Watching those daredevils who stand outside hovering helicopters and work on our high-voltage lines atop those tall towers has given me serious pause for thought. First of all, these adrenaline junkies are actually standing outside the aircraft! They are trusting their lives to the skills of a helicopter pilot who must keep that aircraft hovering absolutely still in one place more than 100 feet in the air. While the wind is blowing. 

I don’t know about anyone else, but there is no way in freaking hell I would ever want to spend a day (or even a nanosecond) working that occupation. I am extremely thankful, however, that there are people who want to do these jobs. That pause for thought I mentioned earlier got me thinking about other jobs I am really glad that people want to do.

One of these jobs is that of a plumber. There are very few things that are worse than having a toilet back up and spew sewage in one’s domicile. When that happens, we all will want to contact a professional who knows what they are doing and can actually fix the problem. 

I have done just enough “dabbling” in plumbing-related projects to know that when there is a true toilet emergency, I want an expert. Wrenches and plungers and pipes — oh, my! I am flushed with excitement at the concept of a working toilet.

I am absolutely grateful for all those in the health care field. Those who work in hospitals and doctors’ offices and clinics and hospice deserve our utmost thanks, especially in these ongoing pandemic times. They often put their own health and safety on the line to try and keep the rest of us healthy. I’m glad that we have those dedicated and caring professionals who treat people with all ailments, especially those on the frontlines of COVID-19. 

Similarly, our first responders — fire, EMS, law enforcement — don’t hesitate to put themselves in harm’s way to protect the rest of us. They do their best to keep us safe, and I hold them (as well as our health care workers) in the highest regard. Those who choose these lines of work serve a higher calling, and I am incredibly grateful for their service.

When I was a kid, I had no desire to play soldier. I never wanted to be one (I did, however, want to be an astronaut). Those who serve in our armed forces deserve our gratitude and respect. They are often sent to some of the worst places on the planet and are asked to do really unsavory jobs so that we can live our lives of relative comfort and ease. Thanks to all who currently serve and those who have served. The best way we can honor their service is to ensure that our veterans are truly taken care of — and I wish both parties in Washington could somehow figure out how to get that done. It’s the least we can do for our veterans.

Those who work in the death care industry are people we don’t often think about, mostly due to the morbid nature of their work. For those who lose loved ones (and sooner or later, it’s all of us), their services are essential and provide real comfort and solace. I am thankful we have these people to care for us and our departed loved ones.

There are other jobs that I am grateful other people do. Mechanics serve an extremely valuable service. My father tried to teach me auto mechanics at an early age, but even he gave up when everything under the hood became computer-controlled. Let’s not forget the extreme importance of airplane (and helicopter) mechanics. Their efforts ensure that we don’t fall from the sky at 38,000 feet.

Landscapers and gardeners do a great service for us. There are those who love digging in the good soil and planting things that grow. I am not one of them. 

One of the worst jobs I can imagine is being the display furniture builder for an Ikea store. It’s bad enough when I buy and have to assemble one of those build-it-yourself furniture kits; it would be horrific if that was my job every day. 

As I reflect upon those who stand outside a hovering chopper and play with high-voltage lines, I am really grateful that the worst thing that can usually happen to me on the job is breaking a guitar string. Thank you to all who do the really important jobs — we are truly grateful.

– Catch John Mondays at Boondocks, Tuesdays and Wednesdays at the Key Colony Inn, Thursdays at Sparky’s Landing, and Fridays on Facebook Live. Music available wherever you get your streaming or downloads.

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