Einstein, Gandhi, Sun Tzu and...The Dishwasher

Editor gains inspiration from unusual source

Sometimes, I wonder how most people measure success. Do you have to finish college and go off to grad-school? Or maybe just acquiring a degree from college is enough. For some, maybe washing dishes is all they want to do with their lives.

That was the case for a man I recently heard about on National Public Radio. Pete Jordan, also known as Dishwasher Pete, believes his life's calling is, as some would say, "merely" to wash dishes.

As I listened to this man read part of his book and recount his life experiences and aspirations to wash dishes in every state, I realized how skewed my perception of success and failure actually are sometimes. And I realized how skewed America's views about success can sometimes be.

But this is not to say dish washing is or is not a successful profession, but everything is relative to a person's own point of view.

Would I be happy as a dishwasher forever? No. In fact, speaking from experience, I would hate myself if I allowed myself to wash dishes eight hours a day for the rest of my life. But for Pete, it suits his situation and needs, and he's set his own goals that have made his dish washing experience sound pretty fantastic.

And he's happy. Why would you want to change that?

This is the point where a lot of people who measure success by sums of money would begin forcing Mr. Jordan into a suit and encourage him to move up the chain.

Why not try to get a cooking position? Then a management spot. Then you can own your own business! All the while, systematically having the remains of his soul that loved dish washing dissolved and scrubbed away in the oblivion and his happiness washed down the drain. At least he lived up to someone else's invention of success.

But Jordan didn't want that. He wanted to wash dishes. His desire is so pure and simple that for someone as neurotic as myself it's mind numbing to wrap my head around.

I had to ask myself, "What would Shawn be doing if he could break down the molecules of his desire into their simplest organic components?"

Well, I would probably still be OK with writing. It takes me back to the days of junior high school and blogging all the complex thoughts that no one else could understand because I'm just so sensitive and deep and like an onion with so many unique layers that people would be fond of if they could only comprehend, which is why I had to post them all onto this blog so people could know how awesome I really am.... I've lost those delusions, but I like writing, so I'll keep that going.

And being a writer is a profession if you're good at it. Whether I am is questionable, but it's kind of like washing dishes to me, so I'll keep it going.

I just need subjects to write about, so what am I interested in? Bicycles, Europeans, coffee, Vick's humidifier and pillow forts are a few interests. Of the first five that came to mind, I could probably have careers in only two of them.

I could write descriptions for bags of coffee beans or about bicycles and why I firmly believe people who ride bicycles are superior beings. The other three I could work into hobbies, I guess.

But for me, reading and writing about bicycles is what I like to do. I don't really write about them because its winter in Wyoming, and nobody cares, but I have a path, and that's a start.

And writing about other topics is pretty all right. People need to know about board of trustees, basketball and other subjects I sometimes write about.

And people definitely need to read my opinions on a monthly basis. God only knows where Laramie County Community College would be if not for my self-deprecating rants fueled by my ever-balding scalp or "Lord of the Rings" references.

So it would appear both the guy who washes dishes and I have found our respective niches, and I encourage all of you LCCC students to use the same process when determining your future. First, think of what you like to do; i.e. baking, drawing, administering sedatives to things.

Now name a few things you like; i.e. tall cakes, elf-ogre hybrids and kittens.

Now make a career by combining the two lists. Using the examples, you could become a cake chef, live with your parents forever or be a veterinarian.

Always double-check with a friend to make sure the two you pair don't get you involved in the wrong niche like people who administer sedatives in tall cakes.

But, the main point of this month's rant is you can be successful doing anything you choose as long as you are happy and it suits you. Not everyone needs grad school, and dish washing is a valid and noble profession.

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