Friday, July 12, 2013


By Pete Jordan

Hey! This isn't a zine! It's a book! What gives? Well, parts of it were originally published as zines, so it totally counts. Dishwasher is Jordan's tale of his life and the decade plus he spent washing dishes all over America in his quest to wash dishes in all 50 states. That sounds kind of horrible, but Jordan has a writing style that is incredibly enjoyable to read, which can be seen in the fact that I read this book in two days, and that the 16th issue of Dishwasher (which was never released) was going to have a print run of 10,000! (And I thought it was good that I'd printed almost 100 issues of Two Fisted Librarians...)

Throughout Dishwasher we follow Jordan from job to job, starting with his earliest teenage ventures up to, well really just dishwashing and more dishwashing. Jordan doesn't want any other jobs because he likes dishwashing. His reasons for liking this much maligned job are many and varied, and range from the free food he gets to eat (which in one place was actually written into the dishwashers' contract that had originally been created decades before), to the fact that he can quit at any time and get a new job doing the same thing somewhere else. Because while dishwashing is a job that nobody wants, it is a job that needs to be done, and so even when a dishwasher shows up to work late or drinks on the job people generally don't mind because any dishwasher is better than no dishwasher (or having to wash the dishes yourself).

In between tales of his own dishwashing jobs, Jordan tells about famous people who washed dishes in America, the early days of labour organizing and unions for dishwashers, and about his experiences and romances. From oil platforms off the coast of Louisiana to fish plants in Alaska, Jordan has covered a lot of ground in his travels, and has an incredible array of stories to tell.

One thing I liked about this zine is that it made my current travels seem totally tame in comparison. Some of my classmates were horrified when I said I was going to travel around for a few months this summer, and wasn't totally sure where I'd end up at various points. Sure there are events I've planned to go to, but it's not like I have a super strict itinerary. I mean, in the place I'm currently staying I've got my own room and an air mattress! I think it's actually nicer than the last place I was living because there I was subletting and the room was filled with things I didn't own, now this room only contains things that are mine. It's great!

Dishwasher is a really good read, and I can't wait to check out Jordan's next book, which is about cycling in Amsterdam.

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