Mike Rowe – So, where were we…

May 25, 2009

Ah yes, I remember – changing the way the way the country feels about hard work, celebrating the trades, and challenging the prevailing definition of a “good job.” It’s all coming back to me. Forgive my scarcity here of late – distractions mount from all sides, as vocation and vacation collide with personal injury and holiday festivities.

Let’s work backwards. Today started with a phone call from a retired general, who has become a friend and supporter of mrW. Retired generals get up early, even on Memorial Day, and this one is not terribly concerned about waking the lazy. We had a nice chat about this and that, and I hung up feeling foolish and petty for thinking my problems and challenges amounted to something more than hill of beans. The sacrifices these man and women make on our behalf is just so damn humbling, it’s a struggle to make anything else feel important in the shadow of their service. Semper Fidelis, General, and thanks to all who wear a uniform for our benefit.As for me, business is brisk, and I’m a lucky son of a gun. The prior two days were spent helping The Ford Motor Company get back on its feet. Perhaps I’m overstating it, but that’s how I prefer to characterize my participation in the madcap world of automobile advertising. We shot a series of commercials here in The Bay Area, featuring yours truly, and I suspect you’ll s ee them air in a week or so. There are a great many challenges facing American car makers, and I’m sympathetic to their current plight. True, much of the current drama in Detroit could have been avoided, but I’m happy that Ford had the guts to make some really hard decisions two years ago, and got themselves in a position where they didn’t have to take taxpayer money. Made me feel good about saying nice things about the company.

The day before that, I broke my ring finger in a recycling plant outside of Sacramento. Actually, I smashed the tip of it, and can do little now but watch the nail turn black and fall off. It happened in a classic sort of slapstick fashion, and involved me, a hammer, and the diabolical interior of a giant machine that turns computer hard drives into magnetized dust. The details are inconsequential – I only hope you find the outcome as amusing as Barsky did.

The day before that, I shot some wraps for a special inspired by an earlier question about Safety and Risk on Dirty Jobs. The special will be called Safety Third, and I fully suspect to be chastised at length for a point of view that many will misinterpret as caviler. No matter. I’ve been off of OSHA’s Christmas list for sometime. Between them and PETA, I’m losing friends faster than I can make ‘em. What can you do?

Before that, I spent several days with my masters in Silver Spring. This was an important and productive visit. My deal with the network has been extended, so for those of you who still crave new episodes of Dirt, fear not. Another Season – at least – is in the works. Other projects may also appear, with hints and overtones of mrW. Indeed, this little project has been the topic of much conversation with Powerful and Influential People, and I’m happy to say that Discovery and mrW may one day appear on the same business card, and perhaps other, more interesting places. Stand by on that one. I’d hate to jinx it with a lot of premature blather.

Immediately before my trip to DC, I mixed hundreds of cans of old paint together with a guy named Ooze (really), and shipped them to Africa so the Peace Corps Volunteers in Mali could paint school houses with my unique and exciting mauve colored hue. And before that, I made concrete tabletops at a custom shop in Moss Landing, just outside of Monterey, so rich people would have a suitable surface to crack their Dungeness Crab and sip Chardonnay. I’ve already forgotten the name of the place, but the people were great, the work was back-breaking, and it’ll be a good piece.

The memory truly gets sketchy around the events of the preceding week, which unfolded in Mexico, at a swanky resort a little north of Puerto Vallarta. The Swine Flu Panic was 24 hours old, kidnappings and gunplay were busting out all over, and a quiet getaway with the long suffering girl took an even weirder turn when two hundred liquo r salesmen from The Gallo Wine Company showed up for a giant corporate retreat. Normally, I would relish the opportunity to answer questions about Dirty Jobs in the company of professional drinkers, but this was not the promised agenda, and thing went horribly sideways. Naturally, I adapted, but came home with a pocketful of surgical masks, and the clear understanding that I owed the girl another swipe at some premeditated quietude.

Finally, I want to tell you that all is well with mrW. We’ve nearly completed the requirements for a non-profit foundation, which will allow me to do a variety of things I haven’t been able to address thus far. There is a lot of potential good news to share, but I’d prefer to wait until it’s more “good” then “potential.” A new look is forthcoming, and I’m more enthused than ever about the future.

Happy Memorial Day


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