Real Work by a Real Writer. Or Gibberish produced by the clinically insane. You decide.

This past weekend up here in Canada land we celebrated Thanksgiving. Besides stuffing our faces with dead bird and pumpkin pies, we huddled around our wood stove in a bid to keep our extremeties from falling off. This is what happens when one chooses to live near the North Pole. Mother Nature mocks us and delivers two inches of snow as a side dish with our cranberry sauce.

My husband, the romantic fool er, man, he is decided to surprise the four of us with his presence so that he could partake in a tryptophan-induced comas alongside us. He's sweet like that.

The weather had us all shivering and cussing under our breaths as we tried to remember what the hell we were thankful for. The best we could come up was polar fleece and flannel sheets. Oh, and those wool socks Gramma made us a few years back for Christmas. Note to self: Never turn a snooty nose up at wool socks because one day you may find yourself fighting with your children over who will get to wear them.

In a bid to stay warm and a shallow attempt at family bonding, the children decided the best way to kill a long weekend would be to gather around the television and watch the entire series of Heroes, seasons one through three.

It was a real Norman Rockwell type of weekend.

Somewhere between the haze of two large family get togethers and pants that no longer buttoned shut, we found ourselves in front of the telly with the snow softly falling outside our living room window and barking orders at Fric to hurry up and change the disc to start season two of our marathon Heroes weekend.

My daughter opened up the case and noticing the lack of discs asked why season two didn't have as many episodes as the previous season.

"Oh, that's because season two happened the same year as the writers strike," I explained as I burrowed deeper into the comforter keeping me warm on our couch.

"What's a writers strike?" Frac asked.

My husband, sprawled out on the love seat across the living room, decided that as our family's token union man he would field this question and piped up before I had a chance to answer.

I hate when he does this. I keep reminding him it's not in his job description to answer our children's questions and instead should defer all answers to my wisdom but he keeps rolling his eyes while telling me to shut it. The man needs to learn his place in our familal pecking order, me thinks.

"That's when the pansy asses who write the scripts for the entertainment business decided they would throw a big temper tantrum and stop working because they are a bunch of self-important idiots," said Boo as he snorted.

"Excuse me? This coming from a UNION man himself?" I volleyed back at him. I turned to our children to erase correct this erroneous explanation while shooting daggers with my eyes at their father.

"Don't listen to your father. He doesn't know what he was talking about. The writers strike was when the writers stopped writing because they felt they weren't being adequately compensated for their creativity. Eventually the contract was negotiated successfully and the writers started working again when they felt they were being remunerated fairly," I clarified.

To which my husband snorted and replied, "Ya, bunch of money grubbing babies."

"Are you kidding me Mr. Union Man who has sat in on contract negotiations himself?"

My children sat down to watch the ping-pong of their parents while grabbing for the bowl of popcorn. Who needs over-produced prime time drama when they live with two pompous opinionated parents?

"Sure but the difference is, that unlike the writer's union," he said in a tone dripping with sarcasm, "my union actually is for people who work. People who bust their backs every day to provide a necessary service. People who don't just sit around crafting pretty stories all day long while eating bonbons."

"Um, I happen to be one of those people who sit around all day crafting pretty stories and I don't eat bonbons. I eat pistachio nuts, thank you very much," I shot back.

"My point exactly. I work for a living while writers pretend to work. The reality is what you writers like to call work is actually just playing. Those writers should never have went on strike. They're lucky someone is willing to pay them at all," my fantastically delusional and twattish husband rallied back.

"Are you kidding me? Writing isn't work?" (I may have shot upright on the couch and been screeching at him at this point but I'll never tell.) "I'd like to see you do what I do for one day, do it as well as I do it and see how successful you are. If writing was so easy more people would be successful at it."

"Gimme a break. All you do is sit on the couch and pull words out of your ass. Sure you are good at it, sure you've seen some success. But it's not like you could support our family on your earnings. Any monkey can do what you do all day long. Except I bet the monkey would be able to fold the laundry before you ever got around to it."

Oh, the gauntlet had been thrown. The white glove had been smacked across my cheek. The challenge was issued.

My children of course, were lapping this shit up.

"Don't listen to your father kids. He's wrong. He's wrongly asserting that monetary compensation determines the value of a career. He's being arrogant and trying to confuse the issue because he knows he can't do what I do. He doesn't have the talent or the skill or the dedication."

