Chapter 1: Unsung Heroes
“Many people don’t appreciate the finer details of life,” Ernest Plotnik spoke softly to his son over a lukewarm cup of coffee. “Everyone wants the next big shiny thing, the next hover car, the next vr fantasy game, the next cure for the latest disease, but they don’t appreciate the effort that goes into bringing these things to their doorstep.”
Ernest Jr held up a spoonful of soggy cereal and stared at it intently.
“Where would we be without the tireless efforts of the so-called paper pushers? The ones who itemize every scrap of material, where it comes from, how much it costs, what borders it crossed, what the manager at the manufacturing plant had for lunch the day it was sent out?”
Ernest Jr slurped at his sugary spoonful with apathy.
“How would you know if your cereal was safe if not for us? How would you know that no dolphins were harmed when the tuna in your sandwich was canned? Others may scorn us for annoying them at their place of work, demanding receipts, but the whole world would descend into chaos if we weren’t there to keep them accountable.”
“Dolphins are extinct, Dad. I learned that in school yesterday.”
“The point still stands, Junior. There are hidden cogs and gears turning in the background of modern life that allow us to be comfortable, more comfortable than at any point in history. And if no one is there to oil the gears and keep them free of the gunk of irresponsible spending, then the machine of prosperity will seize up and simply stop working.”
Ernest stood up and brought his empty cup to the sink, rinsed it out and marked down the amount of water used on a notepad on the counter. “Only 122 milliliters, today is going to be efficient.”
Ernest Jr sighed and scooped up another spoonful of soggy cereal. “Great, Dad. Great.”