Culture Magazine

Our Everyday Heroes

By Fsrcoin

Our everyday heroesMedical personnel are the heroes of the moment. On the front lines, working flat out, under great emotional stress, literally risking their lives. Deserving all the praise they’re getting.

But there are many other heroes.

“Grocery Workers Beginning to Die,” read a newspaper story’s April 7 headline. Hardly surprising. The article said many stores delayed providing or even allowing face masks and gloves for employees dealing with the public.

Our everyday heroes
A previous report quoted a woman that she’s looked down on as a supermarket worker. It’s not considered a prestigious occupation. Like mine frankly was. I didn’t see myself as better than people like her, just more fortunate, benefiting from circumstances I didn’t create. Handed a good life on a platter. Others truly have to work for what they get, which is often a lot less. Now they must risk their lives for it.

“Essential” business are kept open, while we’re cautioned to avoid close contact. Many workers hardly can, serving a stream of customers.

Actually they’ve always been essential. Our entire modern society is structured upon a vast interconnected web of people performing myriads of functions. I recall a flight where on the video screen the airline’s head talked about the great numbers of people doing all sorts of different jobs, mostly invisible to us, enabling that plane to fly. And I’ve read it takes twenty-odd people doing varied jobs all across the world just to get a cup of coffee to you.

Our everyday heroes
Much of this is now under strain. One might easily imagine how removing one link in the chain could keep that coffee off your table — or that plane on the ground. Yet it isn’t really happening. My wife wanted to buy a survivalist pack, in case things fall apart, like electricity going out. I persuaded her our civilization is much more robust and resilient than that. People everywhere are rising to challenges. Not even in places worst hit by COVID-19 has the power grid been allowed to fail.

Thanks to millions of everyday heroes, who get up each day and perform their roles in that vast interconnected web that is modern society.

I have no time for cynics who prate about humanity’s dark side, all the evils of civilization. We are not angels, and in building civilization there was no free lunch. It took thousands of years of effort, but what we’ve built gives ever more people opportunities to live good rewarding lives. I salute all the heroes who continue making this possible every day. Like grocery workers.

Our everyday heroes

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A final word. I’d long been noticing just how many of these people, staffing counters everywhere, are African-Americans and other minorities. Seeing them I remind myself their forebears were mostly brought here as slaves. Yet here they are, living upstanding lives, performing all these vital jobs, integral parts of our great societal machine, often with cheerful smiles. Surely testaments to our civilization’s highest ideals.

Our everyday heroes
I also think about those whites actually irked by it. Imagine granting their heart’s desire and making all those people of color disappear. I wonder how they’d like the world then.

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