Nin Andrews

The Hardworking Man
July 22, 2011 Andrews Nin

The Hardworking Man



On the island where I grew up, the hardworking man is the ideal man.  The hardworking man is both master and slave, boss and lackey, hunter and hunted.  Let’s go! he says to himself every morning as he rushes out of bed, barely pausing to brush his teeth.  Let’s slay some wild beasts.   No matter how fast he runs, no matter how hard he works, it is never enough for the hardworking man.  From time to time, he whips himself to make himself work a little harder.  Then he whips himself again.  Again and again he whips himself.  But even the whipping, he soon realizes, is not enough.  So he visits the local whip shop and buys himself new whips.  He purchases just the right whips for a hardworking man, along with a special tote bag for his whips.  At the end of the day, the hardworking man thinks of all he did not accomplish during the day in spite of his new whips.  Soon he is inconsolable and rushes home to sob in his wife’s lap.  Tomorrow, she says to him.  Tomorrow is another day.  You will feel better tomorrow.  When tomorrow comes, the hardworking man does feel better! Hurray! he says as he rushes out of bed, into the kitchen, and then out into the light, coffee cup and whip bag in hand.


An aficionado of whips, the hardworking man knows one new whip is never enough.  He must the local whip shop at least once a month, if not every week.  He doesn’t want to slack off on the job, and he is always in search of the ideal whip, the whip that can whip him into shape.  Of course, the selection at the whip shop is dizzying to behold.  Even an aficionado needs a sales clerk to help him select the perfect whip. After all, there are all kinds of whips for all kinds of hardworking men: whips for the first time buyers, whips for the experienced whippers, whips for the experts and masters.  There are whips for executives, whips for the ordinary men, and whips for lost souls.  There are whips made of nylon and synthetic fibers, whips  of kangaroo hide and snake skins, and whips of silk and organic cotton. There are whips for delicate moments and whips for lasting impressions, and there are soft and sensual whips that barely whip at all but leave a little sting or nip like a suggestion of whip or a memory of a much-loved whipper or whippee.  For the collectors of whips, there are accessories including whip holsters and whip sacks, as well as whip stickers, books, and badges.  Every hardworking man knows his whips are for him alone.  His whips are like his soul. His whips are what add that extra vim to his life.  A hardworking man never shares his whips with anyone else, not even his wife. Though every woman knows she must know what really whips a man.  For to know a man’s whips is to know the man she loves.

Nin Andrews’ poems have appeared in many literary journals and anthologies including Ploughshares, Agni, The Paris Review, and four editions of Best American Poetry. The author of seven chapbooks and seven full-length poetry collections, she has won two Ohio individual artist grants, the Pearl Chapbook Contest, the Kent State University chapbook contest, the Gerald Cable Poetry Award, and the Ohioana 2016 Award for poetry. She is also the editor of a book of translations of the Belgian poet, Henri Michaux, called Someone Wants to Steal My Name. Her book, The Last Orgasm, was published by Etruscan Press in 2020.