We All Scoop it Somehow

A Potential Client

A Potential Client

My “Creativity Training for Writers” class draws to a close this week. It has been a wonderful journey. Along the way, we’ve had some great discussions and tackled some fun “jump start” assignments.

One of those assignments was for us to either:
– Reach into our wallets and grab a random business card
– Go to a junk drawer or other type of clutter collector in our homes and, without looking, grab an item

Once we had our item or card, we were to complete a no more than 500 word short story or essay based on it. Since I’ve been writing nothing but fiction for several months, I chose to flex my essay-writing muscles. I had pulled my friend Mike’s card from my wallet. Mike’s job is to … well, if I throw that out here it kind of blows the essay.

So instead, I’ll just share what came out:

After my annual conference, my wallet is swollen like a well-fed tick, full of a new collection of colleague‘s business cards. I dumped them onto my desk last night. The contact information of software managers, techies and consultants tumbled out in a patchwork quilt.

Nestled in the pile was a card I’d stuffed in there long ago. It belongs to my friend Mike, and reads “technician.” At first glance, you’d think he was just another computer guru. But looking closer, you see his card features a grinning, happy dog surrounded by flowers.

My friend Mike scoops poop for a living.

I’ve never tagged along with him the job, but our conversations tell me how they go. Each morning he climbs into his lime-green work truck and travels to the yards of his clients. The frequency of his visits is determined by the workload coming out of the pups at each residence. At some houses, he works in solitude, with just his pooper-scooper for company. At others, he is greeted by the pooch who has generated his work, or stops to chat with the doody-maker‘s owner.

I’ve heard Mike talking with others about his job. Why, they wonder, when there are so many things one can do for a living, would he choose to spend his days dealing with dog doody? I must admit that when Mike first told me about his work, I wondered myself. But looking at all my business cards, these tiny representations of many work-personas, I began to understand.

Each day, I am bombarded by calls and emails complaining about what our system will and will not do. I attend meetings where the same issues are rehashed endlessly. We scramble to do everything for everyone with far too few resources to do so. We shift priorities and work long hours only to be met with new complaints.

In other words, we clean up a different kind of doody with another kind of pooper scooper.

Unlike Mike, we clean up our doody while staring at computer monitors until our heads and eyes ache. While he’s enjoying the freedom of working independently, the company of man’s best friend, sunshine, and exercise, we are encased in our stodgy business clothes and growing stiff-muscled and pale in fluorescent office lighting.

We often assume that work that comes with a title and prestige is key to a good life. For some that may be true, but there’s something to be said for spending your days enjoying your surroundings and working with a sense of peace. At the end of the day, I often carry stress that stoops my shoulders and zaps my energy. Mike comes home with a spring in his step.

Almost every profession comes with a heaping load of doody that you’ll have to clean up, and it almost always stinks. Make sure you’ve chosen the one that smells the least offensive to you.

Note: Since I just recently shared here that I am working on a new piece of short fiction inspired by a news story about a mailman who took a dump in someone’s yard, I realize I’m risking being stereotyped as a “poop writer” by posting this too. While I’m totally okay with being pegged as a genre writer at some stage in the game, I certainly hope this one isn’t it.

About hawleywood40

Writer, Steelers Fan in Baltimore, Frequent Visitor to the Shot Fairy
This entry was posted in Personal Development Mumbo-Jumbo Stuff, Work, Writing and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to We All Scoop it Somehow

  1. Ruth Knox says:

    I really, really want to say “what a load of crap!” just because….. okay, I got that out of my system. Actually I was stunned that you could create such a great piece out of your friend’s business card. And not only was it interesting, but when you noted that we all clean up crap for a living only in a different locale with a different kind of scoop, I was blown away. I never thought about it before, but it’s true. I can’t tell you how many times in my business life I thought of running for the door, getting some business cards made up, and scooping poop for a living. On tough days at the office, it suddenly seems very attractive! Great piece! – Ruth Knox –

  2. tsonoda148 says:

    I love this story. I would like to thank all the pooper-scooping entrepreneurs out there for helping keep the bottoms of my shoes doody-free. That is, except for the guy/girl who works the putting court in our apartment complex. Has it been your day off for the past two weeks? I’ve started taking a baggie with me whenever I want to practice my putting. (That just sounded wrong, didn’t it?).

    Seriously, I liked this piece because you found something positive about a job that most people wouldn’t even consider. Nice!

  3. akamonsoon says:

    Bravo Pam! Great writing. I loved how you were able to use it as an analogy to describe most professions. Your note at the bottom is great too. And no, I will typecast you into a certain genre. It would just be a poopy thing to do. 😉

  4. hawleywood40 says:

    Thanks all – I think of this as I go about my own daily doody-scooping. There are days I’d love to be able to take the paycut I’d take to go work in a pet store or kennel as a cage cleaner!

  5. I see that you are working your magic as always, Keep it up !

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