Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Nancy Died Yesterday

Not a Nancy that anyone reading this, except a few colleagues at UF, is likely to know. Nancy was in charge of the copy center hear at UF -- more specifically she was "the" copy center.

She was the one who had to deal with every irresponsible faculty member wanting 75 copies of a 5 page exam a hour before the exam was to be given. Or, everyone who could not understand why it might not be legal to photocopy a book or most of one.

The main thing about Nancy, though, is that she was reminder of the privileged status of others. I did not know her well, although we intereacted almost daily. You knew she was a person with no safety net, no middle class or rich mom or dad to help her out when her husband was out of work which was not uncommon. Her teeth were a mess owing to years of neglect resulting from being on the edge economically. So many other signs that she struggled physically and financially.

When I saw her I saw what could have been my mother had life's randomness not intervened. Working all day for not very much and seeing the rest of us all comfy in our nice houses and cars and working far less hard. She reminds me of every working class person from the State and their sons and daughters who will have very difficult time achieving what others achieve with far less effort.

When a working class person dies who seemed to always stuggle and had no real security and an inadequate amount of what law professors take for granted, I think of my favorite poem, The Village Blacksmith.

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