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A rose by any other name is still too hot

Joe Bushue is a travel agent and lifelong Gresham resident. Reach him by e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The sun was beating down, and it was HOT! Egg on the sidewalk kind of hot. I had just finished planting a large pine tree and was getting ready to shovel bark dust onto a slight bank covered with black plastic. I was sweating like a pack mule.

I had some high school kids helping me, and they were working fine despite the sweltering heat until they heard someone say they heard on the radio that it was 102 degrees. Once they heard it was that hot, they dropped like flies. Even though it was my landscaping company and I was the boss, as I wiped the stinging sweat from my eyes I thought maybe there was something else I should be doing with my life.

I generally enjoyed landscaping and the feeling of creating something beautiful from nothing, but I couldn't help wonder what my true aptitude was. Hopefully it would not be so reliant on the weather, hot and cold, wet or dry, etc.

At the local college there was a computer test designed by sociologists and psychiatrists. By using a complete personality and background analysis, the two-hour test, including hundreds of questions and statements, could make suggestions as to what your true aptitude might be. I was excited to see what the computer thought I should be. After spending a few hours in a cramped cubicle, I answered probing questions about myself that even I wasn't aware existed. The time came to finally push the final button and get the answer!

I waited in anticipation to see if I was best suited to be a lawyer, teacher, scientist, maybe a captain of industry. Finally, the computer produced the printout. My personality part of the analysis showed that I was both creative and independent.

So far no surprises. It also said that I apparently enjoyed solving obstacles and challenges. OK. Maybe this test had been a good idea.

This extensive physiological, computer-driven test revealed that I showed a strength toward 'creating, enhancing, developing and constructing environmentally stable personal areas, creating both pleasing surroundings, at the same time through the use of natural materials, making a personal artistic statement based on the spatial placement of objects in said environment.'

What?

After reading this several times, I realized what this meant was I showed a basic strength for - landscaping. And I'd thought I was just laying turf and planting trees. At least now I knew that I was already doing what I supposedly had a strength for.

Now when I shoveled barkdust, I realized that I was actually preparing the canvas of a 'environmentally stabile personal space' and planting the pine tree just so that I was making a 'spatially relevant artistic statement.' Somehow by knowing all this, I looked at what I did in a whole new light.

It was still really hot and I was sweating like a pack mule, but thanks to this scientifically based computerized test, I was sweating doing what I supposedly was meant to do.

For all that, it was still damned hot.