Of John Gray, Graduates and the Minimum Wage: A Smudge Intern Responds
Published August 9th, 2015
(Editor’s Note —Two recent columns by famous Capital Region bard John Gray — one offering homespun pearls of wisdom to this year’s college graduates and the other in which the beloved journalist offers a critical and insightful analysis of the proposal in New York state to raise the minimum wage, made a profound impact on Albany Smudge college intern Bobby “Two Fingers” Kincaid. Below, Kincaid, in an open letter to Albany’s most admired raconteur, thanks Gray, whom the young fake news journalist has read faithfully since the age of 3.)
Dear Mr. Gray:
First, I’d like to inform you that you are killing it with the 50-and-over crowd on my Facebook newsfeed. Normally, these folks post updates awash with nonsense about what their spouses are up to, but thanks to your talent for storytelling, I’ve seen your handsome mug — albeit thumbnail in size —take over my homepage for weeks on end.
The people posting your work —all of them decades out from graduating college or working minimum wage jobs — think your advice is “on point” and applicable, and they forward your pieces to their children who read them immediately — probably. I know I do.
In “Dear Graduates,” you dispense all kinds of useful advice and insight to recent college grads, like:
· Be happy with any job you get.
· Keep your mouth shut.
· What a grocery store is…
Yet your wisdom doesn’t end there. Aside from telling college students how to live their lives, you generously inform those living on the minimum wage how to manage their affairs, as well. And more appreciative, I could not be.
“Telling people they don’t deserve $15 an hour for serving French fries,” you say, “is like telling a 7-year-old they don’t deserve a trophy because their T-ball team came in last place. You can do it, but ready yourself for tears.”
With certainty, I think we can all agree that no matter your stance on the minimum-wage hike, demonizing people working some of the hardest, most miserable, and by definition, worst-paying jobs around, is a worthy endeavor. Thank you for adding value to the conversation.
I should note, too, that I was most impressed by your admission that you, John Gray, once worked minimum wage jobs some 25 years ago when the bottom rate had more purchasing power than today. Considering your success, just knowing that you, at one time, were also among the segment of society that is generally unmotivated and disinterested in getting ahead, is a true inspiration.
As someone who will probably graduate college at some point — (I am now in the seventh year of a theoretical physical education program at a well-reputed online university) — I’d like to thank you for your advice.
Being a regular reader of your columns, I know that you are a fan of anecdotes. As such, I could think of no better way to close my letter than with the following yarn.
There once was mouse that loved nothing more than to ride his bicycle. And one day, a lugubrious fox saw the mouse ride by joyfully on his bike. The mouse continued to ride by at quite a rate of speed. The mournful fox became quite cross and thought to himself: “If only I had a bicycle than I too could partake in the gaiety of life.” However, before the fox could purchase a fox-sized bicycle, both the fox and mouse were bludgeoned to death by the crushing weight of the real world.
Bobby “Two Fingers” Kincaid