Recently I’ve been dissecting my utensils relative to butchering. I have yet to mention the apron a butcher wears. This garment is very important to me especially. While some may choose to just wear cloth or a light plastic apron, I choose to use the full on heavy and thick vinyl apron with super strength ties. This makes the job so much more fun and glamorous than if I were to wear something that didn’t protect my clothes from the majority of whatever may spurt or shoot onto them. The arms of my shirts are generally trashed but I’ve learned that I can roll those up on the way home so that passerby are not alarmed. People in real life tend to get all morbidly curious about why this man has blood or guts or fat particles on his shirt. I just choose to avoid that certain attention as much as possible.
Back to the apron and how it helps. Alot of times a butcher will have to get real close to the animals coated with crap, thorns, blood and etc. I’m not a big fan of wearing those things on the frontside or down the front of my pants. Therefore I wear mine like a badge of honor. It enables me to do my job to the utmost effectiveness and also to be able to act ‘invisible’. Do you have soemthing at your job that after wearing it makes you feel invisible to a certain peculiar task? Perhaps your desk is uncomfortable until and unless your computer is on? Maybe your headset needs to be on so that you feel capable and able to battle the day? Maybe its a bright green, orange or yellow construction hazard vest that makes you visible in traffic or a blue uniform with a badge. Whatever it is you will notice that it makes you feel better and capable and in that work mindset.
In the book of the Jungle by Upton Sinclair, it refers to the workers having no protection from the filth of the job whatsoever. It describes horrifically the terrible hygiene these workers endured at the Stockyards. I’m so suitably impressed that the book itself changed how our food was handled and certain precautions it enacted citizens, nay forced them to make. The conditions were so bad in the book that it even made me gag, yeah, me, a man who’s done this for years. I recommend the book up until he digresses into a purely socialistic rant which I advise to approach with caution. Up until that point the book is quite capable of describing in finite detail each and every single task carried out by our friend Jurgis. It shows his journalistic side and is wonderfully real and alive. Then in a turn, which may have been personal agenda, he rabbit trails off to this socialism rant. Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not against people helping people. I’m quite simply against the government helping people long enough they forget the self reliance required previous to the instance of hardship. So if you as a person are not as susceptible to thoughts and pervasive ideas, I suggest this book. But, on the other hand, if you are very captivated and led away by ideas so powerful, then I suggest caution.
The apron was not around in Jurgis’ day. Sadly, I’m not sure exactly when the apron I wear now was designed but I can tell you assuredly that I’m excited about its arrival and how it implements itself nicely to a better functioning world with happier workers. I know that the Levitical priests of the Old Testament would have been coated in the blood of the sacrificial animals. All that fine clothing just drenched and dripping with blood and whatever else stuck there. Washing would have been fun for those garments eh?
I’m going to dive off on a spiritual bent now so if you want to just read up to here and wander off thats fine. In case you were wondering, the name ButcheringSaint is one that tells and depicts pretty much everything about the blog. I delve into the spiritual alot. I butcher animals and I am on a search like Bilbo to find what I seek.
Our apron is a religious symbol. It involves our protection against the enemy of good. Ephesians 6 talks about the armor of God. It’s funny to think that I’m going to make a leap from killing animals and bloody garments to Ephesians and the whole armor. But that’s how my mind is wired. That is how I’ve arranged my life. Some people arrange theirs around a television program or going to the bars or being disastrously in debt but me, I arrange my life around knives and words. All of the protection is defensive minus the Sword of the Lord. I find that so intriguing. It’s weird that Jesus was hanging around with someone who smote his capturers ear but this is in fact what happened. But, we are told not to use the physical swords but the spiritual power of words. Like it or hate it, words have deep impact. They can hurt or heal. It is our nature to lash out with violence first but that is the opposite of the solution. Violence begets violence. An old Martial arts poem I read once said, “A violent man shall die a violent death.” It also brought to light this gem; “by not putting on a show, he shines and by not justifying himself he is distinguished…” This could and should be used more frequently, but alas, it isn’t. This all relates back to the principle of being a man of peace as I’ve understood what the great religions and even my own teach us. I find it throughout the Bible that we are not supposed to be violent or vicious. Now, recently, some ‘religions’ have really gone the deep end off and are becoming increasingly agitated and violent. I’m not talking or going to refer to them for learning.
The apron then, is a symbol to those paying attention that we are protected. It symbolizes the seperation of clean vs. dirty concept. It symbolizes a difference. The one wearing the apron is the one who stands apart and is going to do something unique. It symbolizes change. The one wearing the apron is the one who is getting set to work on something that will have an impact or impart change. They are the ones to whom people go with questions because they are at ease with those miniscule moments before the storm has arrived. These people go do their duty without being worried or concerned about how this will get them dirty, or might possibly put them in an avalanche of goopy, grimy, oily and disgusting concoctions only nature could produce. These people are the cops, sherriffs, school bus drivers, mechanics, roadies, teachers, speakers, leaders, authors, musicians, bloggers and so on until we list the butchers. We all walk behind our ‘apron’. Mine just happens to be a physical one protecting from physical splatters. Others have their apron on when they are writing, reading or creating. Their work must be done with their heart exposed to show forth true art. Their work is required to encourage them to open their creativity up to the world that is going to bash it and thrash it and trash it. The bright side is that they have their apron and know what they are doing is good and valuable and productive. It is not tearing apart the universe. It builds. Love does that. It is our apron.