7 Hilariously Dangerous Versions Of Boring Normal Jobs
Life can be exciting, scary, even downright magical. But most of the time, it's goddamn boring.
The average American spends two entire years just standing in line. We typically spend about three years doing laundry. When you add them up, all the mundane tasks you have to perform leaves you with but a fraction of your life with which to do the things you actually want to do.
These folks, however, broke the mold. They didn't run away from the banalities of existence in search of endless adventure. Instead, they found the most boring jobs in the world and made them fucking metal. For instance ...
Changing A Light Bulb 1,999 Feet In The Sky
For something that requires teetering on ladders, holding brittle glass, and having fingers close to electric currents, changing light bulbs sure is boring. You don't usually have to worry about falling to your death, fainting from lack of oxygen, or even having birds randomly flying into you. Well, most of us don't.
This is a TV tower. That tiny black speck at the bottom is a building.
So that we can watch our Storage Wars without a glitch, TV reception towers get built so high that they pierce the clouds. Because of that, the very tops need to be illuminated at all times, like lighthouses in the sky keeping planes from crashing into them. For those in charge of tower maintenance, changing that top light bulb isn't a household task; it's an extreme sport that requires abs of steel.
In the video, you can hear the guy saying "Oh shit." Maybe because he's 2,000 feet in the air "attached" to pegs.
Take the KLDT tower, which stands at a whopping 1,999 feet, making it one of the tallest structures in the world. Nick Wagner, a project manager of National Tower Controls, is responsible for what happens at the top. When he's summoned to the KLDT mast, his job entails riding a tiny lift for the first 1,900 feet straight up in the air. When he gets to this dizzying height, he has to climb the final hundred feet by hand with nothing but a few carabiners between him and an uncomfortably long fall.
Assuming gravity even still works that high up.
So next time you flick a switch and nothing happens, don't sigh and moan. Give yourself some perspective by remembering that you can at least change the bulb while looking down and still seeing the planet you live on.
Cleaning Loose Debris On Power Lines With Flamethrower Drones
Whether it's random debris or some bully throwing brand-new laces up there, trash ends up hanging out on power lines. Sadly, since shoe elves don't get hazard pay, some poor schmuck has to climb up a pole and clean that shit up -- two things people usually like to avoid. Like these guys do:
Fire robots solve everything.
In China, high-voltage line maintenance workers are using flamethrower drones to clean the mostly plastic junk from the lines. The flames can reach up to 400 degrees C (752 degrees F) and take only 15 minutes to burn dangerous high-voltage lines clean. Did we mention those are high-voltage lines? Feels important.
Bah, who cares! Look at that magnificent metal bastard, carefully combusting our shittier decisions like a fire mage helicopter mom.
There's no word yet on whether or not this incredible breakthrough in trash technology is coming to any place other than China, so you know what to do. Call your representatives. Email your senators. Show up at city hall. Have a sit-in at the White House. Make drone trash fires a reality in your neighborhood today!
Picking Christmas Trees With A Helicopter
Unless you come from the kind of mad National Lampoon family that goes out and chops down their own, getting a Christmas tree usually consists of making a trip to the store and getting some teenager in a vest to load it into your trunk. And even for them, the danger level registers somewhere between "splinters" and "being an unwilling participant in a family argument." Generally, nobody is super concerned about their health while handling a Christmas tree.
Luckily, even the most hazardous Christmas tree job won't have anyone wondering about their health and safety. That's because they're too busy screaming "WOOOOO!" while doing it. Since 1976, Christmas tree growers have deemed harvesting their trees by hand to be too "unrealistic." Instead, they now harvest by helicopter, which sounds so much more sensible.
These guys put maximum effort into turning physics into their wheedling little bitch. Without stopping, pilots will drop a hook to grab a tree. The helicopter then flies to the other side of a field and, we really cannot overstate this, without stopping, drops the tree in a truck, and then it goes back for more. We bet these pilots got all the claw machine toys for their high school sweethearts.
Mountain Climbers Have To Clear Garbage (And Corpses) From Mt. Everest
Garbage collection ranks up there with plumbing, sewage system work, and lard-making as occupations that you might not want to sign yourself up for, though you thank God everyday that they exist. While your average sanitation worker might have to get their hands dirty with old diapers, used needles, and last night's Chinese food, it could be worse. They could be doing the job up on the world's highest mountain. Mount Everest's trash collectors aren't mere garbage men -- they're garbage mountaineers. And they do their jobs while freezing their toes off ... sometimes literally.
And they'd have to send another guy to collect those toes, and then he'd lose his toes, and ...
Mountain climbers carry 176-pound trash bags, and once those are full, they're winched up to helicopters which whisk them away to a camp below. Which is a good thing, because otherwise sherpas would have to carry these them-sized bags by hand through somewhere called the Khumbu Icefall, which doesn't sound like a pleasant walk in the park.
