Thursday, June 07, 2007

Plague, a plague upon me.

I am utterly banjaxed. Beyond help, completely and utterly bollixed, aches, shivery, slitty-eyed, light sensitive, voice free, sweating and throat inflamed all at the same time. Poorly doesn't really cover this one. Unclean Unclean, might.
I have been up a short while, trying to convince myself that if I just take enough painkilers and so forth that I can attend the Gala fashion thingie I have an invited to. Invites from City Gay are like gold dust (he works in meedja) and I don't want to leave him in the lurch. Also there will be clothes 'n stuff at the end of this trip.
And yet, even typing I can feel the energy seeping out of me as the infection builds. My voice is completely gone, there's nowt left but the scraping sound of bark on granite and it costs even to use that. Coughing makes me scream but you can't hear it.
I am properly walloped.
For some reason or other, this state of near radioactive slurm filled mank reminds me of a post Fat Sparrow's spouse put up the other day, It was a post about the sheer hellishness of a McJob and the tossers and horror of working at that particular fast food place. It put me in mind of a the series of hellish jobs we must all suffer before we drag ourselves gasping and aching onto whatever platform we can cling too that isn't, well, completely shite.
I've had some truly utterly awful jobs before I quit working for folk and started working for myself. But the one I'm thinking of today, as I sit here shivering and freezing and dribbling snot was so vile even now I get frostbite thinking about it.
Door-to door scratch card selling.
Oh lawks, take my soul and burn it right now, you might as well.
It's a vile job. VILE.
I worked for this 'charity' way back in the heady days of my early twenties. Every day we would assemble in the city centre, divide into our respective teams, and go sell!
Me, a funny dude from Galway, an obese girl from Carlow(who used to steal all the little jam and marmalade tubs from restaurants and lick them clean on the hi-ace), two student who had taken a year off college and a chap who liked to play with knives would climb into into a battered hi-ace driven by a lunatic, and be sent off to various parts of the country to sell scratch card that nobody wanted for a fake 'charity' nobody cared about.
It was hellish. I traipsed around some of the worst estates in Dundalk, Drogheda, Balbriggen, all over the north of the city. It was a strange one, the poorer the estate, the more likely you were to sell the cards, but also the more likely you were to be roughed up and robbed. So it was a fine line. At least poor folk don't just silently let the door close in your face while you're still talking.
Every Friday I would go to Dundalk and set up my pitch outside Dunnes in the town. One Friday I went and discovered a woman there collecting for guide dogs, or Irish life boats or some shit. I a not joking when I saw we nearly came to blows.
We had a quota we had to sell, 65 scratch a day. You would imagine that 65 is not a huge number, but you'd be wrong.
It all came to a head for me on the Christmas week. Driven by greed and good will, the boss, a fat oily oik, decided that we should suck the festive wallets right up to Christmas day.
So on Christmas eve, I, and my bunch of reprobate co-workers, hit Kildare.
I have no words for the misery. It was -2 degrees and as I crunched across lawns, gazing like an orphan in at fires and Christmas trees, waiting shivering in the doors with my fake plastic smile stretched rictus like across my face for the home owners to open their doors expecting friends or family, only to be trounced with, "Hi, I'm Fatmammycat, I work for shysters inc, I'm terribly sorry to bother you like this...'
We worked until the temperature dropped another two degrees. The we made our way back to the hi-ace. I had sold 80 cards. Stabby has sold 12, Galway dude has sold 94, the obese girl, 40, and the two students hadn't come because they actually had family that would feed them, for free.
That's when our driver informed us that what we sold that day was to be our wages for the week, he also added that we should probably get out there and see if we could sell a few more.
So we did, we worked on late into the evening, pestering people, letting the cold into houses, terrifying old deaf ladies who couldn't understand what it was we wanted and who were we again.
It was hellish. My fingers gave up working and despite our best effort to keep him on track Stabby lost it and disappeared-which was alarming since he was from Firhouse and we had no idea how he was going to get back to the city.
Anyhoo, not long after I spent a luxury Christmas in my one bedroomed hovel in Rathmines, enjoying the fruits that my 32 pounds-had to pay rent see- had brought me, I decided I"d rather cut my own throat that go back to that shit hole for one single other day.
And so I called time on the scratch card industry.
So what about it folks, what are the worst jobs you've had to endure? Are perhaps still enduring? Is there one that can pull you up in your tracks and make you go 'Bleeeeeeeep' still? Do you shudder?

Oh, and Frank Carson is a miserable old fuck who is neither funny nor charitable.

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Anonymous Pinkie said...


Worked in their warehouse in town and ye GODS they were manky feckers! If you saw the condition they left their delf and cutlery and glasses in before sticking them in the industrial washer --- I swear, you'd never hire from them.

MAGGOTS! I had to clean whole swarms of maggots of plates - and mould that was so high and thick that it let out wee little plumes of green mist when you seperated plates.


10:44 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Bleeaugh, did you have to wear one of those white masks?

10:52 a.m.  
Anonymous AM in Belgium said...

