State of Joe

Joe is simple, he has toiled hard to achieve the position of head dishwasher, as hard as anyone that wants more out of life.

Wisps of salt and pepper hair lay under his broken, and crooked nose. A reminder of how cruel youth can be to what it doesn’t understand. His small blue eyes hide under is his bushy brows. Joe likes to smile, and when he does his blotchy red cheeks swell into fat hills of flesh.

He has never flossed in his life, and so the plaque has built up so thick that it looks as though he has a row of teeth in between each of his natural teeth.

Joe’s square head sits atop a squat, rotund body, and though he is wont to talk, he is limited to a small collection of stock phrases.

“Its alright anyway”, falls from his friendly smile, regardless of what’s being said. But maybe Joe is right. Perhaps it is, ‘Alright anyway’, regardless of what ‘it’ is.

Joe seems happy, even though from my perspective, he has been slighted in every way possible. Perhaps he isn’t smart enough to know how unfortunate he is. But I know all sorts of smart people that don’t realize of fortunate they are. The later seems worse upon reflection.

I watch him move about the dish pit and wonder if he isn’t the lucky one. If Joe isn’t the one closest to self-actualization.

If there is a God, and the answers to whatever questions can be asked, have already been provided to us, then might Joe be an answer?

There is wisdom in his simplicity, nirvana even. He travels more than two hours by bus, to and from work, without complaint. Recently he showed up at 8:00 AM, a full two hours early, because he misread his schedule. His response? “It’s alright anyway. At least I wasn’t three hours early”. Thats about as Taoist as one can get.

Accept things as they are

The beginners mind

Hope is as hollow as fear

A State of Joe.

A state of Joe. The pipe blinks at the end of that sentence like a mandala. Simple complexity that flushes out the detritus of a cluttered mind.

Joe’s broken nose and ruined teeth are a test of vision. Can I see past the physical descriptions of a ‘slighted’ man. And now I do. For a moment anyway.

I see Joe, a sage, waiting for me to be as happy as him.

Look at the blinking pipe. Breathe deep. As the words blur find your…

State of Joe.

Jimmie G.

response to Writing 101: Day Six 



2 thoughts on “State of Joe”

  1. Interesting. I’ve met some people, and have wondered how they can be so darn cheerful in the middle of it all. Aren’t we all just trying to reach a ‘State of Joe’?


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