a crappy job, literally

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this is a re-worked piece from last year.  i’ve even added a few photos of the actual place.  a very nice b/w shot giving the whole sordid affair a touch of class.  a sort of visual aid as it were to a very crappy job. 

back when i was a kid i had some pretty crappy jobs.  this job in particular is probably the worst of the lot.  easter summer.  so what?  well, actually it wasn’t, THE, summertime job but a part of THE summertime job.  how’s that for convoluted?   lucky me, i got this summertime work yearly during my high school life and after, working in the maintenance department for the high school i went to.  can you say, nepotism?  i knew you could.  well, that am how shit used to work and to some extent in some places it still might.  the way things were if i wanted money for the car and other important teenage guy stuff during the school year, the job was a necessity.  i had no choice.  fine.  i managed.

the job also entailed working most easter and christmas breaks.  yeah.  everyone else is fucking off.  sleeping in.  me?  i’m working man’s dead.   doing the nasty stuff the regular working stiffs left for us kids to do during our off time.  ah, well, um, if i’m on like this weird working vacation and you like have this job all the time and you get paid way more than i do, why do i have to do this or whatever?  good question, pilgrim.  and one to this day i don’t have any answer to.  the particular job i’m talking about happened during the summertime job.  over the years i did it twice.  unfortunately.

the high school i went to had a bell tower.  fine.  lots of schools do.  this one had like a lip or something on it.  a small square space about 2 feet deep maybe more by maybe 8 feet across or more.  capice?  i hope so.  let’s see.  you got this tower.  way the fuck up there.  a nice square space 2 feet or so deep.  ok.  you have this sorta deep space way up high and it’s full of pigeon crap.  old dried up pigeon crap and it needed to be cleaned out.  i suppose if it wasn’t cleaned out it would begin to become a mountain and the locals could or would see the mountain of pigeon shit every time they looked up at the tower to see what time it was.  i guess no one was up for that action.

just to veer a bit, the tower served many purposes.  it collected pigeon crap, it told you the time, it was nice to look at, and it held one of those old civil defense horns made famous back in the cold war days.  the horn was up in the area where the pigeons crapped their little hearts out. 

in those days we didn’t live very far from the tower and i remember a few times the horn going off.  it was usually in the dead of night and raining.  of course, it took a while for someone to roll out of bed to get there and that someone had to have the key to get up there.  not everyone was privy to that key.  my dad, who worked there for years, had most of the keys to the kingdom but not that one.  so it was a good hour or so before everyone within miles of the thing could go back to sleep.    

so back to the job.  it’s summertime and de onta summer hot.  today you boys go up into the tower and clean out the pigeon shit.  figure out how you want to do the deal and just do it, boys.  sure, ok.  as nasty a damn job if there ever was one.  and i did the deed twice in my short sweet life.  just unreal.  nice view however.

first time we did it we used this block and tackle deal to drag aluminum trash cans up on the outside of the tower.  drag em up.  then lower them down full of pigeon shit.  then dumping the cans in a dumpster.   ooofa.   just hot nasty hard dirty work.  the guy on ‘dirty jobs’ should do that job.  once.  there wasn’t much room up at the top, no pun intended, given the fact whoever was wielding a shovel or two around.  so jobs got rotated.  didn’t matter the process was just a nightmare.  

second time was the same crew, sorta.  it was a few years later.  this time however, we had this poor stupid teacher who wanted a summertime job and he got stuck helping us.  yeah.  well, at least he came up with a semi better idea.  sorta.  his idea was we bring up big plastic bags and fill them up with the bird crap and then just drop them down the hole where the ladder was.  ok.  yeah.  cool.  no wonder the guy was a teacher.

yeah, right.  it was still just a nasty job taking two days in the hot damn summer of de onta.  the plastic trash bags?  i was almost hit by two of the damn things as they fell to the bottom of the tower.  you couldn’t hear what the fuck was going on in there with the noise and echos.  clear?  ok, i’m dropping a load.  what?  i can’t hear you.  so you would stick your head out into the ‘zone’ and look up to see what was going on.  wham.  here it comes.  screaming down the tube.  30 or 40 pounds of pigeon shit.  nicely wrapped up in a heavy duty plastic bag.  heading right for your dumb ass teenage head.  good thing i’ve always had good reflexes and quick reaction time.  still do.  damn straight.  none the less it was close.  way too damn close.  closer than nam ever got close.  too fucking close.  killed by pigeon shit.  not good.  not a good obit.  nice catchy headline, but obit, nah.  teenager killed by falling bag of pigeon shit. 

like i said i did this job, twice.  pigeon crap dust everywhere.  not to mention the crap itself.  along with the assorted feathers and whatever else the birds had transported up there.  no masks.  no osha.  no nada.  no zip.  no zilch.  i ain’t complaining.  i lived through it, sorta.

the nice b/w photo below is the tower in question on the campus of my olden high school.    

a nice small semi artsy color shot as well.   along with a couple of others as well. 

there’s no music being provided for this one by anybody.  because nobody wants to be associated with old dried up pigeon shit and stupid teenagers doing what they are told because they need the money.



2 thoughts on “a crappy job, literally

    Cheryl Crittenden Timmons said:
    April 5, 2011 at 1:17 pm

    Love the story, John! Good thing for your fast reflexes. The photos of Tower Hall are great, too. We went to a beautiful high school.

    johnhauge responded:
    April 5, 2011 at 1:44 pm

    not as quick as i used to be but i still manage! don’t forget tower hall used to be a part of chaffey college in the old days. thanks, cheryl.

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