Thanks to Shannon Conley for giving me the prompt for today's post!
She shared something from Stephanie Schmick on Facebook about hair stylists that was really good, and there was a line in there that caught my attention.
"what’s the big deal, you are just a hair stylist..."
When I was young, just a housewife wasn't a pejorative term. It was actually kind of...you know...nice. A housewife took care of her family, her home, whatever got in her way that needed doing. It was a multifaceted job that had no beginning and no end. If she'd gotten paid for everything she did, no one could have afforded her, but many housewives loved what they did and were proud to do it.
Somewhere along the line, the just in her job got ugly. She somehow wasn't as important as women who worked "real jobs." Jokes about lying on couches eating bonbons followed them around. As time went on, women who worked outside the home became "just part-time moms who used school for a babysitter."
Even when I watched that happen, I didn't give it much thought. I was "just a postal worker" for 30 years. I write "just romance" instead of "real books." I've known and worked with many, many "just factory workers." Some of my kids are "just teachers." I've heard the term "just a bunch of farmers" used when talking about anyone rural.
And these. All of these.
Just dumb jocks.
Just flips burgers.
Just a bartender.
Just the maid at the hotel.
Just a server.
Just a girl.
Just a bunch of kids.
Just the trash guy.
Just a cashier.
Just a nurse.
Just an employee.
Just a mom.
I call B. S.
No one is just anything. No one. Every one of the people I listed here--and a bunch of others I didn't think of--have something in common. They make a difference in other people's lives. Many of them do what others either can't or don't want to.
At some point, I wonder if someone has referred to her as just a bus driver.
I remember when I was in school how the custodians cleaned up after us. They knew us by name, cleaned up when someone was sick, and put up with things we never would have gotten by with at home. During memorable Senior Weeks in days gone by, they followed us and our squirt guns through the hall with mops. Shaking their heads and laughing and wishing us their best as we went forward.
I wonder if any of us ever called them just janitors. I so hope not.
I don't remember when I first heard the term just a nurse, but I'm certain it was made by no one who ever knew one, loved one, needed one, or saw one at work.
This morning I'm just a columnist hoping you have a good week. Be nice to somebody.