Laundry and Legacy


So, what I want to know is this: who’s the schmuck who keeps wearing all my socks and underwear? That stuff doesn’t wash itself you know! If I ever catch that guy, I’m having a few choice words with him. (Or her. My undies are very pretty.)

It’s been awhile or two since I’ve actually set down a blog. Now it’s time to buckle down and crank one out.

My life at work sometimes consumes me in ways I’d rather not think about. I’ve been doing mostly closing shifts, and subbing at 1-4 different stores a week, depending on how much the Scheduling Demon hates me that week. This leaves me loads of time in the morning to do stuff like dishes and crochet. I’ve done plenty of both, with an edge going to the crochet. What can I say… I like it more than dishes.

In my job, much like bartending, we occasionally get pulled into very strange conversations. The other day, out of the blue, someone asked me “If you could have anything written on your tombstone, what would it be?”

My first thoughts were to Oscar Wilde’s reported last words: “This wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. Either it goes or I do.”

Still, what a question! I’m cleaning an oven, here. Cut me some slack with the maudlin philosophy questions when I’m cleaning ovens.

So, on very short notice, my gloved hands covered in oven cleaner, I said the *second* thing that came to mind. I’ve thought of the conversation numerous times since, and I believe it still stands: I want people to say that I have made peoples’ lives happier.

I don’t mean funnier or more pleasant, or even “Wow, he was a nice guy.”  But that I made people smile; lift their spirits, even.

I realized, afterwards, is part of the company’s mission statement and I probably sounded like the worst kind of corporate shill: “When we are fully engaged, we connect with, laugh with, and uplift the lives of our customers – even if just for a few moments. Sure, it starts with the promise of a perfectly made beverage, but our work goes far beyond that. It’s really about human connection.”

The problem is–that’s exactly how I feel.  Whether I like it or not, I’m probably not gonna be remembered 300 years later. Even remarkably creative, intelligent and powerful people are hardly remembered after 20 years. The shelf life of one’s popularity is not tied to much of anything. Even genius. sure, we remember the Einsteins, Mozarts and Aristotles, but unless his name is on a bottle, who remembers a bartender? Don’t believe me? Other than Craig Mosher (Hi Craig!), can anyone name the five most important things William Henry Harrison did after he became president of the United States? And he was president! Yeah. History is an unbiased sifter of memories.

Anyway, if I can somehow, one day at a time, one drink at a time, make a person smile, that’s the best I can ask isn’t it? It’s not much of a legacy. I won’t leave much to my kids when I pass away; a bunch of half-finished doilies and a crappy computer, maybe. A rusted-out Ford sedan. But if, while I’m here, every day, I can make a few people smile, I think I’ll be okay.

By the way… Harrison called a special session of congress because they were deadlocked. Also, he died. that’s about it. I don’t think he had enough *time* to do five things.

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