From a summer job I took, in Building Trades and Arts.

Learn to make cement by hand. Haul cinder blocks around. Learn the Pythagorean Theorem. Learn about geology. Haul rocks around. Learn never to call them just “rocks” in anyone’s hearing. Become less impressed with the Pyramids -- with enough manpower, you can build anything. Learn what “ashlar” means. Learn about how to polish walls. Wash powdered rock out of your hair for several days after that. Learn how to put together a wall that stays up longer than a day or two. Wonder whether Thomas Jefferson’s Serpent’s Wall is a stroke of genius, or a stupid idea from a bigot. Haul bricks around. Learn to make mortar. Grouse about architects who don’t know their ass from a hole in the ground. Try not to breathe in too much rock dust. Learn to make concrete. Get excited the first time you find a fossil. Put the next thousand fossils you find in a wall, somewhere. Drink coffee from a cup that has grey cement splashes on it. Learn to not be afraid of the jackhammer. Change your mind about the Pyramids, several times. Sweat a lot. Curse the weather if it gets damp. Make more cement, with a machine, this time. Repair stone walls that have gotten lichen between the stones.

Put a green branch on top of a completed project and celebrate a job well done!

…you mean, those posers in business suits and aprons?

The illumine for this WU came from That Other Website where the algorithm had pointed every known query about Freemasonry my way, because I said I knew about Robert Anton Wilson's Illuminatus! trilogy. Seems as if, for a certain segment of African youth, there's been this rumor that if you join the Freemasons, they'll gift you with wealth beyond all dreams of avarice. (It has to do with the Dan Brown Illuminati.) So it is that I'd been fielding queries from dozens of young men asking "How can I join the Masons in Nairobi?", "What is the Lodge in Lagos?", with various versions of "Email Grand Lodge", "I don't live in Nigeria." and "How should I know, I'm a female." I began to get slightly loopy.

Visions of elderly white men, wearing white chamois (I think) aprons began to swim in front of my eyes, holding compasses, squares, and shining silver trowels. Do any of those guys actually know how to square a building?(I do.) Do they know anything at all about putting stone on stone? So I started thinking back on how I, myself helped build two (really small) buildings back in 1977, and snapped.

You see the result above.