On some days I pick up trash for a living. I walk along the side of the road picking up trucker’s pee-bottles and old Burger King wrappers. I then tread large parking lots and remove whatever debris that folks feel necessary to dump outside of their car door.
It’s not the most illustrious career in the world but I enjoy doing it, and I do it well. I believe there is a degree of humility to be had in taking a job that no one wants to do and trying to do it exceptionally well.
I didn’t go to twelve years of college to pick up garbage, but then again, I don’t why I went to twelve years of college (maybe I thought it was an endurance sport…so I win?). Maybe picking up trash was what I was cut out to do. If so, it seems to suit me.
I enjoy being outside. I enjoy my time in thought. I appreciate having a body that is acclimated to the heat and I feel fortunate to be capable of working directly in the sun for long periods of time. I am grateful to have legs that allow me to cover large amounts of ground without growing weary and a back that is strong which allows me to bend over a pick things up from the ground.
Both of my grandfathers would be proud of the job that I do picking up trash. There was no work that was “beneath” them. I remember my dad saying,
“You take the president of a major corporation and a garbage collector, have both of them not do their jobs for a few weeks, and let me know which one has more of a direct impact.”
I believe my grandparents probably broke bread with many more folks who were closer towards picking up trash on the side of the road than they were to leading major corporations. However, I don’t really know. My family never placed a label on people. I don’t remember anyone being a “just” this or “only” that and I don’t recall being told to act any different because of someone’s position in life. Our manners were universal in every situation and pleases and thank-yous were not reserved for a particular status- they were a requirement, always, no exceptions.
I was never told to be a CEO or a janitor. I was never pushed in the direction of the lawyer or the cashier. I was taught to work hard and take some pride in what I do.
There is dignity in every job if I try to perform it well.
Doing my best at the task at hand is all that has ever been asked of me, the rest of the pressure I have created on my own through an ego for which I am responsible on a stage in which no one else is watching.
Peace, Love, and all things Beef related,