"Oh please," Boo laughed. "Don't listen to your mom. She's being irrational. She can't help it. She is a woman. And a writer. Writing is not work. Any one can write once they are literate. Writers just sit for a few hours a day, spew out whatever crap their imaginations can spin and hope someone is dumb enough to believe it or like it. You're damn right I could do what you do. If I wanted to waste my talents. But you couldn't do what I do for a living. Which is real work."

Funny, neither of us needed to huddle under neath our respective blankets to keep warm any longer. Between the two of us we were shooting off enough energy to heat a second home.

"Whatever dude. Ever look at your industry and the people in it? Most of them don't have a high school education and aren't much higher on the evolutionary chain than a chimpanzee."

"Ever look at your industry? It's filled with the emotionally crippled and the clinically insane. Most writers, such as yourself, aren't stable enough to do a real day's labour in their lives so instead hide behind their imagination as a way of pretending to be productive and useful in society."

"Did you just call me unstable? Did you seriously just tell our children that I am incapable of working a real day's labour? Are you forgetting that it way my employment that paid for your post secondary education and my income from my real day's labour that paid for our down payment on our mortgage?? Do NOT listen to your father. Apparently, he's drunk on turkey or something." Steam may have actually been pouring out of my ears at this point.

"Well it was good you contributed something to our family. Because while you 'blog' it's been me busting my ass bringing home the bacon which you like to eat as you 'work'," he shot back.

"Whatever. It takes a lot of skill to stand around and push a broom," I hit below the belt. "This from the man who needs me to spell check his emails and can't remember simple sentence structure. I'd like to see you craft a post for thousands of blog readers and entertain the masses. I'd like to see you do what I do. Then we'll talk about whose job is more labour intensive."

"Please," he guffawed. He GUFFAWED. "Years of post education and student loans so you can talk about your boobs on the internet. That takes training. And hard work. Riiight."

"More so than standing around monkeying around on a company walkie talkie. I bet I could walk on to your job site and do your job just as well as you do within a week. You? You'd never be able to do what I can do no matter how much time you tried to do it."

"You think you could learn my job in a week? Are you taking your meds?"

"Honey, I push a broom every day at home. It can't be much different whether it's my kitchen floors or the floor of a work office."

"Really? I sweep? I'll have to run that past the guys on my crew. Who are busy removing and reinstalling demister pads. When they aren't busy stabbing and rolling tubes in a mud drum and steam drum. You don't even know what that means."

"I don't need to know what they are. I'd just do what you do. Stand around and bark orders. Pass the buck. It can't be much different than trying to get the kids to clean the bathroom."

"You're so cute when you are wrong. You couldn't pass grade twelve math yet you expect to be able to do element change outs, burner rework and safely and correctly rig and duct through a boiler house all in less than a week? It'd take me one hour to write a blog post yet you'd need years of training to do what I do for a living. Real work."

"You manage to do it. Can't be that hard," I bluster. It's easy to bluster back at him since I have no real concept of what he's talking about. Years of tuning him out when he yammers on about his job have only painted a fuzzy picture of his actual job which involves steel and hard hats. "You couldn't identify a preposition or past particle if your life depended on it let alone correctly use an adverb. Heck, I'm not even sure you know your alphabet."

At this point our children were getting whiplash from watching the back and forth repartee of their very mature parents and my daughter stood up and declared we were both right.

"Neither of you could do each other's jobs. Now can we get back to watching Heroes?" she pleaded.

"No." Boo and I answered simultaneously.

"I want your father to admit that what I do, what a writer does, is real work and as such, we writers deserve fair compensation for our efforts. Just the same way other industries fairly and adequately compensate their workers."

"And I want your mother to admit that she doesn't have a foggy clue as to what she's talking about and that writing is nothing but a glorified hobby. Those that can't, WRITE."

"Bite me."

"You wish."

"Ya, well you can kiss any romantic notions you wanted to do with this writer goodbye."

"No worries. I'm too tired from actually doing real work to actually hold any romantic ideas."



"Man, when I grow up, I hope I turn out more mature than either of you," Frac piped up.

"Oh be quiet and press play. Let your father enjoy the fruits of someone's hobby."

And that is how we Canadians celebrated the Thanksgiving weekend.

Setting a fine example for our children on how to successfully get one's point across in a mature and thoughful manner while agreeing to disagree.

And if you are reading this at work, dear husband, perhaps you should get back to your job and start sweeping.