A Moral: Going to Work in Tall Buildings (j. hartford)

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Someday my baby, when I am a man,
and others have taught me
the best that they can
they’ll sell me a suit
they’ll cut off my hair
and send me to work in tall buildings

So it’s goodbye to the sunshine
goodbye to the dew
goodbye to the flowers
and goodbye to you
I’m off to the subway
I must not be late
I’m going to work in tall buildings

When I’m retired
My life is my own
I made all the payments
it’s time to go home
and wonder what happened
betwixt and between
when I went to work in tall buildings

So it’s goodbye to the sunshine
goodbye to the dew
goodbye to the flowers
and goodbye to you
I’m off to the subway
I must not be late
I’m going to work in tall buildings

————————————————————–

“The cost of a thing is the amount of what I call life which is required to be exchanged for it, immediately or in the long run.”   Thoreau

 

15 responses to “A Moral: Going to Work in Tall Buildings (j. hartford)

  1. Thanks for the fun in this… Mr. Hartford is a national treasure and always a joy to listen and learn from. He is missed. Thanks for the memories.

  2. An absolute treasure, yes. I saw one of his last shows. In CO. He was very sick and he greeted fans from inside a car with windows up. He would place his hand on the window glass from the inside, we fans would place our hands against his from the outside. Completely amazing moment when I touched John Hartford’s hand through the glass.

  3. I want to stay home.
    If you put lyrics like that with lyrics like these above with “Brother, Can You Spare a Dime,” (1931)
    You pretty much got all your bases covered. The lyrics you posted are for those of us who are aware of the travesty as it is happening. The others are for those who come to the understanding after. Sort of a sad way to start this day, but I will not be deterred form high and sunny thoughts. I’ve got chickens in the mail and I shot a beaver last night. Peace be with you and don’t let them cut your hair…

  4. I didn’t think I could get any happier today, what with planting peas and remembering Hartford, but here Eumaeus shows up and have no doubt my happiness spiked. Home boys, us. Been there, done that, staying home. Peas in the hand, the ground, chickens in the mail. hair getting a touch long

    via eumaeus’ wise suggestion

    They used to tell me I was building a dream
    And so I followed the mob
    When there was earth to plow or guns to bear
    I was always there, right on the job

    They used to tell me I was building a dream
    With peace and glory ahead
    Why should I be standing in line
    Just waiting for bread?

    Once I built a railroad, I made it run
    Made it race against time
    Once I built a railroad, now it’s done
    Brother, can you spare a dime?

    Once I built a tower up to the sun
    Brick and rivet and lime
    Once I built a tower, now it’s done
    Brother, can you spare a dime?

    Once in khaki suits, gee, we looked swell
    Full of that Yankee Doodly Dum
    Half a million boots went slogging through Hell
    And I was the kid with the drum

    Say, don’t you remember? They called me ‘Al’
    It was ‘Al’ all the time
    Why don’t you remember? I’m your pal
    Say buddy, can you spare a dime?

    Once in khaki suits, ah, gee, we looked swell
    Full of that Yankee Doodly Dum
    Half a million boots went slogging through Hell
    And I was the kid with the drum

    Oh, say, don’t you remember? They called me ‘Al’
    It was ‘Al’ all the time
    Say, don’t you remember? I’m your pal
    Buddy, can you spare a dime?

    Songwriters
    GORNEY, JAY / HARBURG, E. Y.

  5. You guys are so amazing! P.S. I worked in tall buildings for a very short while but it gave me the willies. My stupid imagination was so vivid that I couldn’t stop thinking about all those people walking around below me and above me. Then I looked out the window and saw the buildings disappear in my mind and all these people were walking around in the air for 50 stories up. I couldn’t take it. It was all so unnatural. So I quit and vowed never to work in a building more than 2 stories tall. And I kept my vow. Better is death in one’s own dharma than that of another’s O Arjuna. Love you guys. So good. – Renee

  6. Awesome. This sentiment reminds me of something that woodworker Eric Hollenbeck said in the short documentary The Ox, which is about him and the woodworking shop/school, Blue Ox Mill, he runs in Eureka, CA. He said:

    “In the whole world there are only two kinds of jobs. There is a job where you take a shower in the morning before you go to work, and there is a job where you take a shower when you get home at night. And the world needs both of these”.

    I’m at a point in my life where I want to be in the second camp. That’s all there is to it. I think you’d like the film a lot. It’s only 10 minutes, but it’s very good. http://vimeo.com/78788086

  7. Hello Grackle. I watched The Ox on Vimeo about 8 months ago. Yes, it’s very good. Here’s another excellent video of like spirit:

    http://farmrun.com/portfolio/ryan-foxley

    Thanks Grackle.

  8. Tres Jolie, I’m happy to hear that you’re well grounded these days. Earth first, for sure. thank you

  9. (music / singing) brings tears to my eyes. Hope it is Ok that I referenced this blog on MyRetirement dot Org.

  10. a okay on this side. here’s what you do: you gather all your friends and come over here and watch the Hartford video (2 minutes) i sent along. it’s all music/singing

  11. I worked in a tall building nearly every day for well over 20 years. Eventually they even gave me a corner office overlooking the bay. Sometimes on weekends I’d watch the rowers on the river as I paced and dictated, drinking coffee to keep my nerves frayed. On Thursdays at sunset there was always a regatta. I saw it every week from my office. I was too productive to waste billable hours on something like sailing of course.

    Often visitors would say I had a great view. I knew the reality. I had a cell with a view.

  12. Fantastic commentary, Bill. A soul message. The dark side of American success. excellent writing, too. thanks

  13. Beautiful sentiment in those lyrics. I can relate to being stuck in the tall buildings (for now), and being all too aware of what I’m losing in life because of it.

    Looking forward to the day I can afford my own land, and to live life the good way – dirty hands and giving back to the earth every day.

  14. Caitlin. Here’s to dirty hands and clean hearts.

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