Nine months out of the year I am landlocked in Tennessee, doing math and solving problems for my professors at Vanderbilt University. The things I learn whilst studying engineering are invaluable - Human Centered Design, creative problem solving, time management, and all the principles and software associated with my degree. The things I learn I am good at. The things I learn are my passion. But in regards to what defines my personality and lifeforce, those nine months are so easily trumped by the three months a year I get to work for the
Technically, (according to the craigslist ad I found MOC on - a story for another post) I am the marketing intern. I prefer to call myself “yung oyster mogul” because at this point I do basically anything and everything my boss asks me to do.
Today is a perfect example as to why I call myself this.
I was awakened by John Herrigel - my boss, the 40 something year old oyster god who looks like he’s 20 and who I happen to basically live with - with a cup of coffee served on an oyster tray. I had slept the previous night on a pullout couch in a renovated general store, a cherished Herrigel family gathering place that sits seaside in the West Point community of Phippsburg, Maine. Inspired by his Summers spent in Small Point, and his family’s purchase of the general store, John began his real estate domination of the West Point community. He now owns a couple of properties around the area, which, inlight of the COVID pandemic, now houses John (and occasionally Quilla and me) as he spends sleepless nights coding HTML, consuming copious amounts of caffeine and pizza, and dominating all things oysters; The Maine Oyster Company compound or as we call it "Base Camp
" - think Silicon Valley tech startup meets old timey Maine lobstering business.
It was a particularly windy day, evident by the nautical-style deck door continuously slamming open and closed as we sipped our coffee...but it was still warm. The day began with a quick planning discussion and synopsis of what he had accomplished the previous night. I was still in bed as we discussed the launching of the “MOC Wall,” a dynamic customer and farmer social media outlet. It did not matter that I was barely awake as we discussed the intricacies of web design and landing page placement. Why? Because I never stop thinking about oysters. In fact, I dream about them.
Fast forward through my typical morning routine - reviewing website analytics, reviewing social media ad performance, helping John redesign our email system, banging out a couple customer service emails - I find myself speeding to our farm (Cape Smalls
). Two grown men in full Winter wet-suits, Quilla holstering my camera, peeking out from the overflowing stack of oyster bags, all squeezed into a small motorboat bumping through the whitecaps - I wish we had some aerial footage of the expedition.
We executed some of the normal oyster farming activities for the next hour and a half with the soft goal of gathering four dozen market oysters for an interesting oyster curbside pickup. Later that day an individual was driving an hour to pick up some pre-shucked oysters. It was an exchange that John was obviously giddy about - a unique opportunity to put on a show and collect some content about a business he loves. We finished up our farm work and headed back to West Point, dropping off oysters on a couple of moored vessels ( a “political move”), and arriving back at Base Camp for the pickup in typical 15 minute late MOC fashion.
As we shucked the oysters, John pulled out all the stops - demonstrating his love and experience. The group was delighted, and continued to chit-chat with John long after we finished shucking the oysters. At this point, having heard John's speech many times, I decided to put on a show of my own. Still dressed in my wetsuit and now sporting a fancy snorkel mask, I dove into the ocean in search of both wild oysters and ones that had escaped the bags floating from the dock. As I splashed around, enthralled by the fancy mask, I had a quick realization: “I think...I think I am getting paid for this!” The group leaned over the deck above me, delighted as I dove down and retrieved handfuls of oysters from the ocean floor.
It’s 10:00 PM now. After a shower, catnap, quick pizza run, and my typical night routine (same as my morning routine) I find myself upstairs writing this blog post. When I retired to my writing nook, Quilla and John were downstairs discussing the tasking system. Quilla and John are still downstairs discussing the tasking system. It is still windy out. I am still thinking about oysters. I still don’t quite know what my job title is.
Video Montage of the Day: Link
Quote/Funny Moment of The Day:
John: On the phone ordering pizza
Nice Pizza Lady: “This is for John, right?”