I just decided something and I had to write it down. It had to be on a public forum like the JAM because it only solidifies and validates it…if I wrote this on a post-it note or stored it into my cell phone, the idea likely wouldn’t see the light of day again. If I didn’t write this down my unfaithful memory would only serve as an excuse to never turn the idea into a reality, losing it as I have lost so many other amazing ideas to the past. By writing this down and by not following up, I would have reason to feel regret and consequently I should have much more reason to actually follow up. And so I write.
My idea is that I will spend every Saturday from here into the unforeseeable future, except those Saturdays that fall on a recognized holiday or those that are part of a larger chain of days involving a vacation, or simply those where I need a break…I will spend every Saturday learning something new. It is as simple as it sounds. But I will not allow it to be simple, and I won’t devote my time to getting lost on Wikipedia or just asking an old person lots of questions. I am going to spend my Saturdays DOING something new, learning a new trade or skill, experiencing tasks that millions of people around the world call jobs, or hobbies that people are passionate about. I am going to become an apprentice in as many different arenas that I can possibly imagine. I am going to offer my labor for free in return for free lessons, working with masters of trades and hopefully acquiring a small part of their knowledge. I am going to create a symbiotic relationship with as many people that I can, providing my service for a share of their wisdom.
I have been working at a fine dining restaurant for the past few months, every Saturday in this fashion, and I just realized this to be a good starting block. I have done lots of food prep and began to understand the intricacies of the restaurant industry. I am going to continue doing this for as long as I see fit, and then I will move on. Maybe I will work with crab fishermen or auto mechanics at some point. Maybe I will start working at a gallery or baseball stadium. I don’t know what will come next, but I also know what will not. I will not become an apprentice to a prostitute. I will not work with a plumber. I will also never work behind a meter maid. This is a very loose idea right now and despite these limitations I will just take each week as it comes. But as each one does, I hope to learn a bit about the world. What better way to do so than through the eyes of the everyday blue collar working man? Since I waited tables for a few months I’ve been a firm believer that everyone should do the same at least once in their life. I have no statistics to cite here but I think it’s safe to assume that 99.99% (fake statistic!) of Americans will eat out at a restaurant at some point, and they will interact with a waiter. So we should all know what it’s like to be a waiter. It’s the same reason I want to visit India and China. 2 out of every 7 people in this world are Indian or Chinese…that’s nearly 30% (real statistic!). If 30% of the people in this world are experiencing Indian or Chinese culture, then I think everyone should experience the same. And so I want to experience the common, the myriad, the likely boring jobs that many experience every day. Kind of like Mike Rowe on Dirty Jobs, hold the Dirty.
This post is my proclemation, for myself and for its 17 readers to bear witness to, that I will follow up on this. I mean ultimately I might not…I might leave Omaha some day for a city where I have friends and be able to spend time on a Saturday with people I enjoy. If that happens, then my apprenticeships won’t. But hell, this is a pretty good idea in my eyes, a good way to learn about people and have new experiences, and I’m hoping I follow through. Maybe I’ll write a book about it one day. Maybe I’ll become a hero. Maybe I’ll win a Nobel Prize and get optioned for a movie. But I definitely won’t get herpes, because I won’t apprentice as a prostitute. The only thing holding me back here is my own ambition, and the fact that lots of jobs just aren’t done on Saturdays…but the ambition thing, that’s something to keep in mind.