Sunday, August 3, 2008

The Origin of The Leaf Blower

I'm posting a day early because I'm not sure if I'll have access tomorrow.

Many of you have asked where the title of my blog comes from. Here's the story: About four years ago, my brother Matt left his office job to go into sales. He sent me an email telling me it was the last one he'd ever send from a cubicle; from then on he'd be working from home or out on the road. I was sitting in my shared office, watching the gardening crew work outside, and I wrote Matt the following note:

Outside my window a squat man is blowing leaves, swirling them into haphazard, amorphous piles. I wonder if he plans to rake the strays between the mounds or if he will simply gather what he can from the center of each pile, and move on. The whole effort seems futile to me, like trying to gather water with a sieve. Even if he manages to gather every last leaf, the leaves will come back, and so then will the man.
But what if he could peer through the tinted glass and catch a glimpse of me, sitting in my climate-controlled office, my ergonomic chair. What would he see? I, too, move things around into piles. And they always come back. For the most part, my piles don't even exist. Not in the tangible world, anyway.

So when you're out on the road in your company car, just remember that you are no longer of the world behind the glass; you are a leaf blower, moving piles around in the tangible world.

Four years later, on my last day of work, I received a large package from Matt. It was a leaf blower.


  1. Is that really true? Do you really have your very own leaf blower?

  2. Yep. It's still in the box; I've been using it as a stand for my printer. Not a lot of opportunity to use a leaf blower in San Francisco.

  3. That is a sweet story. Knowing that you were taking a vacation break, I was concerned that I wouldn't get my weekly fix of the "Leaf Blower" blog. Happily, you didn't let down your fans.

  4. Was that the office that was climate controlled by a cup of ice under a thermostat?