“The World Needs Ditch Diggers Too…”

CHEVY 2012 JULY3“The World Needs Ditch Diggers Too…”

No lie, those are the only words of wisdom I remember my high school guidance counselor telling me, and I’m sure it’s not so, but I would hope I am the only person who ever received such stellar guidance.

It’s possible he possessed a wicked sense of sardonic humor, which I mistakenly took for lack of his confidence in my intellect… And it is also possible that, “the world needs ditch diggers too…” was his unique way of motivating students to apply themselves more. Sort of like just saying the punchline to a cautionary tale…

It wasn’t that I was a poor student, by any means… But in high school I was more concerned about missing opening day of trout season when taking the SAT then scoring well… And I wasn’t informed to what a GPA was till after my first semester at a local county college, when I asked someone, “What are all these numbers next to this ‘GPA’ thing?postcard - breaking bad Clovis - cropped front” (For the record, I graduated with a 3.36 from a quality state school with a Biology major, Chem minor with emphases in Business and Communications.)

Anyway… “The world needs ditch diggers too…”

I am not able to tell you his intent… But by no means am I putting down any one that does any manual labor sort of job… Throughout my high school and college years, I did dig ditches… move refrigerators/furniture… landscaped… did construction jobs… helped put in sewer lines… I also bar-tended… assistant managed… worked retail… waited tables… worked for the State Of New Jersey in the Department Of Agriculture (wet chemistry)… mixed chemicals for a photo lab… worked in a day care… I did a lot of stuff to get by and pay for my own school.

volunteer muck shovelFor quite a while now I’ve been fortunate to have made a living as a television actor, with occasional earnings as an author, screenwriter, playwright, singer, stage actor, voice-over artist, photographer, editor, improvisor…  And I will happily admit that in the past decade I have done several jobs where I’ve dug ditches (as a volunteer).

Thankfully, where-ever I learned it from along the way, I have never been one to allow what I am currently doing define who I am, or what I may be capable of achieving.

This week I’m shooting a national commercial for a global company where I’ll play a construction worker… Yup, I suppose, a “ditch digger.” And as those who have followed my acting career for the past twenty years, it’s not by far the first time I’ve played one, and hopefully won’t be the last.

Perhaps when my guidance counselor gave me that gift of word-turds, the last time I talked to him or any other “guidance counselor” for that matter, he was simply a visionary… Seeing me through his enlightened mind’s eye, playing blue collar roles as an actor… Mechanics, plumbers, cops, firemen, construction workers…

I know I owe a ton of thanks to all those who instilled in me that our exteriors do not have to define our interiors… That pasts do not have to dictate future paths… That we should constantly question authority… Never stop challenging ourselves… And what we do to make a living, does not define who we are or who we will become.

– Quiche Out

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