Welcome to Bookmarker!

This is a personal project by @dellsystem. I built this to help me retain information from the books I'm reading.

Source code on GitHub (MIT license).

44

Our bodies were born into hard labor. To people who Grandma Betty would say “never had to lift a finger,” that might sound like something to be pitied. But there was a beautiful efficiency to it—form in constant physical function with little energy left over. In some ways, I feel enriched rather than diminished for having lived it.

I know the strength of this body that helped hoist an air compressor into a truck, leveraged a sheet of drywall alone, carried buckets of feed against prairie wind. I know the quickness of my limbs that scaled a tall fence when a bull charged and that leapt when a ladder fell. But while I worked in those ways, like my mother and father I wrote poetry in my mind.

There’s an idea that laborers end up in their role because it’s all they’re suited for. What put us there, though, was birth, family history—not lack of talent for something else. “Blue-collar workers” have jobs requiring just as much brainpower as “white-collar professionals.” To run a family farm is to be a business owner in a complicated industry. But, unlike many jobs requiring smarts and creativity, working a farm summons the body’s intelligence, too.

—p.44 by Sarah Smarsh 9 months ago

Our bodies were born into hard labor. To people who Grandma Betty would say “never had to lift a finger,” that might sound like something to be pitied. But there was a beautiful efficiency to it—form in constant physical function with little energy left over. In some ways, I feel enriched rather than diminished for having lived it.

I know the strength of this body that helped hoist an air compressor into a truck, leveraged a sheet of drywall alone, carried buckets of feed against prairie wind. I know the quickness of my limbs that scaled a tall fence when a bull charged and that leapt when a ladder fell. But while I worked in those ways, like my mother and father I wrote poetry in my mind.

There’s an idea that laborers end up in their role because it’s all they’re suited for. What put us there, though, was birth, family history—not lack of talent for something else. “Blue-collar workers” have jobs requiring just as much brainpower as “white-collar professionals.” To run a family farm is to be a business owner in a complicated industry. But, unlike many jobs requiring smarts and creativity, working a farm summons the body’s intelligence, too.

—p.44 by Sarah Smarsh 9 months ago
45

The frustration at the dangerous crossroads of gender and poverty was sharpened for my mom in a couple of ways, I think. She had a mind that wanted books, ideas, and sketch pads—things she sat with privately but didn’t get to share with the world. And, because people considered her beautiful, she got a constant stream of attention about her body, at work and elsewhere. Being physically objectified that many times over—as a labor machine, a producer of children, and a decorative object—all while being aware of your own unexpressed talent can make the body feel like a prison.

—p.45 by Sarah Smarsh 9 months ago

The frustration at the dangerous crossroads of gender and poverty was sharpened for my mom in a couple of ways, I think. She had a mind that wanted books, ideas, and sketch pads—things she sat with privately but didn’t get to share with the world. And, because people considered her beautiful, she got a constant stream of attention about her body, at work and elsewhere. Being physically objectified that many times over—as a labor machine, a producer of children, and a decorative object—all while being aware of your own unexpressed talent can make the body feel like a prison.

—p.45 by Sarah Smarsh 9 months ago
57

Along with the freedom and the space, that is a blessing you would have received from the feral way that children among us lived: seeing blood every day on a kitten’s neck, a father’s hand, the ground beneath a slaughtered hog hanging from a hook. Knowing in your own bones how fragile and fleeting a body is.

—p.57 by Sarah Smarsh 9 months ago

Along with the freedom and the space, that is a blessing you would have received from the feral way that children among us lived: seeing blood every day on a kitten’s neck, a father’s hand, the ground beneath a slaughtered hog hanging from a hook. Knowing in your own bones how fragile and fleeting a body is.

—p.57 by Sarah Smarsh 9 months ago
65

When the temporary job at Boeing ended, Dad found more work in Wichita, this time for a national company that supplied and disposed of industrial cleaning products. He drove a van around the city and surrounding small towns, delivering cleaning solvent and equipment to mechanics’ shops. He then collected their spent chemicals, such as engine oil, into a large barrel in the back of the van to dump at a designated waste site.

He’d been working for them all of ten days when, driving alone along an interstate, things started moving in slow motion. By the time he got back to the company yard, saliva was frothing from his lips. Another employee drove him to the Minor Emergency Center at the mall where Mom sometimes worked holiday kiosks.

[...]

“It took three years to get my body, mind, and soul cleaned out,” Dad told me. It was such a traumatic event that decades had passed before we ever discussed it.

