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What was your "Dirtiest Job"

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Following the popular TV program "Dirty Jobs", what was your "Dirtiest Job"?


Mine was by far the summers and breaks I spent during my college years working in sausage room of a small meat packing house.


Rough place to work...rough conditions, rougher people.


Most of the workers were missing finger tips....especially those that operated pneumatic sausage presses.

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Nasty dirt; cleaning Foster's Freeze every day before school or early on weekends. Especially bad was the grease disposal, smelled so bad it turned your stomach. Had a couple times where the women's restroom was the worst due to inconsiderate women leaving nasty messes.


Just dirt, dirt, was road repair in the national forest; swamping grader or Cat, or putting in drainage chutes and pipes. Close behind that was working on the track crew in the open pit salt mine in the middle of the desert.

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WEll, I worked for a few different plumbers.


One thought that he was perfect and if he made a mistake..it was your fault, even if you weren't there or around when it happened.


TIme to go


Next one did all new construction only, and I liked the job. He paid well, taught me alot because he was meticulous, but reasonably meticulous. Then he decided to move back home...6b states more north!


Third plumber is the one who made me change carrers. Should have known when I came to his house at 10am to interview, and his wife said she would see if she could wake him up. Apparently, he was passed out in the bathtub from a party they had the night before.


WEll, when you have to pay the bills, any job is a great job, or at least good enough to hold you til you find a better one.


About a week of working for this guy who I still wonder how he got his plumbing license, and we get a call to a house where the homeowner thinks a pipe may be leaking under the house.


Let me give a little background: It was the 3rd week of August in the humidity capitol of the east coast of trhe United States: NC


We get to the womans house and find out she's "kinda" been smelling something for maybe a couple of months.


We go around to te side of her house to where the access hatch is and see a fine rusty brown trickle of liquid coming out of the hatch.


My boss opens the hatch and I almost threw up. The underside of the housr had almost 8" of raw sewage, grease, rotting food chuncks, what was pronbably at one time toilet paper, and a dead rat...I think..... under it.


Evidentally, the ground under the house was about 4 inches lower than the outside ground level.


Lie I said, I almost threw up. My boss then looks at me and says: "WEll, go find the leak."


I told him there was no way I would go under there, aside from the smell and just the general nastiness of it - you had to consider diseases and such. I had a few scratches, busted knuckle of two , and maybe a cut from working in general.


I look at him and siad right there and then:



Got in my work truck, drove it to his house and got in my track and went home.


Thye next day, I got a job installing garage doors. Been doing that for over 16 years now!

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We were working to support an EPA-funded modeling effort in Puerto Rico, gathering data for the model. Two of us were collecting measurements on Laguna San Jose. We were in a small craft and the chop had soaked us with water from the waterbody, eyes, noses, ears, mouths, everything. I kept getting the feeling that this was not a good place. We spent the whole day out there getting a really good inoculation. Then late in the day, it dawned on me. We were working in raw sewage. The other guy nearly threw up. When we were loading the boat back on the trailer, I slipped and cut a gash in my leg in that water.

That evening the EPA guys laughed and notified us that they were required to wear 'white suits' on that waterbody. I got checked up after we got back. The doctor listened to my story, checked the wound and everything else and he said, "you have an excellent immune system."

It gave special meaning to H.G. Wells words when he noted that no life is lived in vain. Even those of us who have died quick deaths from infections have strengthened the population through the selective process. And as the successful recipient of that process, I give thanks for those lives.

But that trip....I will never ever have good thoughts about Puerto Rico as a result.

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Bar back.


No job was ever more aptly named.


Showed up well before the bartenders, and hit all the grunt work--cases, kegs, ice, racks of glasses. Set up the bar for the bartenders. A good work out, even before opening time.


Then rush around all night replenishing stock, washing glasses, bouncer (as needed--the ones paid to be bouncers were notoriously absent when needed), and sometimes tend bar when things got really nuts. Heavy smoke, loud music.......


After closing time, stay another hour cleaning up the mess.


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I worked for 3 years as a deckhand on a sports fishing boat. I spent a lot of time cutting bait, cleaning fish, cleaning the boat, washing blood off the deck and myself, all that good stuff. The first year I got sea sick every day we went out. The second year I got sick half the days we went out. The third year I got sick once.


Thought the sea sickness really sucks it never stopped me from working. Well, the puking did stop me, but only for the amount of time it took to hurl over the rail. Those days I got pretty good tips.

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Summer job in Tucson AZ digging holes for trees around new apartment complexes - 3' x 3' for $3 each in 110F heat. Dirt was mostly caliche - hard as a rock and required alternating between pounding with a heavy sharp "caliche rod" and scarping out the dirt with a shovel. It was a glorious day when I hit a buried water pipe!

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Maintenance/cleaning in an auto tire plant. Sweeping up lampblack (imagine black waterproof talcum powder...) We all looked like coal miners when we ended the shift. Had to clean up before heading home so as to not ruin the interior of your car. Never wore anything other than company provided coveralls because no laundromat in town would allow you to wash your clothes in their machines. Never wanted to get soap in your eyes so unless you used cold cream it always looked like you had put on a heavy dosage of mascara.... One could take a shower, put on clean clothes and a couple of hours later in hot weather your clothes were filthy from the lampblack forced out of our pores. Lovely job!



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Age 14 worked in the back of a florist shop. Once was locked in the back of a refrigerated truck for an hour (it was pitch black) delivering flowers to a wedding. Had to dye tons of flowers everyday in the alley with a spray bottle. Everyday came home with my face and hands blue or green or red except for where my glasses were.


Made a grand total of $1.25 an hour (1976). When the florists found out I was a scout they sent the 19 year old owners daughter to try to seduce me. I have fond memories of the kiss in the walk in refrigerator and the see through net top she wore that day. I told her I didn't believe in sex before marriage and she proclaimed "he really is a boy scout!"

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Mucking out Camp "Vault" toilets with a shovel, bucket on a rope, and a topside helper when the decomp process failed or was overwhelmed.


Cleaning Grocery Store Meat shops - Band Saws, Slicers, Grinders, Knives, Tables and the overall space - with a good attitude and while displayed to customers.


Clearing the space under Scales, Truck Scales, Livestock Scales, Frozen truck scale pits (Lever, Load Cell and Combo's)

Some of that was excellent work (Not!).


Hanging Drywall is work but mudding and sanding, clean, but dirty if you know what I mean.


Oh, did I mention I was a Marine for 21 years? Nothing gross going on there. We talk about Philmont and 3 days w/o a shower, try 3 weeks at a time.

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Almost forgot the lovely week I spent as a dishwasher on the night shift of a restaurant. Had to do the pots and pans, etc. Not only nasty, but saw what went on in the back of the kitchen. Quit when I came down with a fungus on my arms from the grease and filth.

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