Walk a mile or 20 instead of exercising your mouth

Published: 12/22/2016 11:00 AM
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I write this column, for the most part, on a weekly basis.

Some weeks it’s light, other weeks, it’s heavy. Other than that, I just sit around the newsroom telling jokes and getting coworkers coffee when their cup gets low — cream and sugar if they’re on my good side.

Once in a while, I’ll go to the snack machine and sit and read a magazine until I put myself down for a nap.


That’s not even close.

But I’m not going into list my responsibilities or daily tasks because, you know, that could be construed as narcissism or Marxism or whatever someone on Facebook, Twitter or Sound Off wants to call it. Which is fine. I’ve been in this industry long enough to have developed skin as thick as a redwood.

I’d just like to know when everyone became an expert on everyone else’s job?

Let’s criticize, shall we?

Drive-thru workers? They should smile more.

Teachers? Ugh. They get the whole summer off.

Farmers? Bunch of hicks.

Garbage men? Ew. Must be gross and dirty.

Cops/EMS/Firemen? Why didn’t they get there faster? They have no idea what they’re doing.

Referee/umpire? Blind.

Server? Slow. Responsible for food quality they merely transported. Servant.

Journalist? Where do we begin? Conspiracies. Lies. Agendas. Rag. Birdcage liner. Vendettas.

Santa? I didn’t get my 50-inch smart TV. Loser.

Need I go on? Yes.

Thankless jobs

I must not have been copied on the mass email declaring everyone knows everything about everything. While I celebrate opinions, I have no time for the naysayers — people who habitually have a negative view or pessimistic contribution.

And I’m not talking about realists. The world is currently, if I can borrow from Internet slang of those far younger than me, a huge “dumpster fire” in a lot of ways. It’s good to question and intelligently debate. However, when you have no basis or background, your criticism is equivalent to an insult and just plain irresponsible.

It’s highly unlikely someone has worked all the aforementioned jobs.

Oh, but doesn’t everyone have an opinion on how everything should be done and how it can be done better?

Walk a mile or 20, pal.

Someone else’s shoes

I would love, given the time — don’t want to interrupt my magazine-reading time — to do a new series. Whenever someone comments publicly, via Facebook, Sound Off, Twitter or the like, a rude, blanketed statement of how someone else’s job should be done, that person should have to, minimum, work three days doing that same job.

Because, what’s the worst that could happen? Maybe, just maybe, that person really does know how to do it better. Then, everything improves, hugs are shared, perhaps a high-five or a fist bump happens. Problem solved; yapping justified. Let’s all go home and have a bowl of soup.

Or, let’s just go out a limb and propose the theory that not everyone chirping is an expert.

Worst case scenario, they can’t hack the first few hours and crumble, taking with them a moment of pristine revelation that they may not know everything.

The best example is Facebook. Unless you’re unplugged, you know crime has risen at an alarming rate in the coal region. News outlets post stories online after gathering information from official sources.

Cue the hailstorm (For the record, “hail” is not my prefix of choice).

98 degrees

We’ll focus on Facebook and the coal region because, I don’t know, that’s just easier; I’m familiar.

When big things happen, people fan out their diplomas — specialist in all the happenings of the world — to offer their “educated” commentary.

Bank robbery? Pshh. These cops don’t know how to handle that. They should have better security at the banks. The newspaper information is SO old; I knew like, 27 minutes ago who the suspects were. Robbers? Idiots. (Ok, I’ll give you the last one.)

Bravo. Not only is the case cracked on coal region crime, all the world’s problems are now solved because of the two cents chipped in by the all-knowing Facebook commenter.

Let’s be real.

One in about 999 times, someone genuinely has a valid point. The margin here is broad.

Largely, it’s the behavior of an attention-seeking, uneducated brat.

Larger picture

Not every case is the same. That’s why I constantly decry the use of blanketed statements. Are there exceptions? Of course. But when you criticize a line of work, you criticize all those who are in that field, and that’s not fair to those who give their all at what they do.

Drive-thru workers? They’re working. They’re likely putting food on the table for their family.

Teachers? Their responsibility is huge in molding young minds.

Farmers? Do you like to eat? You think spaceships drop off all that produce displayed at the grocery store?

Garbage men? Manual labor in a huge industry that will always be around. And they’re likely making a lot more money thank you think.

Cops/EMS/Fireman? I’m ashamed I even have to justify their jobs. The amount of menial calls to which they routinely respond is a workload most could never bear. I hear on the scanner: “My kid won’t behave. My boyfriend won’t give me my stuff. I’m locked out of my car or house.” Take that workload and add fires, robberies, critical medical situations, shift work, court, overtime, topped off with widely inappropriate criticism and disrespect. Talk about thankless. These people save lives; run into burning buildings.

Referee/umpire? I know nothing about sports, outside of almost beating Mark Gilger in Fearless Forecasters. Pretty sure they aren’t blind. That would be dangerous.

Server? They don’t cook your food. They are not your slave. They are working low wages for tips to make ends meet. Everyone should have to be a server once in their life to experience the variations of generosity and degradation each table brings.

Journalist? I’m not justifying anything. Conflict of interest. Read about the AP reporter who witnessed the assassination of the Russian diplomat. That is journalism and an example of the integrity good journalists possess.

Santa? Don’t you dare say a bad word about Santa.

So, use your noodle; think before you speak or post. If a narrow mind can possibly be widened, it would see the full picture and be more appreciative of those who work these thankless jobs.

(Jenna Wasakoski is an assistant editor at The News-Item. Her lifestyle column appears Thursdays.)

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