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The 8 (Literally) Shittiest Jobs Of All Time

In the 1600's, violin strings were made by ripping out a sheep's intestines, squeezing the feces out of them like chunky toothpaste, and then doing a bunch of other unsavory stuff that isn't worth any music that's ever been played on the violin. And that guy had it good. Behold, jobs from ages past that make yours look like you’re employed as firework tester for Natalie Portman's all-you-can-eat space buffet and sex station.

#8.
Arming Squire

Job Description: The Arming Squire was a knight’s caddy, personal assistant, and bitch all rolled into one. They’d haul his gear, clean his equipment, clap his coconut halves together, and jot down important dates like the next scheduled battle with the Saxon Hordes.

So Where Does the Poop/Pee Come in?

One of the Arming Squire’s main duties (pun definitely intended) was to clean the knight’s armor after a battle. Aside from the expected sweat, blood, and stubborn grass stains, this included scooping out and rubbing down the inside of the suit, which, if it had been a particularly long or frightening battle, or if your knight ate bad Mexican food the night before or was a huge dick, often contained a special “overtime bonus.” Knights it seems, like astronauts, have more important things to do than locate a toilet when their pants are literally right there.

Qualifications:

  • You passionately desire to serve your country on the front lines of battle, but without all of the glory and heroism.
  • You possess basic diaper changing ability.
  • Perks:
  • If you survive the five year process of running into battles to replace broken armor pieces for your knight, then you get to become a knight yourself and start the whole horrible process over again with some poor sap. Yes, Senior hazing is really that old.
  • The poop in the armor was traditionally cleaned out with a mix of vinegar, sand, and pee, which anyone would admit is a huge step up.
  • #7.
    Fuller

    Job Description: The Fuller was one of the first people in the process of turning sheared wool into usable cloth. Their job was to take all of the sheep-grease out of the matted bales of fur and turn it into pads of downy soft cotton fluff for later spinning and weaving. Which, aside from the aforementioned sheep-grease, doesn’t sound nearly as revolting as it actually is.

    So Where Does the Poop/Pee Come in?

    The preferred method for removing said by-products from the wool was by soaking it in a giant tub of urine for two hours. And not just any urine, either: two week-old urine giving off ammonia fumes with eyebrow-searing ferocity. And guess what? Those babies couldn’t just plain soak; they needed constant mixing to get the job done. So hike up your pantaloons, hop into the vat, and prepare to stomp what may once have been wine. If you throw up in the vat, they dock you. If you stomp too long or not long enough and mess up the wool, they dock you. If you pass out from the fumes and collapse into the vat, you drown in human urine, then they dock you.

    Qualifications:
  • You’ve watched that one episode of I Love Lucy a thousand times, and every time you wish Ethel would just let loose and flood the vat with mother’s own lemonade.
  • You pee in the bath.
  • You don't care if hair ever grows on your legs below the knee ever, ever again.
  • Perks:
  • You may be knee-deep in old urine and animal grease all day, but at least the prolonged exposure to ammonia fumes will ensure your life is a short one.
  • Your legs are preemptively guarded against all manner of jellyfish sting.
  • #6.
    Gong Farmer

    Job Description: Pretty straightforward really. A Gong Farmer’s job was quite simply to go around to all of the city’s gong repositories and collect the gong, haul it outside city limits, and dump it, so that gong wouldn’t overflow into any waterways or streets. They also got to go into the city’s subterranean plumbing system to locate blockages of compacted gong and break them apart, allowing the system to flow freely. This could be done with a hatchet, bare hands, or, if one was feeling dramatic, a flying side kick. They even got a horse to help them cart the gong around. Yes, they were the masters of all things gong, repositories of ancient gong lore and heirs apparent to the kingdom of gong.

    So Where Does the Poop/Pee Come in?

    Gong means poop.

    Qualifications:

  • You either own a stick, can get your hands on one, or don’t mind punching through walls of solid poop.
  • You have no nose or gag reflex.
  • You know lots of good empty spots outside of town that could use some fertilizing.
  • Perks:
  • Since you constantly stink of gong and are ostracized by “the day dwellers,” you get to work night hours when everyone’s sleeping, allowing you to play whatever music you want, talk to your horse, and even smoke jays on the job, none of which makes up for the sadness of your life in any way whatsoever.
  • #5.
    Tanner

    Job Description: To our modern world, a Tanner is simply a member of a well-adjusted family living and loving in 1980’s San Francisco. But back in the day, the tanner was the guy who made leather goods out of animal hides. And he made them, as you should have by now come to expect, through the most horrifyingly disgusting means imaginable. Step one involved days on end stripping the hides of all the animal chunks still clinging on, and then dissolving the hair off with lime or, in a pinch, urine. Step two involved weeping for many hours, and sending your children to the nearest village to enlist in the military.

    So Where Does the Poop/Pee Come in?

    In order to remove the lime from the animal hides and get them leathery soft, Tanners kneaded them in a mixture of water and dog feces for hours on end. Like the Fuller, they did this with their bare feet, so as to not ruin their new K-Swiss running shoes. “Those kicks gotta stay ballin’ yo,” the Tanner would often cry, just before dipping his feet into dog shit. Of course, as tanneries were relegated to the outskirts of town due to the overwhelming stench of rotting flesh and poo, no one but their own bitter regrets would answer.

