I Like Mike

~ Written by Jim Lloyd ~

I have followed Mike Rowe for many years in his various exploits in the social/entertainment media including the popular Dirty Jobs show. Recently, this blog included a couple clips from him regarding the topic of dirty jobs VS. a dignified four year college degree. Mike, I love ya, but you’re fifty years too late! Please permit me to illustrate with a brief autobiographical tale.

I vividly remember being shown the headline story of the Punxsutawney (PA) Spirit newspaper in 1957. My father was in a minor state of rage that the dirty communist Russians had successfully sent a satellite in orbit around the Earth. (Sputnik) First. Before US! He swore to God then and there that both my brother and I were going to college, getting a degree, and making something of ourselves! No questions allowed. We were going to help close the gap between the lousy communist b——s and ourselves! (Public note… today, do our graduates from public schools even know what communism was? Or is? It does not seem politically correct to even broach the subject. Especially with one in the White House!)

So my brother and I went through school aimed at college. No questions. And along the way, there developed an intense societal snobbery all through the sixties and seventies against any who preferred working with their hands for a living. At my four thousand plus student high school in Ohio, we mockingly referred to many of them as the ‘machine shop wonders’. This was because the school system had an extensive program teaching welding, machining, pipe-fitting, auto repair… you know, all those positions in life that we now know made one wealthy and secure. Few schools now days have those programs.

Photo Credit: Public Domain http://www.acclaimimages.com/_gallery/_pages/0420-0906-2817-0612.html

Then came graduation day from college in 1971. We stood there radiant in our caps and gowns muttering aloud “What now?” Way back then as now, the broken American upper-educational system is only about making money for the college. It does not prepare one for earning a living. It prepares one for repaying crushing loans. But isn’t that what most of our lives are about anyway? Mike’s so right! I worked as a manufacturer’s representative for decades and made money, but did not love it.

Then I remembered my best friend’s father’s advise on graduation day back in 1971. “Do what you love in life, and the money will take care of itself.” I’ve loved boating since before I ever saw a large body of water. (Genetic memory?) So we moved to Florida and I became a yacht broker. But getting back to the point of this tale, society has steered the young away from getting their hands dirty for a long, long time. And it ain’t done this country any good what-so-ever. Societal pressures steer our young toward a totally broken upper-educational system bent only on making money and teaching values totally inconsistent with the values that founded this great nation and made it the best in history. And this sick and broken value system is perpetuated by the media, teacher’s unions (the scourge of our nation), and liberal politics.

Lead on Mike! Wake the sleeping masses. And may some of the first awake be right here in Dear Little Lake Park!