My college professor said the problem with communism is that not enough people want to be street sweepers. If you have a state-guaranteed income, why take a lousy job?

I was thinking about that during a recent dentist appointment. Not many people like dentist appointments. So imagine being a dentist. Your day is nothing but dentist appointments, one after the other. You wake up in the morning, put on gloves, and scrape goo off people’s teeth. Stick the little hose down there to absorb all the gunk and grime and your ears are filled with the sound of suction.

Have you ever looked deeply into a mouth? Take a flashlight, open your mouth, and look into a mirror. You see a dank cavern with bumps and orifices and a long, dangling thing way at the back in the place where everything falls off the cliff and into the gizzard. That’s what a dentist looks at all day.

Yet there are thousands of people in this country who voluntarily do that job. Tens of thousands. They devote years of study to make it possible. 

And thank God for them. Whether it’s for the money, for the love of the job, or for something else, they look into our mouths, and as I see it, they keep the world rotating. If we didn’t have dentists, there would be nothing but Austin Powers roaming the earth. You yourself would be Austin Powers. People would be disgusted by those around them and their smiles and their disgusting, twisted, rotting teeth. Procreation would stop. We’d go where the dinosaurs went.

I think you can say that about every job. One of life’s miracles is that there are usually enough people to fill every kind of position. They may hate the job and complain about it from dawn to dusk. Not everybody gets their dream situation, and there are a lot more people collecting garbage than are playing drums before a packed stadium. But every job gets done. That is because there is satisfaction in every job.  

I have come to respect and admire every type of work that everyone does. If you dig a bit, jobs are almost always interesting, and we should be grateful for the role that people fill. I’ve made similar observations about hotel maidslawyers (which is my own job), garbage collectors, and, indirectly, exterminators

Take accountants: I’m really glad that I’m not an accountant, because if I were then I’d have to do accounting all the time. And I don’t like to do accounting. But every 14th of April at 20 minutes to midnight, as I’m hauling ass to the post office in a sweat and panic, I am very glad indeed that there are accountants.