Anyone else still have some residual ‘hate’ for Kodak? Because I sure do. And this blog will help me get it out of my system, by Gawd. Me and 3/4 of my family (on both sides) for the last 50+ years, has spent some amount of time directly employed / contracted / laid-off by the big K. Some still work there. I grew up in the 10th ward on Steko Avenue, and so did my parents. My grandparents worked there for over 30 years. Their lives were all cut short, by-the-way, by various forms of cancer.
It raised me. I owe Kodak a debt of gratitude.
Indignant and unreasonable, many of the kids in my generation of Kodak progenitus have a big problem with Kodak. “We wouldn’t be who we are without Kodak”. “…put food on the table, didn’t it?”. But, maybe we’d have our grandparents, fathers and mothers, aunts and uncles, brothers and sisters back, or just healthier, happier.
There seems to be a lot of media about the history of Kodak, and most of it seems to end on an uplifting note. Weird right? It would seem that history doesn’t remember how you got there, just where you ended up. Not a great lesson for people to live by.
This is my most visceral memory of Kodak, I stopped to see the implosion of building 9 after a night shift. It looked kinda like this:
Everyone sat around and cheered, while Kodak cut a few more liabilities. The moment the wreck hit the ground, I ran back to my car and sped away from the dust cloud, a parting gift for the community from the big K.
I have some deep-rooted hangups about money, big industry, corporations, and the like. A short list of what matters more to me than that stuff, would include friends and family, love, memories, art, nature, beauty, and truth.
Companies like the monstrosity that Kodak once was, never fit my paradigm. Chances are, if you’re in my age group, it never fit yours either.
Something about the world and culture of high money, overgrown ‘entities’ like Kodak, and weak excuses related to the behavior of such, make me go into orbit. People are at the bottom of these glorified pyramid-schemes we sometimes call careers. Be thoughtful of the fact that we are what grease these industrial wheels. It is plain-as-day bullshit, hiding in plain sight.
No good people, no bad people. These are labels, and I don’t really follow them. I don’t believe in the devil. I’m pretty sure nature is God, but the jury’s out. Behavior is what we are made of. I do love my family, and to quote Becky, ‘I love my friends.’ That’s right about where my love and worship stop.
When, as a child, I would question Kodak, and things like it, my family, and my friends… the very people who the company was consuming, were quick to educate me on the importance of Kodak, how capitalism works, and how I got here / kept from starving. I didn’t agree, but I also didn’t resist. I just listened, and thought about it for a few decades. I disagree.
Here’s an Edge of Jupiter song about it.
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“To my friends, My work is done. Why wait?”
– George Eastman