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Updated: April 27, 2013 15:34 IST
LIGHT ANGLE

The odd job men

ANAND VENKATESWARAN
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ILLUSTRATION: SATWIK GADE
THE HINDU ILLUSTRATION: SATWIK GADE

A look at the stranger side of employment.

May Day, that celebration of the working man and homage to his chosen profession, is just round the corner. Now, most people would take on the odd job to make ends meet. But what are the odds that you’d take up these jobs?

Knocker-up: Knock up door/window to wake up client

Back when alarm clocks weren’t invented and roosters weren’t all that reliable, you paid the knocker-up a few cents every week to knock on your door and keep knocking until you woke up. If you lived on a higher floor, he used bamboo poles to rap your windows. Useful work all around; it’s just that helping your clients rise tends to get a rise out of them, and the incessant knocking could get you knocked down.

Loves: Extended siestas.

Hates: ‘knock-knock’ jokes

Paint drying watcher: Sit around, wait for things to happen

Now this job involves a stop watch, so it must be exciting, right? Decidedly so, if your idea of a nail-biting adventure is to sit in one place and, well, watch paint dry. Touching is traditionally used as a test, but testers have been known to sit on paint, just to mix things up. It can seem dull, but look at the bright side – you get to see some colour on the job and even your toughest assignment lasts you till lunch-time.

Loves: To watch whole IPL matches in ultra slo-mo.

Hates: Wall-paper

Crime-scene cleaner: Work on empty stomach

Yours would be the show after CSI. Collect debris, fix broken furniture, mend shredded upholstery and mop up bits of victim. Necessary skills are muted sense of smell, obsessive scrubbing and keeping the contents of your stomach down. For advanced courses, contact mummy of ‘behind toilet bowl’ and ‘kitchen stove’ classes.

Loves: Steel wool and super-strong detergent.

Hates: Ketchup

Bird sexer: Flip ‘em over to tell them apart

This job is a lot less sexier than the title promises. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to separate male chicks from female ones. You get to toss fluffy chicken into giant vats and listen to chirping all day. However, if you’re the sort who often wonders about the gender of the person in front of you, this job isn’t for you.

Loves: Soft toys and down pillows.

Hates: Tweety bird cartoons

Odd job journalist: Somebody’s got to do the dirty work

Well it’s a job too. Someone ought to look for odd jobs and make a list of them, don’t you think? Although admittedly, it is suspicious when a journalist does it – he is either looking for alternative career options, or attempting to find a profession that is weirder than his. Good luck with that.

Loves: Solitaire and Pac-Man.

Hates: Employment

Groom of the stool: In charge of the business end of the king

Yes, the other stool. The son of a nobleman or gentry, the groom of the stool presided over the office of royal excretion, with exclusive access to the royal posterior. He wiped the king’s bottom after his highness took a dump. It must have seemed a crap job on hindsight.

Loves: Toilet paper and health faucets.

Hates: Wind instruments

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Light AngleSeptember 2, 2013

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