It seems that I am lower than dust. Upon learning the creation story of Genesis, I was quite happy to discover that I originated from the dust of the earth, and I was even content to learn that I would eventually be returned to the earth as dust and ashes, but it is a hard road to hoe to accept that I am lower than dust.
This painful truth made itself evident the other night.
I was taking my two younger sons to their Wednesday night football practice. The thrice weekly practices start at 6:30 p.m. and last about an hour and a half. However, their coach has several bees in his bonnet about punctuality, so he has instructed his players to show up for practice at 6:15 p.m. I say that the practices end at approximately 8:00 p.m. because depending on the mood of the coaching team, the practice sometimes runs until later, say 8:30 p.m. or ….3:00 a.m.
The point is that lately I have some time to kill during practices and in the ensuing weeks, I have run out of errands to finish during their practices. You can only pick up so many heads of lettuce before they start to spoil.
This last week, I decided to call up my brother who I do not see nearly as often as I would like. Perhaps some casual guy talk over a beer to kill the time.
“Um, I can’t, I have a seminar to attend,” is what he said.
“A seminar? What’s it about?” I replied.
“It’s on dust management,” was his astonishing response.
My brother going to a seminar on dust management makes perfect sense because he has a part-time job working in a hardware store. He has taken a variety of wood working courses where he has started (but not yet completed) several projects such as the birdhouse, the deacon’s bench, the Dutch windmill, and the Spruce Goose. So I was not too surprised when I learned he might have a burning desire to learn about dust management.
However, after I hung up the phone and began to think about this; it struck me like a ton of dust that my brother had just passed up an opportunity to join his brother for a beer in favor of …dust. Thus, it seems in my brother’s list of priorities, I am lower than dust.
If I had known how important dust was to him, I would have invited him over to our house to witness first hand how my wife and I manage dust. We have oodles of dust that must be managed on a near hourly basis. We have pet dust, shoe dust, garden dust, road dust, bug dust, grass dust, gum dust, glass dust, newpaper dust, cigarette dust, candy dust and the dust that accumulates from leftover change.
To manage all of this dust, my wife and I take turns passing the vacuum cleaner over every floor surface every hour on the hour. We initially tried sweeping everything up with a broom, but by the time one of us was finished, it was time for the other one to start, and we just weren’t spending enough quality time together.
So maybe I should have joined my brother and gone to the seminar to learn how to better manage our dust. Somehow, though, I think that maybe the dust has the upper hand.
Nick Burn is a freelance writer, husband, father of three, engineer, teacher, and webmaster for the Canadian Catholic Information Network. In his spare time (hah!), he enjoys camping, skiing and reading.