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Re: “Shit jobs

Great story! I usually win these shit job comparisons. You see... I was a garbageman. Yep. Art school dropout working for minimum wage as a garbageman in my hometown. How's THAT for a definition of 'loser?' The only job here that rivals mine is the porn mopper. The others? Sorry. Some come close on the nausea scale... but two short weeks cleaning chicken coops ain't gonna cut it. I was a garbageman for a full year. Summer, winter, rain, snow, hail, eight hours a day, five days a week. Where to start? How about the road kill, which we had to scrape off the pavement, usually with our hands, scooping up any stray intestines or guts? Or the garbage cans left out in the July swelter for days and filled up halfway with what we called "maggot soup?" Or the bags that expanded with gas in the heat and exploded when ground up by the packer, peppering us with the rotten contents, with chunks flying up our noses or in our mouths? When we stopped for lunch at the Dairy Queen we conducted "maggot patrol" in the parking lot and brushed the squirming buggers out of our hair before we went into the restaurant. Ever been to a dump? Picture rolling hills of garbage, looming high all around, so tall you can't see the "real world.' When we jumped out of the cab to empty the packer, we sunk up to your knees in festering trash. You can smell a dump for miles away. When you're smack in the middle of it, up to your balls in it, the stench is indescribable. We got the perverts, too. No one knows more about local townsfolk than your garbageman. Mostly it was the porn, boxes of it, all manner of kink, left out on the curb by the piano teacher, the local plumber, the town barber etc. Our standing order was to gather up the smut and deliver it to the cops. Not for prosecution- they liked it for their break room! My fave was one guy who set out a huge box of hardcore mags and vids. Leaning up against the box was a full length mirror, with a hole cut at genital level. All around said hole, fake pubic hair was glued onto the glass! I'll end with this- the kennels. Dozens of small, heavy bags of dog crap were left out every week, surrounded by a thick cloud of flies. So many, it filled up the bin and we had to 'cycle' the packer or lose half of them on the road. "Cycling" is when the big blade comes down and pulls the garbage in the rear bin up into the truck. But... there is, alas, an inch gap between the blade and the bin, so the blade popped all the bags and created a 6-foot-wide shit pancake out of the rotten turds that had been cooking in the summer sun. AND it was a looooong couple miles to the next stop, where we could gather more bags and cycle the pancake up into the packer, in effect wiping the truck's ass. It took several years after my garbage career for my nose hair to grow back. My first graphic novel, TRASHED, is a memoir of this memorable job. Wish I'd made it a scratch-and-sniff book, though.

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Posted by Derf on 02/18/2009 at 8:12 AM

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