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National Review - for PD

National Review: Stop ‘Cherry-Picking’ One Form of Education


National Review - for PDWhy ‘the world is full of very happy septic-tank cleaners and miserable investment bankers.’

Mike Rowe was headed to the airport after filming an episode of Dirty Jobs when he saw a crew of roofers atop a church on an “impossibly” hot day in Pasadena. In a split second, he decided to skip his flight home and see what kind of people were hot-tarring a tall building in the California sun. It was most definitely a “dirty job” — one Rowe thought viewers might want to hear more about.

And that’s how the “Hot Tar Roofer” episode of the show came to be. Twelve hours later, a new episode wrapped and a bunch of roofers could tell their families they were going to be on TV. So it was with many episodes of the show that put Rowe on the map, showing and telling people they don’t need a master’s degree and a corner office to make a living. I grew up with a tar kettle in my backyard, grass splotched with drips of tar and my Dad’s construction boots propped outside the front door and flecked with tar, mud, paint, and whatever else a roofer comes in contact with. My Dad’s roofing business was a “dirty job” — and even though he owned it, he did the dirty work himself. There were hammers to skip over in the yard by the swing set, nails rolling around on the garage floor, stacks of sheet metal propped against the outside of our house, and the infamous pieces of fiberglass I slid down, realizing only later what a very itchy mistake that was.

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