As I was headed to the office this morning - fighting the cold rain, the blustery winds and the 45 degree temperatures in the darkness - I passed two workers riding on the back of one of the Sonny's Solid Waste trucks, picking up our trash. None among us would trade our jobs for theirs.
I turned the corner near my office when I saw a young, single mother ushering three very small children to the bus stop. The kids were bundled as tightly as possible as they fought the rain and cold and wind.
Well, that got me to thinking which is highly unusual that early in the morning. I think in many ways we have it all wrong in our society. We establish this pecking order in society based primarily on income and give little weight to those who do the thankless jobs that may not be colorful but are most certainly essential.
When your toilet goes on the blink, believe me, the most important person in the world is that trusty plumber. You've heard that before but, in fact, it is so true.
Like many of you perhaps, we have some small leaks in our office roof. Why anyone would install a flat roof in Southeast Missouri is beyond me, but the facts are the facts. It may be necessary before the day ends to call our roofer and have someone brave this lousy weather to make my life a bit easier. And believe me that fella won't be getting rich for his efforts.
In my capacity here at the newspaper, I'm prone to sit through countless meetings for some cause or another. Those meetings are always populated with admirable and honorable men and women who - virtually without exception - have been sitting in an office all day, staring at a computer or dealing with a customer. They are the bedrock of a community without a doubt. Yet not one - including myself - has made the daily sacrifice as those I witnessed early this morning. That does not diminish either position in our society. But it sure makes you think.
Granted, this is a feel-good column about tough jobs and less-than-pleasant tasks. But you should think about these people from time to time. Think how your life would be if you were to switch places.
That single mom dressed and fed three small kids. She watched them catch the bus. Then (and I'm only guessing) she got dressed and headed to some tedious job. She had no garage to keep her car warm. She lived in humble circumstances and would surely return to those humble surroundings before the day was over. And tomorrow, she would repeat the process once again. Same goes with those tough young guys manning our trash pick-up trucks. And there are many, many more.
When you ask people about important jobs, none of these would be among them. But that's just another example of how messed up our priorities are in this society. We hold on a pedestal some who are less than deserving and look without thinking on others who deserve far more recognition and far more credit.