Coal

He who spends his days removing mountains and dropping them into streams is a man of few words. Some are numbers: wages, mortgage, boat, a daughter’s tuition. Some are names, like “Bob,” which he must speed-dial if he’s ever “approached” by people who mean no good, who want to ask questions. Beyond these is “the company,” strong and wise; not a friend, more than a friend. A mass of terms – little mysteries of working a big machine – fills his mind and pride. But anyone would know what having one of those is like. Anyone employed. Around all his words is the big word “job,” like a wire fence. And if a man should cross it and elude the guards and wave, say, a bottle of black water, an x-ray or a bag of dust at him, the remover of mountains will think, He looks like someone, could be me. Which doesn’t matter because he isn’t. — Frederick Pollack

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