Salmon Upstream, LLC

Developing and implementing real-world community solutions.

Life is essential

Since the very first time I saw this story, this guy has been an inspiration to me.

There are no non-essential jobs. Period. Life is more than just being alive; it is truly how you live it. Your job – what you do and how you fit into the complex machine that is society – is fundamental to who you are. Having recently left a career behind completely – something I had no intention of doing – I can tell you that I am not sure I will ever truly get over it.

Watch this video, all the way through.

Since the very first time I saw this story, this guy has been an inspiration to me. If anyone could have gone through life completely dependent on others, it’s Richie Parker. But instead, he used his brilliance and determination to not just become completely independent, but to excel. I don’t care if the guy ended up selling dead flowers on a street corner to make it work, his would still be an amazing story, so don’t try to tell me that what he does is not essential.

I know others. Like Richie, Marcus was missing something at birth: the lenses in his eyes. This rendered him, for all intents and purposes, blind. And like Ritchie, Marcus could have gone his entire life dependent on others. But he didn’t, instead he has gone well beyond just being independent with a job and a home and hobbies but working to help others who face this same disability. Like Ritchie, he is more than a gear in the machine; his cog spins a little faster than the rest, pushing on the works, adding to the momentum that keeps it all moving.

Marcus’s father was a teacher. How many kids did he help develop their own independence? I think we would all agree that the job he did was essential, but who are we to say the work he did – the people he helped grow into independent adults – who are we to say those people don’t matter? That the places they have found in the complexities of our world are unimportant? If we don’t let them live, what was it all for?

People like Richie and Marcus and Steve inspire and enable others to do more and be better. That’s how society works. We are all interconnected, and these connections are what make the difference between just being alive and living. There are no non-essential jobs because the people doing those jobs are essential. Somehow, we are going to have to get past our fear of death so that we can let people live again, to let the works of people like Richie and Marcus and Steve of the world continue to spin the gears a little faster.