|Photo by Mike Gullett|
The result of this “obsession” (I prefer the word “fascination”) was a primarily academic book called DIRTY WORK, published by Baylor University Press in 2007. A lot of people worked on what we called “The Dirty Work Project”. Baylor marketed it to the “intelligent lay audience”—you could even buy it at Barnes and Noble, after all! I assume by the meager sales that primarily college professors and students bought the book. And the relatives and friends of the writers, of course. Ah, well. Still, we are very proud of the work.
The contributors to this project spent weeks or months studying the occupations we referred to as “dirty.” Why dirty? Dirty jobs are those that people seldom talk about in “polite conversation.” And we thought this would be fun to write about. Okay, maybe not as much fun as Mike Rowe had hanging out and doing Dirty Jobs but still fun. These “dirty” jobs are essential to our daily life, but still the public likes to keep its distance from the hard-working folks who do those jobs. For example, cops often deal with society’s undesirables including murderers, drug users, and child abusers. Not to mention the occasional blood and vomit. Not to mention the “risking their lives on a daily basis” thing. Then there are jobs that some people consider socially or morally “dirty.” Take lawyers, for example. (Please). How many good lawyer jokes do you know? Here’s one:
Q: Why didn’t the rattlesnake bite the lawyer?
A: Professional courtesy.
See what I mean? And by the way, I heard that joke, (or riddle, if you want to get picky) from one of my lawyer pals. These folks have some great stories to tell. Stories that both entertain and enlighten. Nearly all of the people we spent time with during the “Dirty Work Project” are proud of the work they do. And they have a right to be proud. After all, the jobs are dirty and we should be grateful that there are folks willing and able to do them!