Real estate

My painful, sweaty, scary life as a mover

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Whenever being a film critic gets me down, say after watching “Bad Words,” I remind myself: At least it isn’t 2 a.m. on a sweltering August night with two more truckloads of 400-pound industrial sewing machines to be carried up to the fourth floor.

For years I was a mover. My father was a mover, and his father was a mover. The company, Keough’s Express, founded in 1916, consisted of, as my father put it, a “fleet of truck.” I spent summers moving every crazy person in the Back Bay, and winter weekends waiting for the truck to warm up, hoping it would break down and we could all go home.

But I did learn a marketable skill. And in the fallow days between getting a BA in English and going to graduate school at the University of Illinois at Chicago, I applied for a job at a moving company called Marakesh Express.

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