Perspective: The Universal Clean-Up Crew

Feb 6, 2019

When I first learned to ride, at 40, at NIU, the golden rule was that if your horse produced a "surprise," it was your responsibility to clean up. Certain students tried to skip out on this duty, and it got me to thinking: dealing with manure is a vital life skill because being an adult means joining the universal clean-up crew.

If you have children or are responsible for elder care, you know that diapers and accidents are a fact of life. However, how often are we called on to clean up the messes of others? The recent government shutdown left piles of human waste in our national parks, not to mention damages to flora and fauna. Someone had to clean up the mess, even though they did not cause the shutdown.

Likewise, in any professional setting, we are continually called upon to deal with the consequences of someone else's poorly thought out decision. Software glitches, top-down management commands, new procedures that just don't work -- all produce waste that we have to deal with, even though we never caused the problem in the first place.

So, to all the students who think that they are outsmarting everyone else by skipping manure duty, a word of caution: there will be a lot of doodoo in your life.  Learning to clean up someone else's mess is going to be a significant portion of it.

I’m Frances Jaeger and that is my perspective.