Let me regale you with the tale of the worst job I’ve ever had.
When I was 14, I signed up to be a part of a city-sponsored program called the Youth Employment Project (YEP). We would get assigned odd jobs like cleaning up parks, raking old people’s lawns, picking dog crap up off sidewalks and other sorts of tasks that were probably better left to prisoners or illegal immigrants. While we were on the job, we had to wear these awful flourescent yellow t-shirts that had YEP! emblazoned on them. This served to scar and humiliate us until we didn’t have enough will to resist our supervisor’s commands.
That summer, during the annual Rochester-Fest celebration, I was assigned to tend to the garbage bins for a two-block area. Rochester-Fest is similar to a county fair, only it’s more cramped and much less enjoyable. So there I was, wearing my nasty YEP! shirt and some gloves, dealing with overflowing trash receptacles, and fighting off the bees that were invariably swarming near the garbage. It was hot, I was sweating badly, and I was a gangly, uncoordinated 14 year old boy.
I did this all day, every day for a week. I was paid $4.25 an hour for it.
But this wasn’t the worst of it. No, the worst part is that I was assigned to clean up after the block that featured a stand called, “Learn to Country Line Dance!” This was during the summer of Billy Ray Cyrus’, “Achy, Breaky Heart”. So for every line dancing lesson they handed out, they’d play “Achy, Breaky Heart” 4-5 times. Lessons took place twice an hour all day. For an entire week. So not only was I a painfully awkard 14 year old wearing a flourescent yellow shirt smelling like garbage and fighting off bees, but I was doing this amist the constant backdrop of “Achy, Breaky Heart”.
I still have nervous tics whenever I hear that song.