Top of the heap…or pile

I had a friend, now sadly deceased, who worked for years more or less as a writer. He did straight PR, sponsored articles for businesses, position papers for politicians, opinion pieces, some real journalism, and occasionally straight non-fiction. He was good, quick, and reliable, and if his prose didn’t exactly sing, it hummed along nicely. We had, for a while, a writer-editor relationship (always dangerous between friends, but we managed) and one day, at lunch, I told him that his last piece had been especially good. He looked at me with a conspiratorial smile. “Ah, well,” he said, “I’ve made my whole living just shoveling bullshit.”

Leaving aside all the ways you could react to that statement as a summary of someone’s life, and all the ways you could see  professional writing through its prism, because of my friend’s character and personality it’s stuck in my mind all these years mostly as a fond example of jaded, self-effacing, humor.

I thought of it again this afternoon, as I slit open three 40-lb. bags of Agway Premium Cow Manure to mix with vermiculite and peat moss to create good growing soil for A and H’s new raised beds. It’s not often I simply stand in place and watch my little round belly shake when I laugh, like a bowlful of jelly, but today I did. It was the “premium” that got me. Oh, how Jack would have loved that.


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