Here’s what I want you to understand.

Let’s see if I can

make it clear.


On a busy thoroughfare

headed downhill the wrong way

in traffic a city dump truck,

one of the big ones,

broke down.


Loaded with dirt and brush,

equipped with a hydraulic boom

and a claw big enough to pick up

massive loads like mattresses

and refrigerators and tree trunks.


Going nowhere and a tow truck

backed up to it both trucks back to back

and the rating on the tow derrick

in big letters said 50 Tons.


A man, this is what I want you to understand,

a man in the tow truck jumped down

to the ground and hooked up the dump truck

and elevated the dual axles

of the dump truck and all eight tires

off the roadway and then


Crawled underneath the dump truck

hanging there in air to secure chains

and hooks flat on his back on the pavement

facing up into death more cruel

than anything you or I could imagine

if anything went wrong.


That man, not the equipment, not the ratings,

not the sophistication of the controls,

that man and men like him make the world

go round and when it breaks down

make it go round and around

again and again.


So when the driver of that tow truck

climbed back into his cab and drove away

and all the ensuing traffic on that

thoroughfare went on its way unassuming

and ignorant of his effort, I resolved

to write this so you’d know.


The reason you and I have it so easy

is because for some men

it isn’t easy at all.