Almost every job in the world is a job I would not voluntarily do.

For instance, I have no interest in being a butcher, a baker, a candlestick maker, a sanitation worker, a welder, a letter carrier, a plumber, a pest controller, a dog catcher, a bank clerk, a server, a janitor, a mechanic…and so on and so forth.

Ironically, I admire and secretly envy the professionals who do these and a million other jobs. Correction: I admire and envy those who do these jobs with dedication and zeal and skill, manners and good attitudes and smiles. I study them, interview them, write about them, converse with them…and I always learn something I did not previously know. Being in their presence is as pleasant as getting out of a grammar school classroom routine and taking a field trip.

I miss field trips.

Meeting and observing these professionals, honoring them, even immortalizing them, is a special avocation.

And the one thing I truly believe is, these special people are never respected enough, never reimbursed or recognized enough. Like parents and priests and caregivers and healers, they are taken for granted.

I at least fantasize about doing their jobs, at least in another life.

I can’t help imagining how difficult it must be to deliver newspapers at four in the morning on a dangerous, stormy day, how hard it might be to work a twelve-hour shift in an under-staffed emergency room, how demoralizing it is to be a prison guard or a process server or a repairer of sewers.

These professionals and a thousand more have my respect and awe. How they manage to keep a good attitude, stay the course, complete their assignments is a source of inspiration.

I’m also protective of my own profession, and I appreciate it when someone recognizes my work, be it as bookshop proprietor or entertainer or author or good listener. I hope I ply my trade with as much zeal as the best of all those other workers who (to paraphrase Herodotus) allow neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night to stay them from the completion of their appointed rounds.

Life can be hard, work can be hard, even play can be hard.

But those who manage to maintain composure and positive attitude and calmness in the throes of chaos…they are priceless and precious and at least deserving of a kindly nod or an appreciative smile now and then


(c) Jim Reed 2017 A.D.




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