Wednesday, September 17, 2008


El Capitan and I were sharing a reminiscence today concerning the vilest jobs in Texas...a reminiscence that was triggered by this post at his site.

Of course, there are plenty of nasty jobs in Texas right now. Cleaning up after a hurricane - especially a hurricane-driven flood - is unspeakably vile. Floodwaters pick up everything and strew it all around together, and I mean everything. Dead animals. Insects. Snakes. Household chemicals. The crap in Grandma’s attic. Boogers. Turds. Used bandages. Bodies from the local cemetery. All brought together and simmered in the late Texas summer sun to create the Soup from Hell. Piquant...and pungent.

Ye gods.

But aside from disaster recovery, there are plenty of horrible jobs around, jobs upon which some people must depend for their livelihood. And it sucks to be them.

Years ago, Texas Monthly published an article that enumerated the ten worst jobs in Texas. It was, if I recall correctly, in the May 1976 issue, a copy of which I am certain to have stashed away somewhere in the monstrous Archive d’Elisson.

Without digging out the actual magazine in question, I can recall a few of those jobs.

One of them - the worst - was the job of chicken sexer in a poultry plant. Yes: Chicken sexer.

It seems that male chicks, much like their human counterparts, are mostly useless. And so the chicken sexer, working at the breakneck pace of one chick every second, grabs a tiny peeping chick from a bin, sticks his finger up the chick’s ass, and feels for the little nubbin of flesh that indicates a Chicken-Dude. Female chicks are kept. Male chicks are simply tossed into the trash...still cheeping away.

Nice work if you can get it, eh? But there’s more.

How ’bout the guy who glues the ceramic “Botts Dots” onto the highway lane marker stripes in the 100-degree-plus heat of a Texas summer?

Or the guy who works for the rendering plant - you know, the one who gets to pick up all the squashed dogs, cats, and cows from those sweltering Texas roadways? You just know that some of those critters are gonna be majorly ripe by the time you get to them: bloated and stinky. And horribly soft. One entertaining vignette in the article had to do with a roadkill collector who had to pick up a dead cow. He hooked up a rope to the front legs of the cow and started the winch...whereupon the beast’s decomposing corpse split in half, right in the middle. “Dwayne, get me that big ol’ shovel, willya?”

Yeah, it’s rough being a used cow dealer.

Next to some of those jobs, the lot of the poor bastard in Cappy’s post may not be all that bad...

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