Public service for students — how it worked under Communism

8 11 2008

So our Dear Leader Obama wants students to do 100 hours per year of public service in return for $4000. That is not a bad pay at $40 per hour, so probably many students will be willing to do this (will it include mandatory diversity and social awareness training?).

You can read more about it at BizzyBlog. This is not a new news, it is been on for a long time, but now it has made it to so maybe our Dear Leader is considering it seriously.

Back, when I was a middle/high school and university student in Communist Eastern Europe we had also had various types of public service. For example:

  • Raking leaves, pulling out weeds, trimming hedges, etc. – Trimming hedges was best, especially if they were taller because you could hide behind them.
  • Planting trees (in forests, on reclaimed garbage dumps, anywhere). – That was hard and boring, and the forestry workers were driving us like slaves.
  • Picking potatoes.  – That was my favorite because we would skip several school days per year, sometimes we got to bake potatoes, and the obligatory rotten potato fights were fun too.
  • Collect scrap metal. – That was also fun, we would go to the other side of our town, sit the whole day at some building site, smoke cigarettes,  and at the end of day we would drag some scrap junk, e.g. an old fridge, all across the town (the would make a lot of noise).
  • Work at a factory doing some menial job. – That was a requirement at university – one would not pass from one year to another without showing a proof of having worked at a factory for month. I did it once. I worked at a copper mine, in the supplies department. Usually, in the 8 hour day, I would do 1 or 2 hours useful work, like e.g. deliver acetylene canisters. The rest of the time I spend locked in the office reading science-fiction books. The useful things that I learned by observation and from stories I heard were: how to steal various things (steel, cable, paint); that although officially illegal, drinking vodka during work hours was common; that if you got caught stealing or drinking vodka, the charges would be dropped if you signed up to be a member of communist Party; how 20 different swear words could be used in 3 sentences describing a hydraulic brake pump; and so on. All these were very important things a young university student had to know to appreciate the life of a worker.
    Other students told similar fun stories of their one month at a factory. My brother was not that lucky though. He worked at a metal factory and cut off the tips of his fingers.
Students picking potatoes

Students picking potatoes

Regarding our Dear Leader’s proposal, here is my suggestion as to what the students should to during those 100 hours — they should do “jobs that Americans will not do“, like picking stawberries and oranges, standing in front of Home Depot, and so on. That would kill two birds with one stone. Students would have their $4000, and illegal immigrants would have to go back to their land of origin for there would be no jobs left for them here.




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