The Poetry Question

Discovering the Relevance of Words

The Pros And Cons Of Lighthouse Keeping


After careful consideration, I think I’ve finally decided what I want to be when I grow up.

I know there are those of you out there who might be tempted to point out to me the fact that I am over thirty years old and by any logical measure must certainly be considered a grown-up*. You may even go on to proclaim the dubious fact that in some cultures not long ago I would be on my way to being considered elderly. I’d probably laugh at that a little, because it’s kind of funny, then I’d try to think of something witty to say back before responding with something lazy and juvenile like, ‘Fuck you, bro,” and continuing with my thought.

The life of a lighthouse keeper is not glamorous, but it has an undeniable, quiet dignity.  Not unlike myself. In a recent poll I asked a bunch of people outside a Starbucks what two words best described me and ‘quiet’ and ‘dignity’ came up more than you might think. Though, not as much as ‘creepy’ and ‘unkempt’. Anyway.

There are tons of reasons why lighthouse keeping might just be the job for me. I enjoy solitude, and the beach. I’m really good about remembering to turn off the lights when I leave my house, which I can only assume reflects an innate responsibility where lighting is concerned, and I love a good pair of deck shoes.

I understand the challenges. It isn’t all cable-knit sweaters and neck beards. A good lighthouse keeper has to keep that light on. Like, all the time.

Ideally, the lighthouse keeper would also be available to pull waterlogged sailors from the surf and pour rum down their gullets when the odd ship runs aground because the light inevitably did go out, usually from alcohol or ghost related difficulties. Also there would be a ghost. All good lighthouses have ghosts and the keeper would be expected to remain on good terms with this and any other paranormal entities he may come into contact with. I understand and accept these responsibilities.

The problem with this career path is that lighthouse keeping as a profession seems to have been on the decline long before I was born. So the work is probably scarce. Plus I’m not sure that all lighthouses have wifi, which could be a deal breaker on it’s own.

Everything else about this lifestyle sounds fantastic to me. It just doesn’t seem like a feasible choice to make, spending your life halfheartedly searching for a lighthouse to waste away in. There’s too much romance in the idea of it. To profess a desire to be alone on a windswept beach keeping clipper ships off the rocks sounds so childish. Or if not childish, maybe naive. Like professing a desire to spend your life painting or dancing. Or writing.

This might be closer to the truth. Upon further inspection, all that light bulb changing sounds rather tedious. I suspect I might just want a quiet room full of the books and records and movies that inspire me and time to be inspired by them. Time to write a memoir of a life that might not be true but is certainly on its way to becoming beautiful. I think I might even have a title.

I Would Have Been A Rad Lighthouse Keeper:

The Doran Simmons Story

*I use ‘Grown-Up” as the generic term for adult, not in reference to one of the actual cast members of the “comedy” film Grown-Ups. Or Grown-Ups 2.

About Doran Simmons

I'm a writer and a camper and a keeper of fish. I was trained as a flight instructor and work day jobs and write nonsense for public consumption (hopefully).

3 comments on “The Pros And Cons Of Lighthouse Keeping

  1. kiwiskan
    September 4, 2013

    We all have dreams like this, and I do sometimes wonder how we’d go if all our dreams became reality…

  2. angelinahue
    September 8, 2013

    Love this post! A rad lighthouse keeper would have been anything but boring : )

  3. Pingback: Weekly Photo Challenge: An Unusual Point of View | judy lesko

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This entry was posted on September 4, 2013 by in COMMENTARY and tagged , , , , , , .

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