Unseen Heroics, Labor Day 2018

Aug 31, 2018

Credit Andrew Kreider

Why don’t the toilets stink at the library?  

It’s Labor Day weekend.  A holiday set aside to celebrate the contributions of the labor movement and of labor in general throughout our society.  That toilets-at-the-library question has been rattling around in my brain this week.  I’ve been musing about how many places in our society people do important work that we never notice because that’s the point: when they do their job right, we don’t see them, because something unwelcome or unpleasant or just downright dangerous doesn’t happen.  When they do their job right, they are invisible.

So today, I want to take a couple minutes to recognize a few of these invisible people.  It’s an incomplete list, but here we go…

Airplane mechanics, whose planes take off and land without incident.  Thumbs up.

The people who fix and protect Election machines – for every vote that is counted correctly. That’s no small thing.

The person who fixes traffic lights downtown, making sure there are no collisions between lines of traffic going east-west and north-south.  Top work.

As a frequent consumer of bagged salads, I am grateful to the vegetable packers for every time I have not gotten sick from e-coli or listeria.

Radio antenna engineers, for every episode of This American Life I have not missed due to weather or vermin.

The person who maintains the elevators at the hospital – for all the times I didn’t break down on the way to the top floor.  Thanks.

The barista at Martins who keeps getting my coffee order right.  Awesome.

Kudos to the newspaper delivery boy who regularly lands the paper on our front step - and not the roof.

To every parent that sends their child out into the morning properly dressed and with homework done.  For every hour a mentor spends comforting and encouraging and challenging our young people – you’re working unseen, but you’re so important.

The people at the tire store who always tighten all the lug nuts on our car wheels. 

The emergency service workers – police and fire and ambulance – for every false alarm you pursue, and every real alarm where someone doesn’t die because of your work.

Three cheers for you all, you unseen wonders of our world.

For radio station engineers, each time that the right thing plays at the right time.  And for presenters who read difficult words correctly, and skillfully deploy the cough button.

Every nurse that finds a vein the first time.  And those that are kind even when it takes a couple of tries.  Much appreciation.

Every fast food drive thru attendant that gets my order right and gives me the correct change.  Thank you.

Shout out to the road workers who fill pot holes correctly.  And people directing traffic around road work who make sure we don’t fall into unfilled holes.

School safety officers who stop fights before they start, and all the staff who help keep things from escalating in the lunch rooms and hallways.

And while we’re at it, High School football officials, for all the calls you get right.  And school bus drivers, for taking children home to the right houses, over and over.

You were all just doing your job.  And I salute you.

For every diplomat who does not offend the country in which you have been posted.  Big thanks.

For Inspector Number 04, for making sure my jeans don’t split.

For every optometrist who gets an eye prescription right.  And for the people making the glasses who put the lenses in the right way around.  Here’s lookin’ at you.

For the plumbers who hook up appliances correctly so that there are no floods and no gas explosions.

To employees at AEP and NIPSCO - for all the times the lights and gas keep working, even in and after storms.

To Comcast engineers, for the many many times that I am able to connect flawlessly to the internet.  A plus – seriously.

Finally, to every person providing care at home for a loved one, young or old.  So often, nobody notices your work.  You’re a true superstar.

The list goes on and on.  To all those who work – unseen, unnoticed, sometimes unpaid – throughout Michiana: This Labor Day weekend, take a bow.

Why don’t the toilets stink at the library?  Why do you think?

Music: "Takin' Care of Business" by Bachman-Turner Overdrive