughts. Yet currently, weather and covid have limited how much I can ride. My cravings are getting strong.
So, if coping with my life stresses is so difficult how the hell did coal miners cope with the daily threat of death?
My grandfather was probably 5’5″ and about 9 stone. Yet he would drink his own body weight in ale regularly and fight men twice his size if they upset him whilst doing so. His nickname, Wacker, was very apt.
My Dad, not a big drinker in comparison, but did have temper his youth.
So drinking, fighting and general raging was their way to cope with the stress maybe (although many miners were different I am sure), rather than sitting on a lump of metal capable of twice the legal speed limit with a tank of fuel between your legs.
I think the point I trying to make is modern life and inescapable capitalism is crap. We are busy, stressed and unhappy. Yet we are extremely well protected from the risks of old, with a standard of living that would have made us look like royalty compared to say my grandfather.
Regardless of how crap modern life is at times however, I believe it is healthy to remind ourselves of what previous generations had to endure and be grateful that we are not at risk of death whilst filling the printer with paper.