Bean there, hate that

Creative Curse: my notebooks rarely contain just the pertinent "figures." I clearly don't make sense to the average bean counter.
Creative Curse: my notebooks rarely contain just the pertinent "figures." I clearly don't make sense to the average bean counter.

My buddy Kory and I were at a party a couple of years ago up in Red Lodge. It was the typical scene, beer on ice, hip, Earth-loving folk of all ages and Kory and I, doing our little schtick till the wee hours, hoping to impress someone besides ourselves.

“Dave has invented the worlds largest bean,” Kory would say. The girls across from us obviously not impressed with the notion of bean invention until Kory decided to step-it-up a notch and claim: “But it’s such a large strain of bean, you only have to eat one before you’re full. In fact, we each shared a bean this morning and it was all we could do to finish half  of it.”

Which brings me to my larger point: IF we had a world with fewer, larger beans, we’d likely have need for less bean counters and that’s a world I’d love to live in.

There’s actually people out there whose main purpose in life is simply to quantify all you do. I have such people where I work and they drive me nuts always counting my beans. They want me to record every 1/125 of a second I create a photograph, marketing their myopic interests. Then, after assessing the quantities and assigning values to what they can wrap their wee-minds around, they punch out a pile of ticker tape and tell me that words and numbers matter much much more than the pictures I create to promote their words and numbers.

Naturally, they love my beans, but they’re really more interested in how many it takes to fill my shoes. Apparently, I’m a few sacks short of a full loafer.

If only Kory were right. If only I could make a bigger bean. It would be easier to count–and maybe the counting would cease all-together. We could all just be seen as the large bean that we are. We could have the great artists of our era singing “we are the bean” and the mere counters could then learn to make beans of their own. If they could do that, they might understand how absurd their own measurements appear.

If you work in education and you’re not a creator, instructor, or someone who works directly with students, helping to better their learning experience, then you’re likely a bean counter. You don’t have to be evil. Just count your fucking beans and try to wrap your mind around the fact that you’re there to support the people who actually affect a positive change in the lives of others. We don’t do what we do for the money like you do. You can’t always quantify us in your terms, but know this: when you lessen our value, you impede the real work we’re all supposed to be focused on.

What most administrators don’t understand is that some beans can stand alone and still be valued as much as the bulk of some other sack. Creative positions are typically the least understood and therefore the least valued.

Shame on you for your rubrics, your card tricks and your shifty, beady-bean-counting-ways. Remember, it’s creative professionals who make the beans, you only count them.