By Joe Darby
Hello folks. I suppose you could say this is a Labor Day column, three and a half weeks early.
I think it’s always a good idea to pay tribute to the “working man” or the “blue collar worker” because our country, or indeed any civilization, could not exist without those folks.
But before I get into my praises, I feel compelled to tell you that I have long felt that no really good word or words exist to describe those people who work primarily in jobs that don’t require a college degree. I mean, even people whose place of employment is an office, still work, sometimes quite hard. So “working man” doesn’t really cut it, not to mention the fact that it ignores the contributions of working women.
And I always thought the term “blue collar worker” came up short also. We all know what it means, that many laborers wear blue uniforms or shirts. But that doesn’t define what they really do and contribute. I mean, when I worked as a newspaper reporter, I sometimes wore a dress shirt that was blue. So, the color of a collar is not that important.
Manual laborer literally means a worker who uses his or her hands. But we all do, even if its to tap on computer keyboards.
Well, a better term is needed for the type of employee or small business owner who keeps our country going.
But, to get to the heart of my column, let’s take a look for a moment at the absolutely vital role that these workers play in keeping us alive and comfortable. Where would we be without the truckers? The shelves at Walmart and all the other stores, including our grocery stores, would be empty. And let’s not forget the people who stock those shelves from the warehouses, either.
And where would we be without the mechanics who keep those trucks — and our own personal vehicles — running? We’d be starving while we rode our bicycles looking for food.
Where would we be without the plumber. How long could we stand it when our toilet is completely stopped up, or that leak in the kitchen sink is getting worse? Not long, I promise.
Where would we be without the electrician? Sitting in the dark, sweltering in the heat. And let’s not forget the folks who repair the air conditioning. We know where we’d be without them.
And never forget the carpenters, bricklayers and roofers who built your house (along with the above mentioned plumbers and electricians). I don’t think many of us these days would be very adept at building a log cabin for ourselves.
Also, people in manufacturing plants, whether it’s a steel mill, an auto factory, a furniture making company or a firm that makes dry walls, literally supply the essential things that make for a society.
And here’s a shoutout for the people who repair our roads and highways, who run the power plants, who work long hard hours on oil rigs. Boy, are those guys indispensable!
And while we’re on that subject, raise our glasses to the people who harvest the timber that provide the wood that is essential to our civilization.
The butcher, the baker, the candlestick maker. Well, I haven’t seen too many candlestick makers lately. But there are so many professions that keep us alive, comfortable and flourishing. Space precludes me from trying to mention them all but I’m sure you can think of a lot more. So, when Labor Day rolls around early next month, take a moment to remember the people who provide the very foundations of our society. Happy early Labor Day to you all.
The idea for this column was inspired by an article in National Review magazine