Jobs I Could Never Do

I watched the veterinarian give my growling cat a shot, and I thought to myself, “Well, there’s a job I wouldn’t want.”

I had the same thought when I noticed that, long ago, someone braver than I am worked right up to the edge of the Grand Canyon building a low wall beside it. And when I watched a truck driver back up an 18-wheeler in a full parking lot while we all watched to see if he could do it without hitting our cars. He could and he did. Some of us can’t do as well with a compact car.

As Labor Day rolls around, I’d like to pay tribute to all the people who do jobs I couldn’t or wouldn’t do, but my column isn’t that long. So let me just highlight a few of them. For starters, I would never want one of those jobs that require you to stay calm under pressure, for example, first responders, emergency room doctors and playground teachers. 

I wouldn’t want a job that required precision either. I’m more of a “that’s close enough,” kind of person, and that doesn’t work if you’re building bridges, doing brain surgeries or rigging parachutes.

Sure actors on the big screen are amazing, but what about actors on TV commercials. Now there’s a tough job. How do you keep a straight face when you have to dress up like a mustard bottle or say things like “Thanks Baseboard Buddy” while gazing lovingly at a dust mop?

I sleep almost as well in a moving vehicle as I do in a bed, so I probably wouldn’t make much of a bus driver. I am a pretty good driver—when I’m awake, but that is one of the qualities you look for in a good bus driver.

I appreciate fast food workers at busy drive-through windows. No matter how long the line, they still get my order right. And honestly, sometimes when I order a salad and iced tea, I wish they’d goof and give me someone’s bacon burger, large fries and chocolate shake.

And I’ve long admired people who work in those sandwich shops where they wrap sandwiches so perfectly they look like professionally-wrapped gifts. I once had a job that required I wrap gifts, and they were always a little lumpy. It’s so much easier to just toss a gift into a gift bag, but you probably can’t do that with a 6-inch meatball sub and all the fixings.

There are some professionals I admire so much I’d like them to move right into my basement. One is a computer person. When I have computer problems at work, I call on our highly-trained computer staff. When I have similar difficulties at home, all I have at my disposal is a hammer and some salty language.

I’d like a housekeeper to move into my basement too. They could clean up after my computer person—and me. And I do appreciate people who clean up after other people. One summer when I was in college, I cleaned cabins in Yellowstone National Park. It was hard work. It required attention to detail and commitment to quality. Plus there were all those beds and I couldn’t even nap.

I’d like a proofreader to move in too. That would save me trouble and my readers some confusion. I once wrote about buying a raffle ticket for an afghan, except, without thinking, I capitalized Afghan. It looked like instead of a handmade blanket, I was hoping to win a person from Afghanistan, and for just one dollar. As it turns out, I didn’t win either one. An afghan would have been nice, but an Afghan could have cooked the food of their homeland. That would have been helpful with those extra people living in my basement.

(Dorothy Rosby is the author of several humor books, including I Used to Think I Was Not That Bad and Then I Got to Know Me Better