By Rob Siebert
So I’ve been thinking about my inspirations in life lately.
There are the obvious ones. My wife. My parents. My immediate family. My buddies from school. Members of my work family over the years. You’ve got the famous ones, Fred Rogers, Howard Schultz, J.D. Salinger, etc. I’m not going to rank them, because that’s not really how inspiration works.
But I thought of one the other day that hadn’t occurred to me in years. The sad thing is that I don’t even know this guy’s name, and that I only saw him a few times, if that.
He was a line cook in the dining center at Stevenson Hall at Eastern Illinois University. This was when I went there in the mid to late ’00s. He was in his late 60s or early 70s. Everybody else behind the counter was sort of stoic and going through the motions. This guy? Not so much. He’s smiling, enthusiastic. Dare I say jovial?
One moment sticks out very vividly: He’s making an skillet or something on the griddle, with the eggs and the veggies arranged nice and neat. Then he looks up at somebody in front of the counter. A girl I think.
He says, “Wow. Look at that. Doesn’t that look nice?”
The girls says something friendly and affirmative.
Dude starts chopping the eggs up on the skillet like he’s a ninja with a sword or something. The line busts out laughing at the sheer randomness and absurdity of it.
That memory will pop in and out of my head once in a blue moon. The more I think about it the more I realize that man, whoever he was, became a model for how I wanted to be in my professional life. You can argue whether that’s good or bad if you want. I’m certainly not saying I’m always successful in trying to be like he was. But I think the more we can connect with each other outside of the sort of robotic, monotonous haze we often find ourselves in, the better off we are as people. The better off the world is, really.
So thank you Mr. Pepper and Eggs. Wherever you are.
Email Rob at PrimaryIgnition@yahoo.com, or follow Primary Ignition on Twitter.