That cleaning-solvent business—a billion-dollar corporation, when Dad worked for them—changed the design of their trucks because of him, he told me, but he couldn’t say where or how he heard that. Maybe it’s true. Maybe it was just a passing, hopeful, or misleading comment by an attorney, and Dad held on to it—giving some meaning to what he had gone through.

He settled with the company out of court. He walked away with about fifty grand after attorney fees and signed papers saying he wouldn’t seek further damages. Through the Kansas Workers Compensation Act, he also collected disability payments for almost two years for a total of about $22,000. But he was back to work much of that time—messed up yet working anyhow—so the state cut him off.

he got chemical poisoning from driving a truck wtf

—p.65 by Sarah Smarsh 9 months ago

When the temporary job at Boeing ended, Dad found more work in Wichita, this time for a national company that supplied and disposed of industrial cleaning products. He drove a van around the city and surrounding small towns, delivering cleaning solvent and equipment to mechanics’ shops. He then collected their spent chemicals, such as engine oil, into a large barrel in the back of the van to dump at a designated waste site.

He’d been working for them all of ten days when, driving alone along an interstate, things started moving in slow motion. By the time he got back to the company yard, saliva was frothing from his lips. Another employee drove him to the Minor Emergency Center at the mall where Mom sometimes worked holiday kiosks.

[...]

“It took three years to get my body, mind, and soul cleaned out,” Dad told me. It was such a traumatic event that decades had passed before we ever discussed it.

That cleaning-solvent business—a billion-dollar corporation, when Dad worked for them—changed the design of their trucks because of him, he told me, but he couldn’t say where or how he heard that. Maybe it’s true. Maybe it was just a passing, hopeful, or misleading comment by an attorney, and Dad held on to it—giving some meaning to what he had gone through.

He settled with the company out of court. He walked away with about fifty grand after attorney fees and signed papers saying he wouldn’t seek further damages. Through the Kansas Workers Compensation Act, he also collected disability payments for almost two years for a total of about $22,000. But he was back to work much of that time—messed up yet working anyhow—so the state cut him off.

he got chemical poisoning from driving a truck wtf

—p.65 by Sarah Smarsh 9 months ago
74

It’s a hell of a thing to feel—to grow the food, serve the drinks, hammer the houses, and assemble the airplanes that bodies with more money eat and drink and occupy and board, while your own body can’t go to the doctor. Even though no one complained or maybe even realized it, I could feel that the people around me knew they were viewed as dispensable.

—p.74 by Sarah Smarsh 9 months ago

It’s a hell of a thing to feel—to grow the food, serve the drinks, hammer the houses, and assemble the airplanes that bodies with more money eat and drink and occupy and board, while your own body can’t go to the doctor. Even though no one complained or maybe even realized it, I could feel that the people around me knew they were viewed as dispensable.

—p.74 by Sarah Smarsh 9 months ago
103

When I was a kid, the United States was a few decades away from reckoning with the reality that the next generation would be worse off, not better off, than the one before it. But my community had been facing dwindling odds for generations. They knew that children like me likely wouldn’t and shouldn’t aim for life on a farm. Few country kids were pressured to keep a farm going.

Well ahead of middle-class America, for all my family’s emphasis on hard work, on some level we’d done away with the idea that it always paid off. Being as we got up before dawn to do chores and didn’t quit until after dark, it was plain that the problem with our outcomes wasn’t lack of hard work. The problem was with commodities markets, with big business, with Wall Street—things so far away and impenetrable to us that all we could do was shake our heads, hate the government, and get the combine into the shed before it started to hail.

—p.103 by Sarah Smarsh 9 months ago

When I was a kid, the United States was a few decades away from reckoning with the reality that the next generation would be worse off, not better off, than the one before it. But my community had been facing dwindling odds for generations. They knew that children like me likely wouldn’t and shouldn’t aim for life on a farm. Few country kids were pressured to keep a farm going.

Well ahead of middle-class America, for all my family’s emphasis on hard work, on some level we’d done away with the idea that it always paid off. Being as we got up before dawn to do chores and didn’t quit until after dark, it was plain that the problem with our outcomes wasn’t lack of hard work. The problem was with commodities markets, with big business, with Wall Street—things so far away and impenetrable to us that all we could do was shake our heads, hate the government, and get the combine into the shed before it started to hail.

