My son asks me to wash his red shirt,
the one with “manager” stitched on the front.
“You know what happens to guys
who wear red shirts on Star Trek?” I ask.
My son affirms his knowledge; I load the washer.
We talk of space and aliens,
the dangers of unsung work,
the surprises thrown at us
in the course of free-form life.
As the washer runs I know he will be ready,
clothed for battle in his red shirt.
Later, after he returns from work,
we watch a space show he has saved.
The hero battles evil aliens with weapons
blasting lightning and thunder.
In the midst of this theatrical battle,
I ask my son about his working day.
“The day was hectic,” he replies wearily.
“We had a horse-allergic customer collapse.
We called in emergency responders.
We cleaned up protein spills.
We ran out of food; customers were enraged.
Management stormed the castle, armed with corporate fury.”
Redshirt-clad folk hold the battle line
where human foibles, failings, follies, and frailties
intersect with all the craziness of life.
And so my son with red shirt on, I salute you,
go forth and fight until the battle’s won.