“This is my scrap of nowhere.”
– Malcolm Reynolds, Firefly, “Trash”
Technically, this is supposed to be a humorous line. Mal says it to one of his worst enemies, whom he has run into on a barren rock of a world, thus the “middle of nowhere.” He’s waiting for his ship to come pick him up, and wanting his sassy nemesis to take a hike elsewhere. It’s an amusing way to tell her to get lost.
However, original context notwithstanding, the words themselves have come back to me on occasion. I find a certain amount of meaning in taking them at face value, no context necessary.
I remember this one time, my first day on a new job. I had just been hired to work in a warehouse that sold little girl outfits, like tutus and ribbons and fake flowers and such. Within half an hour, before we’d even finished the introductory tour, I knew that, whether I worked there for a week or the next forty years, when it was over, I would never want to see another tutu for the rest of my life. Needless to say, it wasn’t looking to be a very glorious job.
But right when I thought that, I also thought, “This is my scrap of nowhere.”
Sure, it wasn’t and wouldn’t be great. It was a warehouse. Warehouses are not great. It was one professional equivalent to a “scrap of nowhere.” But, dang it all, this was my warehouse now, my scrap, and my nowhere, and so help me, I would be a veritable king of this warehouse!
A touch melodramatic phrasing, perhaps, but that was my attitude: this was mine, so I was going to make it mine! By that, I meant I’d do my job so superbly well that no one could question that keeping me around was a good idea.
And so I did! When I eventually quite, my coworkers all told me how they wished I wasn’t leaving, and I was one of the hardest workers they’d ever had. That was very good for my ego! 🙂
Pride, I learned, doesn’t come from where you are and what you’re doing, but from what you make of it. It’s one thing to have something, but it’s quite another to make it yours, to own it. That comes from your attitude.
Some people have riches and mansions. Most of us just have specks of dirt, tiny scraps of nowhere. All the more precious, then, when that is all we have.