Welcome to The Epic! I am launching this blog as a manifesto for and a guide to living well. The title and motto of the blog are taken from the Epicureans, at least some of whom believed in the notion that not one minute of the future was guaranteed to them and that as a result they had the duty to live life to its fullest every moment.

I believe in discovering fun and pleasurable things wherever I find myself each day and I am told I have a knack for unearthing them. My hope is that by sharing in my pleasures and some of my ways of finding them you will begin to collect all the riches that lie in the moments of your life. They are there. Take them! All our lives should be.....Epic.

Monday, March 29, 2010

Notes From Phoenix: The Clearance Sign Man

Do you know what the sun is like in the desert? Even in March? Even when there is a city built over the top of the desert? Last week on a trip to Phoenix, Arizona I received a welcome late winter dose of the sun's rays, and an extra Epic benefit as well.

The trip went extraordinarily well. My travel companions and I were feeling pretty good about ourselves, as, flushed with success we found ourselves driving down a Phoenix boulevard when we came upon a fellow working on a street corner. Outdoors. At noon. In the desert sun.

You think you have a lousy job? Try being a clearance sale sign man. You know. The poor blighter that, for a minimum wage, gets to stand out on some corner holding a sign. All day long. With no protection from rain, wind or sun. Wearing out his epidermis in the service of a store that is rather continually in a state of "clearance sale" or "going out of business". There are worse jobs. But the sign man's is on my short list of lousy ones.

As our car approached this particular desert corner, we noticed something out of the ordinary. Something Epic. This man was spinning his sign. Around his shoulders. Then around his torso. Under one leg. Then the other. Then up in the air. Finally he caught the sign, slapped the long edge of it on the broiling sidewalk, and sat on it with chin in hand. A huge grin on his face. Look what I can do. Look how good I am.

The light changed to green and traffic began to move. One car of astounded business travelers, with all four windows down, cheering and giving the thumbs up. Saluting a grand performance. The Clearance Sign Man grinned our way and gave the slightest of bows.

I do not know if the store was really going "out of business". I don't really care. What that sign man gave us was a living example of joy in what could only be described as trying circumstances. Nobility and Art in the midst of a concrete desert. A job very well done. Putting whatever it was we thought we had accomplished that morning squarely in the shade.


Turling said...

From what I understand from my wife's cousins, these jobs are very popular. There is actually a long waiting list in our neck of the woods. I also know that the individuals doing this job actually get paid more for each trick they master. I believe it's a slight increase on their hourly rate.

My parents moved to Goodyear, Arizona just west of Phoenix a few years back. Third hottest place in the US from what I'm told. The house was built over the summer and the construction crew began work at 7 and went until 4 in the afternoon...in 115 degree heat. So are the demands of progress, I guess.

Belle de Ville said...

You'd be surprised how quickly you can get used to doing something physical in heat. I used to spend a lot of time in Indio, near palm springs and we used I remember playing polo in 90 plus degree weather...but that was a lot more fun than holding a clearance sign.

The Daily Connoisseur said...

I love this. I love people that take what they have and make the best of it... taking pride in their work. This is the epitome of living well. Bravo to him!