Men & Work

The work men do, the jobs we work, the tools men create to do the jobs we work, the homes and skyscrapers, bridges and tunnels, sewers, dams, concert halls and moon missiles men build, the entire infrastructure that men construct, staggers me. A University of Delaware study detailed the twenty-five most lethal jobs in America. All are either solely or predominantly men’s jobs, from lumberjacking – the most dangerous, with 56 deaths in 2018 alone – through mining machine operators, the 25th most dangerous.
But the work men do is rarely seen or appreciated. I hope with this section to bring men’s work to the foreground.
The first story in this section, John Laue’s “Totem Manufacturing,” describes the life- and health-threatening work of one man’s manufacturing job. I imagine most men have been exposed to toxic chemicals and fumes working on the car, as the home handyman, or on the job. Men are nine times more likely than women to break bones. Bumping hard into work, life, and sports is a hazard of being male. Laue’s experience at Totem Manufacturing was in a higher orbit of danger, apparently faced around the clock.

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