We should shovel shit every once in a while to remind ourselves who we'd be if we weren't who we are.

Written by Cole Schafer

There is a moment in the hit series, Peaky Blinders, where Tommy Shelby, played by Cillian Murphy, walks into a horse stall owned by The Shelby Company, takes off his trenchcoat, tears off his newsboy cap and tosses them both to the side.

He then picks up a pitchfork, sticks it into a steaming pile of horse shit and hay and begins pitching.

His employee, Curly, who is already hard at work at the same task, stops what he’s doing, in complete shock, and asks…

“What are you doing, Tommy?”

Tommy, a bit out of breath from the shoveling, answers…

“Shoveling shit, Curly. Just like you.”

Curly quickly asks a follow-up question…

“Why are you doing that, Tommy?”

Tommy answers again, in his pithy, precise prose where very few words are wasted…

“To remind meself what I’d be, if I wasn’t who I was.”

Upon first listen (or read, rather) it feels as though Tommy is making a dig at Curly. Or, looking down upon his work as a stableboy.

He’s not.

If anything, it’s Tommy’s way of shocking himself into gratitude; it’s a shitty reminder to himself that he’s no better than Curly and that he’d be doing exactly what Curly is doing had he not fought and clawed his way out.

Sometimes, when you get what you want –– even if it has come with a tremendous amount of blood –– you can forget the pain it took to get it, the pain you would feel had you not gotten it and the reality that keeping it must be earned, each and every day.

But, I digress.

By Cole Schafer.

P.S. If this wasn’t enough of a kick-in-the-ass for you, read this poem by Charles Bukowski.