Lileks today notes he received a nice unexpected compliment from a someone he'd never met but who'd read and appreciated a recent column. It got him thinking:
Ninety-nine percent of the people who do actual work and make actual contributions to the world never get that out-of-the-blue atta-boy.
So I should give back: excuse me, aren’t you that firefighter? That emergency room nurse or admitting clerk? That policeman, that Reservist, that underpaid librarian, that park worker who picks up the stuff people throw in the creek, the guy who wipes the tables clean in the food court so I don’t have to put my elbows in someone else’s ketchup? Aren’t you that systems tech who makes sure my favorite website comes up every day when I want, the UPS driver who gets my stuff to my door and rings the bell, the gaffer who plugged in the cords so they could shoot that scene in the movie I want to see, the board operator at the radio station who sent the signal to the bird, the fellow behind the console in the theater who brought the spotlight up with practiced ease so the audience knew the show was starting? Excuse me, aren’t you that person who delivers the paper every morning?
Not a bad idea. Yesterday, after my final scheduled grade-school poetry workshop for the month, a number of students asked me for my autograph, though I'm clearly not someone they know or follow or read about in the papers. Which leads me to think the failure to appreciate thanksworthy tasks is a learned behavior.
Hmm. I just felt a crack form in my April writer's block.