Issue #275 / February 2024

I appreciate the fact that you acknowledged those of us that work in jobs that are so necessary that nobody really ever thinks about it (Issue #274). I worked in the sewer system for over 35 years cleaning up everybody’s crap. The wealthy and the poor. I went to work every day and night and missed a lot of my children’s stuff so everyone else could go on spewing their crap in the world. Everyone in the Hallmark world is a writer, artist, antique shop owner, and it isn’t real, so give me a freaking break. Yes, I speak in past tense and present tense but I don’t give a crap about that either. Pouring a lot of crap out there, but I actually am a very happy person and love The Red Hand Files.


Dear Brian,

Inspired by your candid and question-free letter, I found myself watching a mind-bending YouTube documentary on the New York sewerage system, about which, to my considerable shame, I knew nothing. Despite what you say, it seems to me that an artist and a sanitary worker actually have much in common. Just as the New York sewerage system is a critical pillar of public health, so too is art, and although art may not literally protect a city from plague and pestilence, it does, in its way, make the world we inhabit that little less noxious. And without pursuing the comparison to absurdity, art has its equivalent trials – blockages abound and gloomy artistic fatbergs clog the pipes of inspiration, yet still we gallantly gather up the brown water of experience and rinse it through the purifying vats of our imagination! It is safe to say that our occupations have their parallel challenges, mine abstract, yours actual.

Brian, if by chance you dealt with any of my bodily waste whilst I was visiting New York in the nineties, as it travelled along with the 8.3 billion gallons of daily waste water, running through the 7,500 miles of sewerage pipes, then I want to acknowledge your efforts and say, with the utmost respect, thank you and God bless you! For if God exists, then He exists in the sewers as in the stars, and in the end, in our own hellish ways, we are each at His service, engaged in the grim business of preventing the world from drowning in its own excreta.

You are a hero, sir! I salute you!

Love, Nick


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