After doing the jobs most Americans won’t do, the man working in the shadows made his way in the castle like architectural building known as: Joliet Central. On September 12, Thompson honored our students and staff with his presence.
As he was summarizing his work, Thompson brought the book to life. He began to read from the second part of his journey. Having the man behind the book read from it brings a different atmosphere to his work. He read his own words to an audience of students who have read the same book not too long ago.
Thompson began to go in further detail about the struggles of the lives of those who lived like he did for months at a time. He was able to give up on this lifestyle any moment he so wished. Even though exposing these experiences to the world was quite the motivation, it wasn’t as great as the mothers and fathers who knew the moment they gave up, their lives would spiral down.
Before this project, Thompson didn’t necessarily understand the other side. After his trips to Mexico to visit his fellow lettuce cutters, talks with the men in DSI and IQF, and having a sociopath as a boss, he realized how dedicated these migrant workers really were.
Once his awe striking reading and compelling speech was over, he took questions from his readers in the audience. After overcoming their mild case of stage fright, questions began to ring in the auditorium. With Thompson hitting a variety of points throughout his speech, many types of questions were asked by Central students. One question Thompson was asked was where he attended college. He answered that he attended the School of Johnson Center. He was also asked if he could rename the book, what would he name it. After some thought, he replied that he liked the main title, but not so much the subtitle. His idea, which he couldn’t remember at the time, was changed during editing. He went on about editing and how an author’s work is often changed in the process. It may be for the better, but it sometimes takes away of the author’s point. Although his title was changed, Thompson didn’t think it impacted his work as negatively as he potentially could.
After all the students were able to ask their questions and get their books signed, the JTC Journal was able to get an exclusive interview with the man working in the shadows.
Q: How did you record notes for your work?
A: Since I was undercover, I couldn’t do what you’re doing. You are writing notes as I speak. If there was a quote, I either had to remember it, or make an excuse to go to the bathroom and send myself a little reminder over text.
Q: Did you happen to keep a log of your weight change throughout your various jobs?
A: When you’re out there, you are extremely limited. As interesting as it would be to do that, I wasn’t able to. I didn’t have a scale.
Q: When you had this project in mind, did you intend to focus on the jobs or the immigrants working behind them?
A: It was both. I picked careers that were difficult, but that involved those hidden workers. People don’t know how much these workers and their efforts impact us. In the winter, the last person who touched the lettuce in our salad, is the person in Yuma, Arizona who cut it.