The following and all of the other episodes to come are snapshots of what goes on in my head, now and in the past. There are times none of this will make sense. There will be times when I might get lucky and the blog I post will be well constructed and will flow like a mountain stream to an awaiting lake below. Other times it will seem like the ramblings of a madman and you’ll ask yourself, “What the……?”
You should probably get used to the latter.
EPISODE ONE HUNDRED NINETY NINE: AUTHOR, CREATOR, (SIGH) JANITOR.
“There is nothing noble in being superior to your fellow man; true nobility is being superior to your former self.”
― Ernest Hemingway
Yep. It’s true.
I wrote a book.
I am now a published author, and my book is for sale on Amazon. I even have a box of my books for sale, if you would care for one. I’ve even had people buy my book and take a picture of it to show that they did. Every one of those pictures of people saying that they purchased it has filled me with a sense of pride and accomplishment.
The book went on sale the Monday before Thanksgiving the year 2020.
The following Monday, I went back to work…
…as a janitor.
I clean the bathrooms, halls, and classrooms of a local high school.
I am an author/janitor.
I work with some good people, and my boss is a pretty good guy. I’m thankful for that.
But is this something I want to do?
The simple answer is no. I never wanted to clean-up after anybody that wasn’t related to me or that was close to me.
It is merely a job that I’m performing until I find something more, something better for me.
It’s not like I’m against getting my hands dirty. I’ve always been somebody that doesn’t mind getting messy when it was called for. And since I’ve been cleaning up bathrooms after teenagers (and adults), I have seen some pretty disgusting things.
I’ve also developed a massive respect for those that have done it before me.
But is it for me?
And, understand this, I’m not saying I’m better than the job.
I am saying that it’s not a job I want to do, and it’s not one that I want to retire from. I want to do something I’m happy with.
I recently told some of the teachers that I wrote a book. A few looked at me as if I was a child, saying I went to the moon. They nodded and gave me a smile that said ‘oh… sure you did’. Their faces were trying to mask the non-belief that poked through from underneath. I saw it. I think I’m pretty good at reading people (one of my self-admitting talents), and I saw their doubt. Then I would show them that it was available on Amazon. That look would change from suspicion to one of wonderment.
Most of these teachers would nod and say ‘great‘ and move along.
Then there were a couple that believed and congratulated me with positive reinforcement. They didn’t see me as a janitor; they saw me as a fellow human being with goals and ambitions. It made coming clean worthwhile.
We make assumptions about people and what we see them doing to pay the bills. I’m putting myself in this group, too. Yeah, I did it. I’m guilty. I’ve seen someone doing a menial task and assumed they had a low IQ or maybe had a troubled past, and this was all they could get.
I couldn’t have been more wrong.
And now, I find myself on the other side, where people make assumptions about me and what I’m doing for a living.
Now, I think of this job as more than a way to help put some food on the table. It’s a humbling experience, an experience that I needed, something to learn from and pass on. It has become a teachable moment. And I consider myself lucky to get this life lesson.
I’ve also learned I’m pretty good at cleaning things, especially windows.
But don’t ask me to come to clean yours. You can’t afford me.
Until I find something more to my liking, something more creative, or start writing for a living, or winning the lottery, I guess there I’ll be, sweeping, mopping, cleaning toilets, taking out the trash, and so on. I’ll continue to learn and enjoy my humble pie. Let the non-believers in my talents keep right on not believing. Maybe I’ll remember how they are and put them down in one way or another in a future story—sweet revenge in fiction.
Maybe you’re in the same situation. Perhaps, like me, COVID came and took your job, and to help make ends meet, you found yourself in a position of necessity. Don’t be downhearted. You might learn something you needed to know or be reminded of something that you might have forgotten. Please take it in stride and do your best at whatever it is.
And remember, you’re a survivor.
I plan to keep writing and to keep on dreaming.
And you know what? I can write in my head and dream… while I clean.
-Loyd Elmore Jr
June 4th, 2021
I’ve decided to keep a blog about how I’m dealing with depression. I’m going to consider this a form of therapy. It might not help anybody else but it might help me.