The Spelvins Meet the Unions, by Westbrook Pegler

The Spelvins Meet the Unions

by Westbrook Pegler

(From George Spelvin, American and Fireside Chats, 1942, pp. 65-69)

As George Spelvin, American, was shaving himself one day last week, all of a sudden, wham! a half-brick fans our friend's ear and busts a gouge of plaster out of the wall. Mr. Spelvin took a look out of the window and saw a whole mob of guys walking up and down wearing signs reading "George Spelvin unfair to organized labor." "George Spelvin is a dirty fink," "Spelvin is a scab," and so forth.

"Hey, what's your trouble?" Mr. Spelvin demanded.

"Boo!""Lousy scab!""Fink!"Rat!" the mob yelled back.

"Why, you no-good bums," Mr. Spelvin yelled, losing his temper, "I been a union man twenty years, and most of you dirty bums couldn't even get into a union. Who the hell sent you around here, anyway?"

"The barbers' union sent us," yelled the spokesman. "The barbers declare George Spelvin unfair because he shaves himself."

"Well, that's a hot one," Mr. Spelvin said. "According to that, the barbers ought to beat the ears off the whole crowd of you mugs because you ain't even washed your ugly mushes in a year, much less bought you a shave."

Well, just about then Mr. Spelvin's loving old lady pokes her head out of the kitchen and yipped: -- "Hey, Pa, come here. There's a lot of bums out in back here walking up and down insulting me!"

"No kidding," said George. "What about?"

"Come on and look, you dirty coward!" Mrs. Spelvin yelled back. "Why would I be kidding about guys insulting me? I haven't been insulted that way in twenty years. These mugs are insulting me about union stuff." So George went back to the kitchen just as a target egg skushed against the window and some cabbages and things landed on the porch.

"Hey!" George yelled. "Are you guys out of your mind? What's the idea heaving stuff at my love bower and yelling insults at my dream girl?"

"Your old lady is unfair to organized labor," one guy hollered.

"For gossakes, brother, you're leaping," George said. "My old lady ain't union, mister, nor non-union or anything else. Union is just no never mind one way or another with her. She is a home girl. She don't have no job. Try next door."

"No, not next door. George Spelvin's old lady is a dirty fink, scab, rat, bum! Boo!" the one guy yelled. And the rest of the crowd kind of liked the sound of that, so they started dancing up and down and yelling, "Fink!" "Scab!" "Rat!" "Bum!" "Boo!" over and over.

"Puddin'," George said to his wife,"No foolin'. Have you been two-timing me, out holding down a job on me while I'm away at work?"

The old girl gave him a look.

"Somebody must be nuts," she said. "Where would I be getting time to hold down a job? And, anyway, do you think I am that crazy about work?"

"George Spelvin's old lady is unfair to the laundry workers," a mug yelled. "She does her own washing."

"Oh! Now it comes out," the old girl said, "Well, my hero it looks like you will have to stake me to laundry dough after this."

"And Spelvin's old lady is unfair to the teamsters," another guy said. "She carries her groceries home from the cash store to save delivery expenses. She is unfair to the bookkeepers, too, by not having a charge account. And unfair to the garment workers because she makes her own clothes. And George is unfair to the waiters because he carries his lunch -- the dirty fink, scab, rat, bum, boo! And he's a crumb to the bus drivers' union because he walks to work, and the brewery workers are on him because he boycotted them when he went up the pole New Year's. Dirty fink, scab, rat, bum, boo, and so is his old lady!"

George's manhood got sore at that, and he was just about to tear out and start belting when the phone rang. It was George's own union, and the guy on the other end said, "Everybody turn out and picket 222 Slug Street. Barbers, laundry guys, teamsters, bus drivers, bookkeepers, garment guys and waiters got some guy down for being unfair. It ain't our headache, but we got to stand together. Bring your old lady, too."

So what do you know? Day after day old George and the No. 1 Doll have been flat-footing up and down in front of their own love nest and heaving stuff at their own windows and yelling, "Fink, scab, rat, bum, boo, and so is his old lady!"

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