Yes, that finger

Look for a moment at the middle finger of your dominant hand. It’s the longest one that’s used to express irritable dissatisfaction. Yesterday mariner accidentally cut the tip of this finger with a kitchen knife. The cut is skin deep but quite small, perhaps three sixteenths long. The cut complains loudly whenever it is touched which is often because it is at that very point in curvature that is the first point of contact when using the finger.

Did you know there is no bandaid designed for this part of the body? Even a little dot bandage needs to be carefully trimmed to avoid edges that cause the bandaid to come off when brushed against anything; in this region there are no parallel surfaces for wrapping. Mariner’s solution, because this finger is in constant use, was a doctored dot over several applications of NewSkin.

Mariner challenges the reader to use the hand without using the middle finger. There are thousands of circumstances where the reader will unconsciously lead the use of the hand with this finger. Can you make a fist? A fist is used to pour morning coffee and hold a handsaw. Try washing dishes, washing the hand without getting the bandage wet, polish the furniture, use a pencil, type on a keyboard, do a jigsaw puzzle, turn a page, unscrew a lid, reset a clock, eat a sandwich or clean yourself after using the toilet.

The other four fingers are more specialized in their use. The ring finger has only to wear a ring; the little finger is little so it can clean the ear; the thumb and forefinger are famous for manipulative grasping – a big deal in evolution – but they aren’t capable of pulling anything without the other fingers, especially the middle finger. Try holding a deck screw and use a hand drill at the same time. Try threading a needle. When your eye itches, which finger comes to the rescue?

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Mariner frequently promotes a list of things to be fixed if our society is to operate successfully. One item on the list is a return to unionism. This piece from AXIOS:

Big Tech rose to power and wealth largely union-free. But a wave of labor organizing is catching the giants at a vulnerable moment, when they’re being challenged by antitrust suits, hostile regulators and employee doubts, managing editor Scott Rosenberg writes.

A high-profile unionization campaign underway among Amazon warehouse workers in Bessemer, Ala., will culminate in a vote count on March 30 —the digital age’s most important labor vote.

A union effort among Google employees that began in January is taking an unconventional path — remaining a “minority union” for now, foregoing the possibility of collective bargaining but allowing the inclusion of contractors and even managers.

What we’re watching: There’s a split between conventional organizing pushes among blue-collar employees (wages, working conditions), and the animating concerns of white-collar employees (climate, diversity).

Our thought bubble: Unions are all about worker solidarity, and the two wings of tech labor would achieve a lot more if they worked together. But doing so would require breaking down a lot of barriers — social divides, and the industry’s ingrained ideology of individualism.”

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This tidbit from WIRED shows how scientific advancement is not a good thing without human-centric ethics – one of those moments when doing it because we can isn’t really a good thing (social media):

“When Erin and Justin decided to adopt a child at the beginning of 2016, they paid $25,000 to sign on with one of the largest, most reputable adoption agencies in the United States. They imagined an orderly process, facilitated by lawyers and social workers.

They didn’t foresee the internet trolls who would call them cunts and psychopaths. Nor did they imagine they’d be filing a police report, or pleading with Facebook to delete posts that called them human traffickers. They didn’t expect the internet to be involved in the process at all.”

As we watch a setting Sun become darkness, so too, we watch personal independence become amorphous.

 Ancient Mariner

2 thoughts on “Yes, that finger

  1. We have quite the divide in our union, the United Association of Plumbers, Pipefitters and Sprinklerfitters. Many of the rank and file, and I mean many, supported the Orange Baboon in the last election, despite the UA leadership endorsing Biden. What the Magats didn’t know is that the leadership personally interviewed all the candidates prior to their endorsement. My son, Jeremy, sits on the Interview Committee. They were blown away by the commitment by the Biden/Harris team to help rebuild union membership across the entire workforce. Naturally, they endorsed the winner.
    One of the first things Biden did through executive order was stop the Keystone Pipeline, which put 3,500 members of our union to work. Our leadership knew this going into the election, but decided that the interests of the 370,000 members were more important than the 3,500. Still, the Magats protested over the loss of 3,500 jobs as a way of uplifting the Chosen One. It was a ballsy thing to support Biden because the leadership is up for re-election in August and I’m sure there will still be a lot of sore feelings, but I’m glad they did the right thing.

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