Originally created 03/30/03

Contest winner says toilet-cleaning job stinks

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Do what you can, with what you have, with where you are.

- Theodore Roosevelt

TD Magazine held a contest to determine who has the worst job and, the Chicago Tribune reports, it thinks it has found this year's winner.

The finalists included adult video store clerk, sewer grate cleaner, nursing home nurse's aide, hospital greeter, hog slaughterhouse processor, asbestos remover, substitute janitor/bus driver and cab driver.

But the winner - and I think we can all agree here - was a Porta-Potty cleaner in Idaho.

The winning nomination said he gets used to the smell, but the challenge comes when he has to clean the inside of the ones that have tipped over.

The job does have one benefit, he said. The boss is never looking over your shoulder.

Well, what we do is what we do, and it's sometimes easy to figure that out.

To prove my point, I offer this example.

It seems a shepherd was tending his flock in a remote pasture when suddenly a brand-new luxury SUV appeared out of a dust cloud, advanced toward him and stopped.

The driver, a young man in his 20s, was wearing an expensive suit, Gucci shoes, Ray-Ban sunglasses and a shiny tie. He leaned out the window and said, "Hey, buddy, if I can tell you exactly how many sheep you have in your flock, will you give me one?"

The shepherd looked at the young guy with a bemused smile and answered, "OK."

Wasting no time, the young man parked his car, whipped out his notebook computer, connected it to a cell phone, surfed to a NASA page on the Internet, where he called up a GPS satellite navigation system, scanned the area, then opened up a database and some Excel spreadsheets with complex formulas. He finally printed out a 150-page report on his high-tech, miniaturized printer, turned around to our shepherd and said, "You have here exactly 1,586 sheep!"

The shepherd was surprised.

"That's right!" he said, "So I guess, you can take one of my sheep."

He watched as the man made a selection and bundled it into his vehicle.

When he was finished the shepherd stopped the young man and said, "Listen, if I can tell what you do for a living, will you call off our deal?"

"Sure," the young man said smugly.

"All right," said the shepherd, "you're a consultant."

This time it was the young man who appeared surprised.

"That's correct," he said. "How did you ever guess that?"

"Oh, that's easy," said the shepherd. "First, nobody called you, but you showed up here anyway.

"Second, you want to be paid for providing a solution to a question for which I already knew the answer.

"And third, you don't have any idea what you're doing because you just took my dog."

Reach Bill Kirby at (706) 823-3344 or bkirby@augustachronicle.com.


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