And there's a grim reason these trash bags are, well, people-sized. It turns out that picking up trash is the best part of this job. Sometimes they have to collect the remains of camps whose occupants perished. Helicoptering possibly haunted trash isn't something you find on everyone's resume.
Horse-Riding Librarians Delivered Books During The Great Depression
Normally, the guardians of study materials and the dictionaries with all the bad words circled aren't the kind of people you look to for advice on angry mob management skills or how to best brave the wilderness in search of clever children. But some ladies living in the 1930s had to do exactly that.
And they wore pants while doing so.
During the Great Depression, horse-mounted lady librarians roamed Kentucky, desperately looking for people who could read. Imagine riding your horse for days, covering hundreds of miles per month, all kinds of books strapped to you, as you make your way to the hill village nobody else visits. And out of all your books, your Bible is the most vital one -- not because you're super religious and need the Lord to get you through a good horseback adventure, but because you need to protect yourself from people who think you're some kind of reading carpetbagger.
Or one of those notorious book witches.
Some of the Kentucky mountain folk were really suspicious of book-slingers, and the sight of a Bible being waved around by a dangerous literate person was enough to soothe the hillbeasts to such an extent that they were willing to learn how to read. However, children would flock to these horse-riding book-wielding badasses. The mobile library initiative ended in 1943, as the government decided teaching folk how to shoot Germans was more important than teaching them how to read. After the war, the intellectual frontierswomen were replaced by the kind of motorized bookmobiles still in use today. Remember, not all progress is a good thing.
A Librarian Was Tasked With Keeping The Manhattan Project Secret
Another librarian job! Before now, it was probably in your top ten of most boring fields. Sitting quietly in a room is basically the dictionary definition of mind-numbing. Sure, things occasionally get spiced up by punishing loud patrons with spitballs and wedgies and stern looks, but ultimately, being a librarian pretty much guarantees you'll never do anything which warrants, say, an FBI probe and crushing existential guilt.
But that's what happened to Charlotte Serber, keeper of America's greatest secret, the Manhattan Project. Seber had been hired as the head librarian of the facility's scientific library by J. Robert Oppenheimer himself. Why would one of the greatest scientists of all time care about a librarian job? Because he wanted Seber to do something more: devise security methods for keeping all their information safe.
And really, who's better at keeping things quiet than a librarian?
Seber was tasked with safeguarding details of the project from spies, political enemies, and sometimes her own bumbling staff. These numbskulls would leave classified documents laying out in the open, take out research books from the Santa Fe public library under their own names, and generally run their mouths off so often that she wound up working 75-hour weeks keeping the world's most dangerous weapon hidden.
Unfortunately, her hard work was rewarded with accusations of being a dirty communist for daring to be liberal-minded (she had once raised funds for anti-fascism during the Spanish Civil War, and had chaired a League of Women Voters in Urbana, Illinois). She wasn't booted off the project, but when it was over, she was doomed to become a production assistant at a theater, as her political affiliations kept her from getting another high-profile librarian job. Though becoming an actual librarian after being a bookish James Bond for so long probably would've driven her insane with boredom.
The Knitting Spies
"Danger" and "knitting" are not words that go together in a sentence, unless that sentence is "Grandma didn't know the danger she was in, knitting in that dinosaur park while strapped to that pillar of meat." Face it, nobody's going to look at your new scarf and say, "Oh look, how brave!"
However, during times of war, ladies would occasionally make danger-knitting their lives. Crafty spies realized long ago that codes could be knitted into your average baby bonnet, turning local housewives into domestic James Bonds. They would do things like count train cars and monitor their comings and goings, sneak plans for bombs and aircraft, and generally be around to code messages while listening in on important plans, because who suspects the knitter? This allowed grandmotherly spies like Molly "Old Mom" Rinker to sit on a hill, knitting and observing British troops, all the while passing her eagle-eyed observations straight to George Washington.
This explains the famous myth of Washington's woolen teeth.
But by the time the big wars came along, knitting spies had kicked it up a stitch or two. Nobody suspected Phyllis Latour Doyle, knitter extraordinaire, who parachuted into Normandy during WWII, to be a secret agent working for Britain. Once there, she simply grabbed a bike and rode into enemy territory with a sunny smile and a helpful disposition, chatting with German soldiers like they were old neighbors. When she heard some juicy military intelligence gos, she used a variety of codes from her spy lexicon of about 2,000 knotted messages, which she would put into a silk yarn that she would wrap around a knitting needle. That needle would go into a flat shoelace, which she used to tie up her hair and simply bike right out of enemy territory again. That's artsy and crafty.
Which just goes to show that Philip J. Fry was right: Never trust grandmother types during times of war. They'll stab your right in the back with those needles.
Learn every stitch known to mankind so you too can knit wartime secrets!
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