Thursday, May 3, 2012

The Worst Job in the Whole Wide World

Question: What is the worst job in the whole wide world?

Answer: Driving around town picking up road kill.

"That's not a real job," you say.
"Really? 'Cause I had that job in college." I say back to you. Yep. Me.

Here's the thing about me. I hate being dirty. I hate blood, guts, and gore. I am basically a prissy chick. I mean that in the nicest way possible. In college I wasn't just a prissy chick. In college I was also a naive, stupid, prissy chick.

When I took the job, which was clearly not advertised as "Road Kill Picker-Upper," I was told I would need "gloves." Well, heavy duty work gloves are bulky and do not accentuate my slender dainty hands. No, I could not possibly hide my petite hands in big, masculine work gloves. Instead I bought a pair of garden gloves. Yep, garden gloves. As you are learning, I'm not exaggerating when I say I was stupid.

The job was attractive because it was a 9-5 Monday to Friday commitment. The job entailed working outside while perfecting my farmer's tan. If it rained, no one worked. That was the summer I learned it only rains on weekends.

I was not the only college student stupid enough to take this job bamboozled into taking this job. Nope, I had company. His name was Marcus, and he was always hung over. Always. I was the young, stupid, prissy chick and he was the young, stupid, hungover, college dude. Together we made quite the pair.

Not surprisingly, when a call came in about a large dead animal blocking a road, Marcus and I were always called upon. Always.

Hungover Marcus drives to the scene of death with his prissy chick side kick in tow. We were totally out of our element trying our best. The problem was, our best was really not all that great.

On particularly hot summer afternoons we smell the animal before we see it. Upon getting close to it, the stench is suffocating. I stop and pull out my garden gloves and rub strawberry Lip Smackers under my nose to mask the smell. Marcus openly mocks me initially, but by the end of the summer Marcus is smearing his face with my strawberry Lip Smackers, too. He, at least, has the good judgement to invest in real work gloves.

Perhaps it's Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, but even now when I drive by road kill I still think about the best way to move it. Road kill in pieces is always preferable because you just need to shovel it off the road. Road kill in one large piece, like a deer, is never a good thing.

I know you don't want the gory details, but I'm finding this therapeutic. Frankly, writing this saves me a $20 co-pay to a therapist. Don't read any further if you just ate a venison sandwich or if stories about dead deer cause you nightmares or night sweats.

I still remember one particular dead deer. Seriously, this happened 2 decades ago. I can't remember what I ate for lunch yesterday, but I remember a dead deer from 20 years ago.

There she is, sprawled across a two-lane country road. A man stands outside his home watching her and then watching us. Marcus and I approach. I pull my garden gloves from my back pocket. As we approach I see the deer's chest rise and then fall. I look at Marcus and tell him the deer is still alive. Marcus looks at me like I am a stupid, prissy, college chick.

None-the-less, we know we must move Ms. Deer from the 2 lane country road. We bend down. Marcus grabs the hind quarters and I grab the head. We lift her while groaning at her weight (I am also whimpering because I'm holding a deer's head). As we lift the deer, she literally rips into two parts and a flood of maggots and goo spill out. In utter shock and horror, I realize that what I thought was evidence of breathing was actually maggots moving within the dead deer body.

I have not been right since.

No amount of strawberry Lip Smackers can make that image go away.

The next time you see a Yahoo news story about the worst jobs on the planet, just remember it's all poppycock. The worst job in the whole wide world is picking up road kill.

And you thought you had a bad day at work!

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