The Power of Many Small Denominations, by Cassie McClure


With a limited budget, you are very slowly renovating a house built in the early 1960s. Like anyone who marveled at the condition of their home when they spent more time there at the start of the pandemic, my husband and I also decided to do some renovations in the form of paint, lights and a new medicine cabinet to our master bathroom.

Unfortunately, our stylish new medicine cabinet was just a little bigger than the previous one. When my husband took out the other one and wanted to cut the drywall he called me to come and see what he had found.

” Is this silver ? ” I recalled. I heard the mockery from another room. Instead, it was a pile of rusty razors on a wooden slat between the studs.

It turns out that back in the day medicine cabinets had a little slit that we didn’t notice until after we pulled out our own. These slits existed so that when someone was done with their razor, it could be slipped in to be thrown. Indeed, the razors would magically disappear and fill the empty space of your wall, only to be found by intrepid renovators decades later.

It’s easy to see this as an example of an old, generational habit of kicking the streets and emphasizing the privilege of not handling your waste, but it’s too easy. We are all drawn into systems that keep us complicit in things we should be doing and doing the hard work of self-reflection is not encouraged.

I used to think a lot about the song “Land of Confusion” by Phil Collins. Stay with me; this is where I see a feeling that is very familiar to my generation, especially with these lines: “My generation is going to fix it / We don’t just make promises / That we know we will never keep.”

There still seems to be hope, especially for young people, to bring about positive change. But increasing age is the time when life gets worse and people are stuck with the systems they ultimately find themselves in. These are systems that are not only inherited but unconsciously bequeathed.

I am not convinced by the idea that an entire bunch of people made decisions that they knew would destroy the future of their grandchildren and great grandchildren. It is usually a handful of people, who may have no appreciation for a heritage beyond wealth, who have made decisions for the system.

Leading figures like Elon Musk, Jeff Bezos, and Mark Zuckerberg shape their brands through their actions and wacky exterior behavior, but they’re the easy scapegoats to lash out against online. They are not as much of the problem as the many other high profile bosses who are unknown to us but who are always complicit in anything that could harm their community, and it is their community that should hold them accountable.

The mistake is to think that we are in their community. We’ll never find these bosses in the school queue, where you could pat them on the shoulder and strike up a conversation. Their children are not with our children; we are not in their sphere of influence.

Our influence is to pat the barista on the shoulder and ask if we can help pick up their children so they can go to a meeting where the staff will discuss unionization. It is asking a store manager, every time you shop, to stop stocking marks complicit in actions against their employees. It is emphasizing during a meeting that talking about your salary with your colleagues is not illegal.

Above all, try the latter. This will make a Zoom conversation beautifully awkward, especially when the silence is filled by how some of the attendees – as former supervisors, of course – were asked by their bosses to tell their employees not to talk about their pay. .

Then tell them again why it is illegal. Be the little razor and get people dealing with it now.

Cassie McClure is a writer, millennial and die-hard Oxford comma fan. She can be contacted at [email protected] To learn more about Cassie McClure and read articles from other Creators Syndicate authors and designers, visit the Creators Syndicate website at

Photo credit: PilotBrent at Pixabay

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