Hero and a Quart of Beer
So you’re working about forty six hours a week at Bethel. Monday night was the Bethel Watchtower study, Tuesdays and Fridays nights were your meeting nights at the Kingdom hall. Sunday was field service in the mornings and meetings in the afternoon. So basically your only free time you weren’t doing something for the Lord was two weekday nights and Saturday afternoon and evening. Maybe 15 to 17 hours a week that was free time when you weren’t sleeping, working or going to meetings. That was your free time. So guess what some Bethelites did with all this free time?
We got another job.
The called those outside jobs, “G” jobs. No one really knows were the name came from. But a“G” job is, any job you did to make more money, more than the .71 cents a day or the twenty two dollars a month bethel gave us. We were spending about nine dollars a month just on subway tokens. So after traveling expenses we made about .05 cents an hour.
I heard a story about a guy who was mugged in New York City. The mugger put a gun to his head and said. "Give me your money or I'm going to blow your brains out!" The man said. "You better shoot, because I know one thing about New York, you can live here without brains but you got to have money!"
Many of the brothers there had families that couldn’t send them any extra cash each month for the basic necessities. So the extra ten or twenty bucks a week made a big difference, in making your life a little more comfortable there.
So even if the sisters did forgot your dinner at the Kingdom Hall there could be a slice of pizza in your future. A piece of pizza then was .75 cents or about two days worth of work. Once or twice a week, you could get a "Hero and a quart of beer," down at Pioneer deli. If you were really rolling, you would buy a chuck steak at .69 cents a pound and some frozen French fries and cook it up in your room, on your electric skillet. That my friend was living!
There were many different type of “G” jobs. Some guys in the press room ran "The paper route" it started at 3:00 a.m. on Sunday mornings. You ran through these high rise apartments delivering the Sunday edition of the New York Times. I did it once, not for me.
Some lucky guys worked at Fleur De Lis catering hall in Brooklyn, great tips plus you could keep all the half-drunk wine bottles, when it was over. There was a waiting list, to work there. Some guys did old jobs like painting apartments. My friend Jim Pipkorn, worked a funeral home in in the lower East side.
I first got a job as a dish washer. I washed pots and pans in and high end restaurant three blocks from Bethel. I was a true “Pot Licker.”
To this day, I will not order turkey and dressing in a restaurant. The restaurant would serve these little miniature loafs of bread. People would eat half of them and then they would put out their cigarettes butts in what was left of the bread. The waiters would bring what was left of the loaf back to the kitchen and throw them in a dirty card board box on the floor. Next week the bread was the stuffing for the turkey and bread stuffing.
I also so worked in two liqueur stores one in the "Inwood" area and one in "The Heights." Hey $1.75 an hour is good money. I was only making .05 cents an hour, working for Jehovah. I guess Jehovah doesn't believe in minimum wage. Some nights I didn’t get paid. I took my earnings out in trade.
Dave Borga, Jim Pipkorn’s roommate, would go down in Bethel history. He turned out to be the “King of all G jobbers." They still talk about him to this day in the "New boy talks." He had a full time job working the night shift at toy factory in New Jersey. That’s right, he was working almost ninety hours a week! He was getting by on just 3 to 4 hours sleep a night. Dave was able to buy a newer ford mustang before he left Bethel. Needless to say he didn’t last long, at that pace.
One day at lunch on Doctor Dixon's table the whole upper dining room was pretty quiet. One table was really loud, it was the tour table. The good doctor keep looking over and giving them a look like. "How dare they disturb my eating.”
I said. "You tell they are not Bethelities." Meaning they were happy and joyful.
He knew what I meant and said. "I think you have a bad attitude about Bethel."
I said. "I have a bad attitude about New York City."
He said. "Are you kidding, look at all the great things you can do here, you have all the plays and the fine dining!"
I said. "Brother Dixon, I don't know about the New York City you’re talking about. A poor Bethelite’s New York City, is a hero sandwich and a quart of beer once a week, if we are lucky."
He gave me a disgusted look and looked away.
I never like him. He was pompous ass. He was a surgeon and not a general practitioner, so he had the bed side manner of a goat.
He was the guy that wanted
to stick my friend Steve and his family with thousands of dollars of medical
bills after his accident in the carpenter shop.
A young Bethelite was complaining about bleeding from his rectum. The good doctor told the brother that it was no big deal that he probably “Just wiping his ass to hard with toilet paper.” The brother didn’t like the diagnosis and paid a worldly doctor for a second opinion. After many test they found out he had a bleeding ulcer.
My favorite story about good doctor.
OSHA came a long too late for us. The noise level it the pressroom was deafening. So some of the guys started wearing ear muffs for protection! They paid for these themselves. The tours were going through and noticing that some of the "brothers" were wearing the ear muffs but most "brothers" were not wearing any ear protection!
So,different people on the tours stared to ask the tour guides "Is there a real problem with noise in the press room?”
So now the society had a real problem, should we spend hundreds of dollars on ear protections, or make the "brothers" who were wearing them stop wearing them?
So what do we do?......Health?....or money? Good Question? Well, we got new light on the matter in the summer of 1973.
Every month, we would have a fire drill in the factory. We would all gather in the basement of building one and Max Larson our factory overseer would give us the new information, we needed to know. He wanted to help us with this question about "Ear muffs" noise pollution.
So he said and I quote. "I have a letter here, from Doctor Dixon, and he says that ear muffs are not good to use, because they could cause ear infections!"
There, we have it, the new light about ear muffs. So of course everyone stopped wearing them. So some of my old friends from the press room are wearing earring aids now.
Yes, I was I was getting a bad attitude because they were pissing on us and calling it water.