Chimney Sweep's Scrotum: 10 Bizarre Job-Related Illnesses

Not everyone can live the life of an Internet comedy writer, sipping on Thunderbird and eating real Kraft macaroni and cheese (not that knock off shit the peasants eat). As we understand it some people out there have thankless jobs that are not only devoid of riches and glamour, but actually can cause you harm.

Horrifying, strangely specific harm.

#10. Chimney Sweep's Scrotum Cancer

Back in Victorian times, part of the chimney sweep job description was to go naked into the smaller chimneys because for some reason cleaning out caked on carcinogens whilst fully clothed just wasn't funny or sadistic enough for Victorian sensibilities. There was no higher form of entertainment back then than a decrepit, cancer-ridden chimney sweep with an ass crack Spackled shut with decades-old soot.

Unfortunately for the chimney sweep, a lifetime of this kind of work lead to chimney sweep's cancer, or Cancer Scroti, because any disease that happens to your scrotum is just that much more depressing. Malignant sores referred to as "soot wart" would appear, and then spread like a tiny, crusty army. At first it was thought to be a venereal disease, as chimney sweeps were apparently known for being sooty gigolos, but eventually it was diagnosed as the first occupational cancer.

This is your scrotum on soot. Any questions?

Seeing as this took place in an age when medicine hadn't graduated much beyond putting leeches on stab wounds and drinking tea to overcome broken limbs the cure was to cut off the "affected portions". Surprisingly the cure almost never worked, and the newly sackless sweeps would invariably die of some form of internal cancer. It does explain why those lovable Cockney chimney sweeps in Mary Poppins sang such a sweet soprano, though.

#9. Bagpiper's Fungus

Ah, bagpipes; the beloved sound of Scotland and aquatic mammals in labor. Potentially one of the oldest instruments in existence that, after nearly 3,000 years of evolution, is still less appealing than a bag of smashed assholes. It doesn't help that the pipes are also home to a far more insidious villain than just the sound they make.

Bagpipes are made of sheepskin traditionally coated in treacle or honey on the lining to keep it airtight. The inside is sticky, dark and damp, much like the insides of the Scots who make them, making it a breeding ground for such wee beasties as spores and fungus, including Aspergillum and Cryptococcus.

Needless to say the pipers end up breathing those bacteria in and falling prey to illnesses like pneumonia, respiratory infections and an undiagnosed mental disorder that makes them want to continue playing the bagpipes.

#8. Cheese Washer's Lung

We had no idea cheese washer was even a career option (probably an oversight thanks to a drunken high school guidance counselor who only recommended haberdasher or whore), but apparently it's someone's job to buff and shine the Gouda before it hits the shelves.

While it seems a simple enough task, grab a shamwow and spit polish a few wedges, it's sadly not all glamorous cheese rubbing. With every breath you take, you could be sucking layer after layer of dairy drenched bacteria into your lungs, putting your immune system into overdrive and making your insides spongy and disgusting like aerosol Easy Cheese.

In time, your body will begin to ache and grow feverish, along with developing a shortness of breath. Given enough time, you will likely suffer weight loss and lung scarring and if it's chronic you'll be saddled with interstitial inflammation and alveolar destruction. We don't even know what that means but it sounds like the most hardcore thing that'll ever happen to a cheese washer.

#7. Butcher's Warts

Up to their elbows in prime rib, chicken breasts and pig sphincter, butchers are the unsung hero of every barbeque and bris. Besides enjoying a workplace that's typically bathed in blood and gore, butchers are subject to their own special malady, Butcher's warts, which are a variation of the Human Papillomavirus.

Modern medicine is still not sure why, but something about covering your hands in raw, room temperature animal offal makes human skin a haven for the viruses that cause warts. Not just common warts either, but cauliflower-like lesions which is a fancy way of saying they resemble the crotches of whores who work for coupons instead of cash.

Our boss wouldn't let us include a picture of a whore crotch. And we had so many good ones, too.

These commonly appear on the hands of the butcher who is currently rubbing them all over your T-bone. Sure you don't want to give the tofu another try?

#6. Wool Sorter's Disease

As the name suggests, this condition usually afflicts those working with wool, like sheep shearers. What the name doesn't suggest is just how bad this disease actually is. The more common name is anthrax. Actual, terrifyingly awful anthrax. The stuff the terrorists were threatening to send around. Fucking sheep.

So say you're busy shaving and/or wrestling your favorite sheep one evening and everything seems kosher until you start feeling a little off. At first you think you're coming down with a cold or flu, but within a day or two your lymph nodes will start rotting and bleeding , you can contract meningitis, high fever, and severe abdominal pain before finally suffering a fatal respiratory collapse all from breathing in the bacteria hidden in sheep's wool.

Even when caught early, the mortality rate is nearly 100 percent. Fucking sheep.

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