Plucking turkeys Christmas 1988.

I was 17yo and in a shed with about 5000 birds. And I needed money to buy something I really wanted/needed. I can't rememebr what now though.

Gobbles that would deafen you.
Smells what made your eyes water.
And I had to pick them up by the legs, hang it upsidedown, break its neck, and pluck the feathers. And I got 60p for each one. If the skin was torn or otherwise damaged though, I'd get nothing.

It took years before I could get turkey again.

11:56 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

That is truly a minging job. Urgh, the smell must have been horrendous.
A known internet rapscallion used to throw stones on the roof of a local turkey farm with his brother, scaring half the birds to death. Or so he claims. He also claims Don Johnson has an identical twin brother called Ron Johnson so he's really not to be trusted.

12:04 p.m.  
Blogger Conan Drumm said...

Pot scrubbing in a caff I will call Mange le Mank.

ps this filthy illness is not unrelated to your over indulgence in physical jerks. Be careful of your food intake if your immune system drops like this. GWS!

1:33 p.m.  
Blogger Medbh said...

My worst job was my first job. I was paid $1. an hour under the table in 1983 ( I was 14) to work as a waitress in a huge Bingo parlor. We carried these bus bins around and took orders from old people playing the game and ordering "brewed decaf." The most money I ever made on a shift was $32, a large sum when people were giving you dimes and quarters for tips. Awful job.

1:55 p.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Oh I feel you both. I spent a whole summer once learning how to scald my hands raw in the depths of the worst kitchen in ireland, but at least we could eat and we had the radio, bad and all as it was.

7:23 p.m.  
Blogger Sam, Problem-Child-Bride said...

Kitchen portering, pot scrubbing, in the Queen Margaret Union at Glasgow Uni in 1995-6. It was a 40 hpweek job but I was a full time student too and the year damn near killed you. I had a boilersuit, a wee hat and a squeaky trolley with which to clean up after the most filthy of populations - the student one. They were animals: Ashtrays were regularly emptied over half-eaten, congealing fry-ups; the bar was downstairs and people would come up the stairs steaming, eat something greasy than throw it right back up. It was my job to clean it up.

Bad though that was though, it was the pot-scrubbing that took me to the edge of quitting the most. They had advertised for a bloke but I was the only applicant so they hired me - I took it because it was right on campus and I could get to it quickly after classes. Anyway, these great big iron pots had to be soaked and scrubbed and lifted way above my head onto hooks. I just couldn't lift them and I wrecked my back trying. I still have back pain from that year, 13 years later.

There was one particularly bad day when I'd been scampering around in the steam of the industrial washer thingy, I slipped on the floor and dropped the 25 dinner-plates I was carrying. Everything smashed everywhere. Bad enough. The kitchen manager wanted out of there at 8 rather than 9 because he had a football game so he was screaming at us all to get finished early. I'd scrubbed the pots but when I went to lift them up to the hooks I just had nothing left in my arms. To my horror I realized I had tears running down my face and there was just nothing I could do about these pots. I knew I wouldn't get fired because I was the only person to have lasted longer than a fortnight in that job, they were already understaffed and had nobody to replace me, and would have a job to find one. But I knew I'd get yelled at - by this arsehole boss I hated anyway - for not getting done on time, I still had the floors to do, and I was just defeated by these fucking pots.

Fortunately, my friend, Noel, the Irish pizza-cook came in before the manager did and got them up for me. 15 great big pots that I hadn't a hope of hanging that day.

Then I had to go home and study for a genetics exam the next day. Worst year and worst job of my life. No socialising at all, just hard graft, sleep and more hard graft.

Filthy flipping lucre and the filthy things we'll do if we really need it.

1:23 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Amen to that.

9:46 a.m.  
Anonymous dangermouse said...

A summer job bulb-packing in Holland in the nineties was pretty rough. We worked 12 hours shifts and the gigantic (impossible to avoid looking at) clock on the factory wall made every brain-numbing minute seem to go on forever. Weekends spent partying meant weekday energy levels were low and the factory itself was like a big dirty, dusty sweat-box. Oh and my team leader was an absolute wanker! Was a fab summer all the same...

10:33 a.m.  
Blogger fatmammycat said...

Did you get a tan and ropey looking muscles tho?

2:56 p.m.  
Blogger metaphysicallywrinklefree said...

I once hurt my back while working in a factory where we dehydrated raw meat and turned it into powder so that people could make soup out of it or some other such shit. You would think that THIS is the bad job I was going to mention, but you'd be wrong. When I hurt my back, a temp agency sent me to what they kept referring to as "a sit-down job." I asked what exactly it was and got some vague response of which the only words I could understand were, again, "sit down job." Turns out that it was a two week stint in a work facility for mentally handicapped folk. And nothing against them, whatsoever. God bless them for being able to get out of the house and make some cash for themselves. But I've always felt the temp agency should have been honest. What if I had been some nasty fucker who sat there making fun of these people all day or something even worse? I'll never forget it.

11:30 p.m.  

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