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Reblogged:How Mike Rowe's Adventures Started

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Ever since I stumbled across Dirty Jobs and Deadliest Catch a couple of decades ago, I've been a fan of Mike Rowe, whose narration career runs strong even as he has branched out.

Rowe now runs a foundation to promote education in skilled trades that don't typically require a college education, and he founded a whiskey distillery named after his grandfather, among other things.

The last fact I learned from Salena Zito's piece on Rowe that appears in the Washington Examiner.

It was interesting to learn that the man who has done more than anyone else I can think of to help us gain an appreciation -- if not outright affection -- for ordinary work experienced aimlessness himself at one point:
Image by Reason TV, via Wikimedia Commons, license.
Rowe's foray into our living rooms began when his mother called him one day and said only what a mother can say to a grown son when they know there is more purpose to him other than freelancing his way through life. She said, "Gee wouldn't it be great if before your grandfather died, he turned on the TV and saw you doing something that looked like work."

Within 24 hours, he was trying to fix a sewer in San Francisco, covered in human feces, and after a lot of hard selling, few people at the time were looking for a show that was a love letter to hard work. Nonetheless, it soon became the basis of his hit show Dirty Jobs, which spent nine years filling a void no one knew was missing in American culture: a love and respect for honest hard work.

It was a project Discovery wasn't really married to, sort of a one-off. They had only ordered three episodes, and Rowe had no expectation they would take it any further, and then something remarkable happened: The pilot episode attracted thousands of letters from viewers who loved it.
Zito calls Rowe the unofficial working man's evangelist after telling his story so far, and while that is apt, it doesn't quite go far enough.

I would describe Rowe as an adventurer.

There is something about Rowe's start that makes perfect sense to me: Perhaps his mother's nudge helped him realize he had stagnated or was missing something.

Whatever the case, he explored the world a bit before he really got going, with those Dirty Job pilots reminding me of a vastly accelerated and wider-ranging, yet condensed, "wrong job" experiment.

It is impossible to spend any time around Mike Rowe, even at a distance, without ending up an adventure of one kind or another. Perhaps this is the greatest lesson he teaches -- to become able to see the wonders all around us at the small price of taking the time to appreciate them as such.

-- CAV

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