being too young

I worked for a while in a picture frame
factory where my job was to hand-sand
the frames before they were
painted.

another man sat at a machine and he
ran the frames through and chopped them
to various sizes.
he worked the cutting blade by
stamping down on a lever with his
right leg.

I watched him for several days, then
I walked up to him.
“Jesus Christ, is that all you do?
I mean, just pump your leg up and
down for 8 hours?
don’t you go
crazy?”

the man didn’t answer and I went back
to my hand-sanding.

after that the other workers didn’t
speak to me.

a week later the boss called me into
his office.
“we are going to have to let you
go.”
he wrote out my check and I picked it
up and walked out through the
shop.

outside I walked along feeling
good, feeling that I knew
something.

about a month later
it was night
and I was attempting to sleep
in a flophouse
filled with 35 or 40 men
on cots and
most of them were
snoring.

I still felt that I knew
something
which shows you
what an asshole I
was.