Where There Were No Doors

Follow your bliss and doors will open where there were no doors before - Joseph Campbell

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

The wrong line of work

Is what I'm in.

This isn't, of course, a new thought. I never see a documentary about NASA without thinking "That's a good job!" a large number of times. Also, I tend to think "I'm in the wrong line of work" whenever I hear about people who get paid to chase tornados, people who sing for a living, professional golfers, and anyone who spends a lot of time recording nature sounds.

Those are all, in their own unique ways, very good jobs to have.

One of G.K. Chesterton's finer books is called "The Club of Queer Trades". The club of the title is a Victorian Era Gentleman's Club. It's very exclusive, with membership restricted only to those who can honestly lay claim to having invented the profession by which they earn a living. Needless to say, the book is filled with wonderfully eccentric characters.

Today I encountered a news item featuring a person who would clearly qualify for Chesterton's Club, and about whom my complaint that "I'm in the wrong line of work" has never been more appropriate. A court case in America has recently required the services of an "expert witness" about the psychotropic effects of cocaine. The man they contacted was a professor at the University of California, Los Angeles. Not only is he an expert on the pharmacology and chemistry of the drug but he...
had smoked crack cocaine himself and sat in a cage with monkeys to teach them how to smoke cocaine as well.
- New York Times
(March 5th, 2005)
Imagine meeting people for the first time, and explaining that your job involves sitting in a cage smoking crack with rhesus monkeys. Am I ever in the wrong line of work!

2 Comments:

Blogger L said...

"The Club of Queer Trades" sounds like a book I need to add to my library section on Oddities and Eccentricities....

And never in a million years would I have ever guessed that someone would be paid to smoke crack with monkeys. I learn something new every day.

9/3/05 20:03  
Blogger Jim Bliss said...

The other of Chesterton's books I'd recommend is "The Man Who Was Thursday". Both of them are slim volumes... easily consumed during a rainy Sunday afternoon.

10/3/05 01:46  

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