#3. Golf Caddy
What People Think:
It's the dude who carries the golf clubs for the golfer, right? When most people think of a golf caddy, they think of a doofy kid getting treated like shit by rich people for extra cash over summer vacation. They get to haul around a bunch of clubs, begging for tips, and when a golfer hits a ball into a water hazard, it's up to the caddy to wade in there and get it.
"Mind the gators, son."
But if their golfers do well and they keep their mouths shut, chances are the caddies can score a few bucks, at least. Also, they get to listen to people with real jobs talking, so maybe they can use that someday when they're not freaking caddies.
"One day, I'm going to be a fat old white dude, too."
There are really two different jobs here -- professional caddying is much different from the stuff the high school dropouts and the insanely old dudes do at the local country club. They still have to carry all of the golfer's shit around, fetch the balls and keep everything clean, but at that level they're basically professional sports coaches.
"You just do what I fucking tell you, sporto."
You've probably seen caddies in movies recommend a club to a player for a certain swing. In those movies, it looks effortless, like it's just a hunch or something. In reality, though, it's all about knowing everything about the course and the player's abilities, style and equipment. Oh, and good old-fashioned math. It takes constant study, and it helps a lot if the caddies are former pro golfer themselves, which is totally a thing.
Think of it like playing a golf video game, except the caddies have to figure out all the shot arrows and wind meters in their heads, then tell it to someone else.
It really helps to visualize your player as a huge, barrel-throwing ape.
And nobody even knows who you are. Think about it -- when a basketball or football team does well, the coach becomes a celebrity. Even if you aren't a sports fan, you've heard the names Vince Lombardi and Mike Ditka. On the flip side, have you ever heard of Tony Navarro? How about Allistair Matheson, or Damon Green? Tiger Woods is one of the most famous athletes in world history -- do you know who his caddy is?
Speaking of which, if you actually do start to get a little famous as a caddy, you might find yourself fired. Tiger fired his first PGA Tour caddy, Mike Cowen, when Cowen started to get slightly too popular.
He replaced him with this guy, who was ordered to wear a hideous jumpsuit in order to avoid popularity.
Oh, and did we mention that caddies have to pay for their own food, travel and accommodations to get to all those golf events throughout the year, which generally uses up about 1/4 of their annual salary? And that they're also the golfer's unofficial bodyguard, keeping autograph-seeking fans away from the player while they're trying to do their job and, if necessary, taking away noisy cameras and throwing them in a lake?
"Next time, I take your whole arm."
Caddies do all that, yet most of the people watching on TV don't even notice -- they figure the guy just came with the cart or something.
#2. Food Critic
What People Think:
Food critics get paid to eat and bitch about it. This sounds like one of the cushiest positions in the world, especially since most critics get reimbursed for the food they order. In short, it's free food with pay on top of it, and food critics are expected to be snide about the whole thing.
The biggest danger this job poses seems to be the potential for overeating and ending up face-first in a pile of spaghetti, like the glutton in Se7en.
"Needs more salt."
Your bad review can ruin some family's business -- and they know where to find you. At least one critic has been threatened with a gun over a bad review. Another has been beaten bloody by the owner's associates (i.e., mob goons) over several bad reviews; to be fair though, he probably shouldn't have posted on his paper's website where he would be dining that night.
You can't think of this as Michael Bay threatening Roger Ebert with a shotgun over a bad review -- they're both famous, that's not going to happen. But as a food critic, you are literally going into enemy territory -- a business owned by some regular guy who you don't know -- assessing the fruits of his labor, and telling everyone in your readership whether or not to give that business their money. That restaurant owner's ability to pay his mortgage can lay on what you write, and you don't know how he's going to react.
"I hope you don't mind if I just stand here and watch you eat. Because I'm going to."
Not wanting to become the next bloody statistic, many a critic will go to work in disguise and assume a false name -- whatever is deemed necessary to stay anonymous. But shit happens, especially when you have an entire industry like Eater devoted to outing you and ruining your career. Longtime L.A. critic Irene Virbila, operating under the not-at-all-suspicious name of "Fred Snow," was discovered after a worker presumably woke up and realized that Fred is not a girl's name. She was photographed, kicked out and banned from the restaurant forever, and her photo was spread all over town so every restaurant in the area knew who she was.
It can almost be likened to being an undercover spy. But instead of riding knee-deep in smoking-hot foreign babes who initially want you dead but eventually succumb to your ultra-suave charms, you get endless club sandwiches and pissed-off restaurant owners who in no way want your sex.
Though they may have given you some of theirs.
#1. Casino Dealer
What People Think:
What could be easier? Casino dealers stand at the table, give out the money when people win, take it away when they lose, entertain the people a little and just generally look awesome. They get to meet powerful people, possibly even celebrities, and they have a good chance of getting huge tips when someone strikes it rich. Also, when no one's around, they can sit at the table and pretend they're the Dos Equis guy.
Or be the Dos Equis guy.
Of course, there's a lot of math involved, for starters, and while most of it is pretty simple, it's a constant thing. And dealers can never make a mistake. When they're dealing with high-stakes stuff, they've got to be able to tell, at a glance, how much money is stacked on the table (not to mention who it belongs to). And maybe they're running games like craps, where they sometimes have to pay out in weird ratios, and you can see why they might be tempted to break out a calculator.
"Why yes -- this is a terrible job to do hung over."
But worst of all is the customers. This isn't Walmart cashiering. When real money is on the line, people lose their fucking minds. Dealers are frequently insulted (and sometimes even spit on) by sore losers. And if some dude comes up with his life savings and wants to gamble it all away? The dealers can't turn him away. That's a fun story for the grandkids.
Then there are the high rollers, the folks the casino management loves and will do anything to keep happy. If a high roller wants a booster seat made out of Twizzlers, the casino is going to do its best to get it for her. If a high roller wants to piss under the dealer's table, well, apparently that's OK, too, as an ex-Atlantic City dealer once discovered when a man who was winning "relieved himself" under the table so he didn't have to give up his hot streak.
"Just a second, fellas."
Even death won't stop a high-stakes game. When a man dropped dead at a dealer named Vinnie Springer's table, no one stopped playing. They just rolled his ass under the table and kept right on going. According to Springer, the players didn't even break stride when the paramedics came to remove the body 15 minutes later. You think your job requires dedication? When's the last time you had to keep working with a dead guy at your feet?
Jason can be found via Tumblr, Facebook and (if you catch him the one day out of a hundred he actually posts there) Twitter. To read more from Ashe, check out Weird Shit Blog and Film School Rejects. He also wrote a short story for a charity anthology which you can buy here.
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