—p.103 by Sarah Smarsh 9 months ago
122

President Dwight Eisenhower, a native of rural Kansas, said, “Whatever America hopes to bring to pass in the world must first come to pass in the heart of America.” The countryside is no more our nation’s heart than are its cities, and rural people aren’t more noble and dignified for their dirty work in fields. But to devalue, in our social investments, the people who tend crops and livestock, or to refer to their place as “flyover country,” is to forget not just a country’s foundation but its connection to the earth, to cycles of life scarcely witnessed and ill understood in concrete landscapes.

i like the phrasing of the last sentence

—p.122 by Sarah Smarsh 9 months ago

President Dwight Eisenhower, a native of rural Kansas, said, “Whatever America hopes to bring to pass in the world must first come to pass in the heart of America.” The countryside is no more our nation’s heart than are its cities, and rural people aren’t more noble and dignified for their dirty work in fields. But to devalue, in our social investments, the people who tend crops and livestock, or to refer to their place as “flyover country,” is to forget not just a country’s foundation but its connection to the earth, to cycles of life scarcely witnessed and ill understood in concrete landscapes.

i like the phrasing of the last sentence

—p.122 by Sarah Smarsh 9 months ago
129

When I was an adult, the Kansas legislature passed a law forbidding using cash assistance to buy tickets for ocean cruises, as though poor people are notorious for spending weeks in the Bahamas on taxpayers’ dimes. The same law limited the amount recipients could access as cash; regardless of their total monthly allotment, they could take out only $25 at a time via an ATM. It was a needless measure that benefited private banks contracting with the state, since every card swipe racked up a fee. Where once poverty was merely shamed, over the course of my life it was increasingly monetized to benefit the rich—interest, late fees, and court fines siphoned from the financially destitute into big bank coffers.

christ

—p.129 by Sarah Smarsh 9 months ago

When I was an adult, the Kansas legislature passed a law forbidding using cash assistance to buy tickets for ocean cruises, as though poor people are notorious for spending weeks in the Bahamas on taxpayers’ dimes. The same law limited the amount recipients could access as cash; regardless of their total monthly allotment, they could take out only $25 at a time via an ATM. It was a needless measure that benefited private banks contracting with the state, since every card swipe racked up a fee. Where once poverty was merely shamed, over the course of my life it was increasingly monetized to benefit the rich—interest, late fees, and court fines siphoned from the financially destitute into big bank coffers.

christ

—p.129 by Sarah Smarsh 9 months ago
141

Grandma was right: I did think I was too good for the environment I’d been born into. But I thought she was, too. I thought everyone was. So my intention was to get as much attention as possible. Not because I reveled in it—I was a quiet loner, most often—but because I knew that was the only way I’d ever receive the chances I wanted.

—p.141 by Sarah Smarsh 9 months ago

Grandma was right: I did think I was too good for the environment I’d been born into. But I thought she was, too. I thought everyone was. So my intention was to get as much attention as possible. Not because I reveled in it—I was a quiet loner, most often—but because I knew that was the only way I’d ever receive the chances I wanted.

—p.141 by Sarah Smarsh 9 months ago
202

What we lost in stability, by way of our economic lot, we gained in adaptability, in hard clarity about what does and doesn’t last. During the Great Recession in 2008, both my parents lost their jobs and entered one of the hardest stretches of their lives. But, while some members of the middle class saw their assets dwindle for the first time, people like my family had known economic trauma before.

Perhaps for that reason, my parents had no illusion that banks or markets were a safe investment. Mom didn’t purchase more house than she could afford with the idea that she’d live there forever. She did so precisely because she didn’t believe in security and figured life is short so you might as well have a big bathtub when you can get it. Like Dad, she knew all about a “mobile home”—an oxymoron, seemingly, but encoded with a deep truth: No house is truly secure. The body is the only permanent home, and even that one comes with an eviction notice.

reminds me of Evicted

also, maybe similar idea for N's mother during 2008

—p.202 by Sarah Smarsh 9 months ago

What we lost in stability, by way of our economic lot, we gained in adaptability, in hard clarity about what does and doesn’t last. During the Great Recession in 2008, both my parents lost their jobs and entered one of the hardest stretches of their lives. But, while some members of the middle class saw their assets dwindle for the first time, people like my family had known economic trauma before.

Perhaps for that reason, my parents had no illusion that banks or markets were a safe investment. Mom didn’t purchase more house than she could afford with the idea that she’d live there forever. She did so precisely because she didn’t believe in security and figured life is short so you might as well have a big bathtub when you can get it. Like Dad, she knew all about a “mobile home”—an oxymoron, seemingly, but encoded with a deep truth: No house is truly secure. The body is the only permanent home, and even that one comes with an eviction notice.

reminds me of Evicted

also, maybe similar idea for N's mother during 2008

—p.202 by Sarah Smarsh 9 months ago