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Odd Jobs - 5423
Will day four be the peripeteia?
In the off chance I’ve caught you early enough, allow me to be the first to say to you today: May the Fourth be with you. Let’s jump in …
The Daily Rabbit Hole: Steve Jobs’ FBI File
“549-94-3295” - Steve’s social security number. For real.
From July 2005 until September 2012, there was one show that belied the conventional wisdom of the era’s style, and as a result had an intense cultural impact. Dirty Jobs, hosted by Mike Rowe, might be the only TV show title to out-literal The Office. The spotlight around Rowe grew big enough that in the middle of its arc, Rowe was invited to deliver a TED Talk. In it, he calls attention to Aristotelian definition of a tragedy: “that moment when the hero comes face to face with his true identity.”
The only reason I know this talk exists, is because I once came across the fact that Rowe got his start as a professional opera singer and somehow had backed my way into watching his delivery on stage and was suddenly wondering, wait what is YOUR true identity man?
Rowe flexes an astonishingly academic, yet perfectly poetic muscle throughout his talk. The point of the show was to reveal the lives of the people behind dirty jobs you and I don’t have to do, and somehow I was still blown away by my own ignorance turned knowledge (anagnorisis) about this man’s perspective.
The ‘Wait, What?’ Vortex: The Library of Congress
“Only three librarians of Congress have been actual librarians.”
This … explains a lot actually.
Obsessed With Our Titles
Librarians who aren’t librarians, the host of a show called “Dirty Jobs” being capable of teaching a classics course, and Steve Jobs having an FBI file because they were kicking around him taking a government position and title in the George H.W. Bush administration …
The title(s) we’re given after we’re dead and gone are likely the only ones that might be accurate about us. I clarify “might” simply because come on, we all know someone who is going to lie about us after we’re six feet deep. Living humans who haven’t finished their part of the story yet are never aptly prescribed a title, with perhaps the lone exception of Sir Michael Caine.
Look no further than an unassuming young teenager from San Francisco …
Around 1944, at the age of sixteen, she became the first black woman to command the post of a streetcar conductor in San Francisco. “I saw women on the street cars with their little changer belts. They had caps with bibs on them and form-fitting jackets. I loved their uniforms. I said that is the job I want,” she recollected this life anecdote in 2013. Being a black woman within the context of the mid-twentieth century with World War II in full swing made it preternaturally difficult for her to get the job. Her mother advised as she pursued the position, “Go down everyday and be there before the secretaries get there and read your big Russian books and sit there until they leave.” After two weeks, the young woman got her “dream job” when a man came out of his office no longer able to ignore the sixteen year old reading Fyodor Dostoevsky in the application office nestled in downtown San Francisco.
This, of course, is the story of Maya Angelou told through quotes she gave in an interview with Oprah Winfrey. You know, the famous “Streetcar Conductor Angelou.”
So do I think titles in the here and now matter?
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