Book Review: Dishwasher by Pete Jordan

DishWasherPeteThis book is about Dishwasher Pete’s (aka Pete Jordan) quest to wash dishes in all fifty states. Why anyone would want to do that, or would even care to read about a slacker trying to do it, is hard to imagine, but I found it a great read.

Perhaps I found it interesting just because I wanted to understand why anyone would want to wash dishes (the Dirty Job’s slant), or perhaps because of my brief (two-day) stint as a plongeur, or a desire to travel the country. But most likely it’s my love of a real-world adventure told by a great story teller.

This type of book often has the danger of the author who takes themselves far too serious, or on an ego trip. I mean who really cares about a dishwasher. But this is really a book about a lot more.

There’s the cultural differences throughout the country, where it’s easy to get a dishing job, and where cultural prejudices precludes it. It shows you that dish washers are an important part of our world, and that despite their low-standing they still are needed, and that whether you’re on an oil-rig, dinner train, commune, jewish nurshing home, cannery, or Oktoberfest, there’s someone in the dish pit taking care of business. And of course, I found it amusing that if it weren’t for the cyclist unfriendly roads of Pittsburgh, he could be my neighbor.

And finally there’s the philosophical perspective this book tries to provide towards the end. After ten years soaking suds, sleeping in a van, traveling the country, and bouncing between jobs, what else can you do with your life. Well, if your like Dishwasher Pete, you can become a pretty good writer.

Updates (01/28/13):