    Qualifications:

  • You own a pair of K-Swiss running shoes which you would like to keep pristine.
  • You’ve got a wife with enough love or lack of self esteem to launder your thrice-soiled clothes each night.
  • You’ve got a hookup for large amounts of dog feces (see below).
  • Perks:
  • As unsavory as the work is, you’re providing the community a valuable service, for which they will repay you by forcing you to live in the poorest districts and shrieking whenever you wander too close to their homes.
  • You can bathe as irregularly as you want and no one will really care, or notice.
  • #4.
    Pure Collector

    Job Description: The Pure Collector was the Tanner’s best friend, although any respectable Tanner would refuse any but the slightest social contact with him. Why so chummy? Because the Pure Collector was the one person the Tanner got to look down on, as well as his source of precious, precious dog feces.

    So Where Does the Poop/Pee Come in?

    Pretty much right away. The Pure Collector spent most of his time on his hands and knees, roaming the city, trying to sniff out piles of animal excrement. When they found a mother lode, they’d scramble to grab up as much as they could fit into their pockets and a filthy knapsack, like the worst Double Dare physical challenge ever. Then it was off to the Tanner’s to hock their poop, loudly reminding everyone along the way that they collected “Pure” for a living. Yep, they’re just off to sell a steaming load of fine, top-quality Pure. Sorry guy, but it’s going to take a lot more PR to make people forget that you’re a human pooper-scooper.

    Qualifications:

  • The inability to make a living in any other fashion whatsoever, including prostitution, begging, the auctioning off of valuable organs, begging prostitutes, and the auctioning off of valuable prostitute organs.
  • Hands.
  • A sack you’re not too fond of.
  • Perks:
  • After a while, you get to know all the city “hot spots” for cat poop, and it takes a lot of the work out of it.
  • You’re extremely unlikely to be pickpocketed, and even if you are, the joke’s kind of on them.
  • Your encyclopedic knowledge of the various types, varieties, and consistencies of dog and cat feces makes you an ideal candidate for judging a pet excretion pageant, should one ever come to exist.
  • #3.
    Salpetre Man

    Job Description:More of a criminal enterprise than a career, the Saltpetre Man was someone who took it upon themselves to invade homes, churches, and public buildings to forcibly liberate a key ingredient in the manufacture of Saltpetre, and, in turn, gunpowder.

    So Where Does the Poop/Pee Come in?

    That ingredient would be human urine. And to get it, the Saltpetre Man would go to any length: forced entry, blackmail, extremely awkward muggings, surgical pickpocketing, even disguising themselves as a public chamber pot. And while none of that is true, at least it lends an air of romance to a job that was basically black market pee selling.

    Qualifications:
  • A deep understanding of espionage and the desire to put that knowledge to work for the community.
  • Some jars, or at least cupped hands and a quick and steady gait.
  • Perks:
  • You and the Pure Collector represent a perfect yin-yang of disgust collection.
  • As much as they may protest when you break into their homes, most folks really don’t care when you steal their pee.
  • By driving the gunpowder trade forward, you’re contributing to the deaths of thousands of people who likely find you repugnant, so fuck them anyway.
  • #2.
    Mud Lark

    Job Description: Mud Larks were most commonly very small children, who, too weak to pitch in at one of the many workhouses around the city, and still slightly too young to have their testicles chopped off to aid their singing, helped their families by searching the muddy banks of the river for bits of coal, metal, and leather scraps to sell in town.

    So Where Does the Poop/Pee Come in?

    The “muddy banks” of the river was usually one of the primary outlets of the city’s sewage system, meaning that mud pies and stagnant puddles were man-made as often as they were natural. Wading through in bare feet and rags, the happy tykes would stumble upon useful hidden treasures like shards of broken glass, nails, rotting animals, and actual larks, who would attack them ferociously for daring to invade their sacred shit-bog. Thankfully, a few pecks to the eyes would generally teach the little brats some manners.

    Qualifications:

  • Either no parents or parents who are employed primarily as Pure Collectors.
  • Eyesight, or, failing that, the ability to tell when a shard of glass has become embedded in your foot.
  • A tattered copy of Great Expectations to put confused hope into your tiny, near-illiterate heart.
  • Perks:
  • You only have to work when the tide is low, giving you plenty of time to contract Tetanus, starve, and cravenly steal from the other kids.
  • It’s like Summer Vacation every day of the year! Pool Party!
  • #1.
    Groom of the Stool

    Job Description: The Groom of the Stool’s got at least one up on everyone else on this list, as he’s technically a nobleman. That said, the Groom of the Stool is Nobility the way circus peanuts are a candy. His official job is to make sure that the King’s chamber pot is always clean and free of “occupants” when the King wants to make butt decrees.

    So Where Does the Poop/Pee Come in?

    I’ll bet you thought that the chamber pot stuff was the gross bit. Buddy, you ain’t read nothing yet. In addition to polishing the Royal throne, the Groom of the Stool was in charge of wiping the King’s Royal ass. Qualifications: Why the King couldn’t do it himself is a mystery only until you realize that in Medieval times, paper was too much of a luxury to be used for something as frivolous as ass-wipery. And apparently lacking shells, leaves, soft rocks, or any sense of decency, the people of the day sagely chose the hand as the favored wiping implement. Thus the Groom of the Stool’s chief job was the fondling of another man’s stew.

  • You want a title, and you genuinely don’t care what it is.
  • Your hands are smooth, disease-free, and well-suited to scraping.
  • You’re able to master the delicate art of conversing normally while wiping a man’s ass with your hands.
  • Perks:
  • Unless the King’s got dysentery, you’re only called for work once or twice a day.
  • You’re in a prime position to assassinate the Head of State should a motive ever arise.
  • Such an act would have special poignancy because of the inclusion of the words “ass” and “ass” in “assassinate.”

  • When not writing for Cracked, Michael works in the relatively feces-free position of head writer and co-founder of Those Aren't Muskets!

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