I’m deeply thankful my husband has a well-paying job, because it occurred to me recently that because of my extreme decrepitudinal age and how long ago I had my last crap job, I don’t think I could get hired, even for that same crap job. My skills are probably outdated, too. Don’t you have to be able to do HTML and Google Analytics to get by in pink-collar-land now?
These reflections led me to recall all the crap jobs I’ve held and, perversely, try to choose which of them I would like to do again. Let’s see…
dishwashing at the university cafeteria
scooping ice cream
painting exterior fences, walls, barns, etc. at a dude farm
waiting table in an “old folks home” as we called ‘em then
shelving books at the library
selling kid’s clothing
cleaning, painting, & renovating a factory space
desktop publishing for real estate, marketing, & consulting firms
repairing torn and broken fake sunflowers for an Italian opera
These are just the jobs I got paid for, the ones I remember anyway. There have been many, many crap jobs I did as a volunteer, among them:
summer horse bathing, winter horse dressing, and teaching at tots’ horse camp
shifting acres of plastic floor tiles for roller derby track
running science fiction convention programming
The dish room at the cafeteria was one of my first crap jobs, and the one I loved best of that era. Despite scoring some interesting porn from donations rejected by the library, getting my clothes eaten off me by cows at the dude farm, and the artistic satisfaction of reconstructing fifty-year-old rubber sunflowers, I felt the dish room had more going for it, especially food. I was nineteen in the late seventies. The worst you could get from eating someone’s apparently untouched slice of pie was the flu. We all did it. Also, my then-boyfriend would send me love notes written on paper napkins, usually covering that slice of pie. (I married him and I still have him, and the notes!)
The yuckiest job in the dish room was taking the dishes and flatware off each tray as it passed by on the “trayveyor,” dumping garbage down the garbage disposal, and sorting the dishes onto racks. I enjoyed that job, too. There was a dandy overhead-hung sprayer, good for squirting your coworkers. Washing pots and pans was less fun, but the giant, boxy, badly-sealed dishwasher gouted massive clouds of steam that entertained my simple mind. The university bought me a pair of very butch steel-toed boots to work in, which I wore to classes with my very seventies farmer-jane overalls. And if a small earthenware bowl happened to fall into the garbage disposal, it was chewed to shrapnel with a noise like machinegunfire. Cool!
Yeah, I think I’d go for that one again. That or handling horses, although that job paid me only in “free” rides, and only sometimes. I think I got ten free rides for about twenty-two-hundred hours of hard work, kicks and bites thrown in free. Horses were hugely rewarding, again on the intangibles. Horses are nice people by and large, and horse people are often crazy. My conclusion after about ten years hanging around with them was that being around horses regresses a person emotionally to childhood. If you were a nice kid, that’s great. If you were a mean kid, not so great. Horses are amazingly forgiving, however, and they seem to like all kids. That kind of unconditional acceptance is priceless.
Well, enough about my crap jobs. What were your favorites? Would you do any of them again, as long as you didn’t have to live on the pay?