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In the next eight years, I would travel to every state and work every conceivable dirty job: salt miner, fish gutter, septic-tank technician, ostrich farmer, underwater lumberjack, worm-poop rancher—you name it.
I can’t tell you that I did those jobs well. In fact, I was a disaster, as most apprentices are their first day on the job. But I didn’t care anymore. Because my incompetence was now illuminating the expertise of the skilled workers I profiled.
All I had to do was humble myself, share my own shortcomings with millions of viewers, and shine the spotlight on the very people I had always admired the most.
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Pop died just before Dirty Jobs premiered, but really, he had seen the first episode 40 years earlier. He knew it was there all along, buried in a toolbox I never knew I had. The one he told me about back when I was his apprentice. The best job I’ve ever had.
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