Labor Day Tribute to Dirty Jobs Keeping America Beautiful

One of my favorite ways to pass time is to watch reruns of Dirty Jobs on the Discovery Channel. If you aren’t familiar with the show here is the basic concept: Mike Rowe, the host, tags along with workers as a fully involved assistant for a typical workday in some of the most awful and unimaginable jobs.  I never knew many of these messy, mucky, or stinky jobs existed but am certainly grateful that someone is doing the work.

Since, I wasn’t a viewer during the seven years the show aired, every show is new to me. In each episode, Mike learns to complete the worker’s tasks as best he can despite discomfort, hazards or repulsive situations. His reactions and revelations as he discovers exactly what it takes to do each job are priceless. I am often amazed, grossed out and fascinated by some of the nasty yet normal everyday jobs that are performed routinely to keep America’s economy running along.

In an early episode from 2005 titled “Chinatown Garbage Collector.” Mike road along with a garbage collector and learned that it is not an easy haul. They walked up and down back alleyways lugging the trash to the truck. They slung the trash off their back, whipped the rubbish out of the carrying cloth and into the truck. Just like that, repeatedly. It was exhausting just watching it.

Trash collection is a bit cliché for a dirty job but there are all sorts of so-called dirty jobs: Jelly Belly factory work is apparently very smelly and Bloodworm farming is a slippery business. This show gives me a greater appreciation for all the people that perform essential functions in America’s workforce.

And isn’t that what Labor Day is all about? It is recognizing the efforts of every worker in every job imaginable dirty or not. After all, labor has built our cities, homes and roads. Labor keeps our streets and water clean. Labor grows and stocks our food. Labor keeps the lights on and provides comfort.
So this Labor Day take a moment to be grateful for all the work you and your fellow Americans have done to make life more pleasant for everyone.