‘Mindless work’ seems better compared to course load


I sat in the Roof Garden of Harborview at 3 a.m. Thursday a little dejected, taking a Seinfeld break from studying thermodynamics.
I’m sure Kramer didn’t know how to analyze the efficiency of an ideal regenerative power cycle with dual turbines either, and he seemed to be doing all right for himself. I thought to myself, “Maybe I’ll just drop out and do whatever Kramer was doing.”
I was also thinking about how for the first time this semester, I missed the mind-numbingly simple jobs I had at home over the summer.
“Once you get the hang of the routine, it’s mindless work,” my boss encouragingly told me on the first day of my painting job.
“You could teach a monkey to do it.”
“Great, I’ve finally made it,” I thought to myself.
We mostly painted apartments and townhouses. Painting over white walls with white paint day after day wasn’t the most exciting job in the world, but being on a crew with several other college students made the days go by a little faster.
I’m pretty sure my boss won’t be reading this, so it’s OK for me to admit that we screwed around a lot. We made stupid bets for slices of pizza at lunch, listened to a lot of music and only occasionally spilled paint all over someone’s floor.
I also worked for my buddy, Jack, making grilled cheese at the Erie County Fair later in the summer. If you think you already know how to make the perfect grilled cheese, you are sadly mistaken. Let me take a little pride in this because it’s about one of the only things I can cook. Pepper jack and bacon, buffalo chicken, Italian, you name it, we were tossing it on the grill and satisfying fairgoers’ cheesy cravings five minutes later.
For probably the entire second half of summer, I couldn’t wait to be back at Gannon. I looked back on those exact moments slouched in my chair in the Roof Garden, defeated, and thought, “Yeah, that really wasn’t so bad.”
It’s funny how I couldn’t think positively like that about my summer jobs back when I could hardly find the will to pour another bucket of paint, or fire up the grill for another day-long shift with one of my oldest friends from home.
It seemed like meaningless work to me most of the time, but there were a lot of things that made those times enjoyable, too. Or maybe it’s the other way around, and I just always have something to complain about. I’d like to think it’s the former.
The reason I probably started to think about work over the summer in the first place was because Jack and I would always come back to the house trailer late at night after doing our service for the good people of Erie County and have a beer and watch Seinfeld together. I’m glad I got to have that experience.
Anyways, back to Thursday morning, Kramer’s idea for a rubber bladder system in oil tankers actually crumbled by the end of the Seinfeld episode and he didn’t end up solving the world’s energy problems, so I went to class the next day.
The late nights aren’t fun, but they’re part of a whole that I know I will look back positively on, so I’ll try not to be so grumpy during them. It’s the second most valuable thing I learned this summer besides how to make buffalo wing grilled cheese.


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