Monday, May 4, 2015

Service Before Self - novel by Tegon Maus

You think all that bullying, hazing, posturing, chest-beating and battle for dominance is over when you graduate high-school? Think again! For some people, adult life is one big smelly locker-room. Welcome to the world of Handy Dandy Services, where sweat, cigarette smoke and testosterone flow freely. The motto of the company is humorously pompous "Service Before Self", denoting self-sacrifice, even martyrdom. And sure enough, there is an element of martyrdom to what the employers endure on daily basis.
Meet Toby, a down-on-his-luck rookie who joins the team for lack of more attractive job prospects. In a post-recession world, it's not uncommon to work jobs that are far from intellectually stimulating.  I'm sure many readers can relate to the scenario.  He is assigned to assist Ryan, a sullen veteran. At first Ryan cold-shoulders his green partner, but quickly morphs into a mixture of bully, mentor and confidant.
The author understands human nature keenly and bitterly. His characters are seemingly unsophisticated men, yet they make very astute observations about the human nature. Servicemen are the unsung heroes. They are perceived almost like inanimate objects by those who use their services, breathing robots. "If you're in a nice house and looking around they think you're casing the place. If you're in a crap house, they think you're looking down your nose at them. Never give them the chance to think that. Never react to what you see, what you hear, what you smell." Ironically, for Toby, it becomes increasingly difficult not to react to his partner. Ryan becomes a source of fascination, frustration and terror for the young rookie.

The novel was clearly written with deep knowledge of the handyman's mentality and the human nature in general. It's a disturbingly funny belated coming-of-age story.
About the Author
Tegon Maus lives in California with his wife of 40+ years. A veteran entrepreneur who made a career in remodeling, he is intimately acquainted with the psyche of a contractor.  Please visit his website for more of his quirky dark writing.

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