I dunno. President of the United States? Ha. Satire. Banana salesman? Meh. Pretty much the same thing. Yes, there are many jobs that have come and gone, many consigned to the history books. But you never know. I might invent a time machine and travel back to a point where I end up doing one of these jobs and I’ll have to choose, readers! I must, darn it! I can’t be a graphic designer in 1907. So that’s what I’ll be doing, today. Trying to figure out which obsolete job I would be rather good at. And you never know, the way this country is going, there might very well be a job for human poop collector in the future…
Whilst there were thousands and thousands of old jobs, certain old jobs really stand out. Take a look at bowling alleys. Now, whilst it’s easy to assume bowling alleys always had the correct mechanical gubbins, your ball retrieval systems, your doodahs that doodah the pins back into place, and even those rails to stop idiots putting the ball into the gutter – like me – this was not always the case. Why, in the very old days, young boys were hired to be bowling alley pinsetters. Yes, they actually picked up the pins and reset them. By hand. Golly. Whilst I am rather taken with this idea, I do worry about being hit with a bowling ball. The boys, after all, used to sit atop a wall at the end of the lane. One rogue shot and its curtains, people! I do not want ‘died with a bowling ball to the head’ on my tombstone, thank you very much.
Rat catchers used to be all the rage. Until the bubonic plague killed most of them off so this is a no from me. If I was a woman, I would definitely be smitten by the idea of switchboard operator, but they never hired men. Almost as if we can’t be trusted. Hmm. And they have a point. There was one point in our history where they started hiring men, specifically young boys, and they just kept connecting the wrong people – for a laugh. “What if I connect the doctor to his ex-wife?” That actually happened! And that doesn’t make me smile at all. Ahem.
Lamplighter? No. I’m not fond of ladders. Resurrectionists were all the rage in the 19th century. I’m not entirely sure how this was a job. They were hired to remove corpses from graves for universities to use as cadavers after the number of people volunteering for such endeavours took a nosedive. So what did the universities do? Yes, body snatching. Seriously. This really happened! My biggest objection to this is that I’m not a good digger. Oh, and the morality. Mainly that one…
A factory lector was a popular job. That’s someone who sits in a factory and reads poems to the workers to keep them entertained, a bit like the radio before the radio but more like Radio 4 and less like Radio 1, and I don’t know about you, but I’d much prefer a poem than the latest rave thump-a-thon migraine inducing tuneski. I’d fit right in, in the olden days. Ice cutter? Nah. I’d fall right through the ice knowing my luck.
Log driver? They were once a common sight. Before the technology or infrastructure was available to transport logs by road or rail, log drivers would float the logs and guide them down the rivers, standing on top, like a makeshift raft. I miss the olden days, I really do. Sadly, I can’t swim and knowing my luck, the logs would burst into flames. Gee. I wouldn’t be good at any of these jobs, would I?
Human alarm clock? Yes, if you’ve ever wondered what they did after cock but before the alarm clock, this is what they did. Their official title was ‘knocker-upper’, and they were hired by people to ensure that said people would wake up on time for their jobs. They would use sticks, clubs and even pebbles to knock on their clients’ windows and doors. The problem with this one, for me, is that I don’t want my job to be ‘knocker-upper’. That means something very different these days. I can just see my future descendent looking back to my life. “So, your ancestor was a knocker-upper!” “Is that like a prostitute?” “Yes, we believe so…”
You know what, just for the shits and giggles, I’d like to be a pre-radar listener. Yes, before radar this was a thing. People used to stand in fields with these giant listening-type contraptions bolted onto the sides of their heads and I promise I will post a picture because it’s almost unbelievable that this was a thing. But I promise, I promise, it was real. Just for looking like that, just for the idea that there could be a photo out there of me looking like such a massive wally that would survive for centuries after I’m gone, offering a bizarre glimpse at the past for those to come, I would do this job no longer in existence.
So, yes. I’m a pre-radar listener, baby!
But what about you, readers? What would your calling be for a job no longer around?
Please say knocker-upper…
Image (Click on It to Enlarge)
1) A pre-radar listener. For real!
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