By Nicholas Varchaver
December 4, 2016

Good morning.

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to be a train conductor? Or a firefighter? Or maybe a software engineer? How about a janitor, exotic dancer, waste collection driver, horse doctor, pharmacist, or fabric cutter—a pastor or a python wrangler? The Atlantic has a splendid and sprawling online presentation entitled “Inside Jobs.” It consists of separate interviews with 103 regular folks holding down different occupations all over the U.S. You’ll learn how a seven-year-old boy was emotionally attracted to the goings-on at a funeral parlor (and the “ministry” he feels he performs today, decades later, as a funeral director), why it can be harder to guard women in prisons than men, and the heart-rending interactions a “Today show crowd tamer” has with fans. It’s a powerful reminder of the dignity of work and equally important, the fact that a person you may encounter for only seconds—or never see at all—is often pouring their heart, soul, and intelligence into a service that you may barely be aware of.

Speaking of more-than-meets-the-eye in a seemingly pedestrian occupation, this obituary of a McDonald’s franchisee in Uniontown, Pa. who invented the Big Mac is a lovely paean to good old American ingenuity and stick-to-itiveness. Jim Delligatti, who just died at age 98, created the megahit almost 50 years ago despite active opposition from the parent corporation. How did McDonald’s compensate Delligatti for an idea that made the company billions of dollars? It gave him a plaque.

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