Here we are again. Smack dab in the middle of the season of joy and good cheer, and wonderfully magical days and nights. We’re all busy honoring traditions and making new memories, and seeing the good in people. I mean, even the songs will tell you how great you are supposed to be feeling: Tis the season to be jolly (Fa la la la la). So why does it sometimes feel like so much…work? Last year I planned that THIS year I wouldn’t let myself feel as much of the stress of the holiday season, and would simply and wholeheartedly embrace the joy and magic that everyone else seems to be embracing so effortlessly. But last year (and every year before that, actually) I also planned that THIS year I would start my shopping early, and I would know exactly what to get each of the kids so that I didn’t go wildly over budget, and I would read the kids Christmas stories every night by a roaring fire and they would gladly put down all their electronics just to hang on my every word. It just never seems to happen quite like that. It’s more like the minute Thanksgiving ends I am at the mercy of a time that has mysteriously sped up to an insanly fast rate. It’s no wonder that sometimes we feel sort of crappy at this time of year. Like we are just not as happy as we are supposed to be. So I thought I would stop, take a deep breath, and make a little list of 10 ways our lives could be waaaay crappier and more stressful than they seem to be right now.
Turn that frown upside down my friend, and give thanks that you are not…
1. Professional Fart Sniffer
I’m sorry…what’s that you say? There is no such thing as a professional fart sniffer? Hate to be the bearer of bad news, but it’s real. And it’s happening. Oh…and it’s happening to the tune of $50k a year! That’s right. Apparently the smell of your toots can indicate whether or not you have a serious internal medical condition. If you want to move to China and go thru the fart sniffer program, you too can smell farts for a living. Your life isn’t looking so bad right now, is it?
2. The Concierge at the Hotel During a Fur-fest Convention
Just be thankful you aren’t the person at the front desk who has to try to keep a straight face and act like everything is normal while you are checking in a 6-foot tall man and a bunch of his pals dressed up as a large furry stuffed animals during their annual weekend Fur-fest Convention.
3. Jelly Bean Taster
This job sounds fantastic at first glance. A jellybean taster? Sign me up! But before you go quitting your job and moving your entire family closer to the nearest jellybean tasting factory you should take a minute to hark back to Bertie Bott’s Beans. Remember those Harry Potter jellybeans that came out a few years ago? In the little box, mixed in with the regular flavors, were horrible flavors like ear wax and rotten egg. In order to get those flavors to taste authentic someone had to have been in charge of tasting them until they were just right. And that someone had to first develop a working knowledge of the exact taste of earwax…do you see where I’m going with this? I think you can safely embrace the ho-hum simplicity of your current “earwax-free” life.
4. Santa at the Mall
Is there anything worse than being Santa at the mall? Really. The poor guy has to sit there for hours with a fake smile on his face, probably sweating to death, while well-meaning parents put their most prized possessions on his lap. Sure maybe there are one or two kids who are psyched and sit there happily telling Santa what they want for Christmas…but it seems that the majority of them have a conniption fit. And then to add insult to injury the parents pay someone to take a picture of the mayhem. (Shout out to my friend Jen Casey for the above picture of her adorably terrified twins Ava and Ryan!)
5. The Farmer Who Castrates Sheep…by MOUTH
Okay, to clarify, the farmer doesn’t do the actual castration with his teeth (at least not according to all my research), but he uses his teeth to hold the, uh, nuggets in place while he uses the approved tools to chop them off. I don’t know about you, but any day that a sheep’s junk isn’t in my mouth is a good day.
6. Giblet Packager
To me the worst part of roasting a delicious chicken is prepping the bird for the oven. This unfortunately includes removing the nasty bag of innards from inside the chicken. (shudder) But how did this bag get in there to begin with? Good question. Those giblets didn’t just bag themselves. My guess is that it must be someone’s job to sift through the guts and other unmentionables and pluck out the heart, liver, kidneys, neck, gizzard, etc. and plop them one by one into the giblet bag of horror. (OMG, I just dry-heaved)
7. Stool Sample Tester
Okay, so yes your life seems a little extra stressful right now. But do you have to spend the better part of your days diving into a baggie of steaming turd? No? Then you can definitely add that little fact to your own list of reasons to be happy this holiday season.
8. Anyone Who Has “Cleaning Up Someone Else’s Puke” Anywhere in Their Job Description…
…especially if the puke includes chunks of undigested food (which is basically the definition of puke.) I’ve cleaned up my own kids’ puke plenty of times. It is a multi-step process during which I die a thousand deaths. I’ve even cleaned up my own puke once after an unfortunate food poisoning incident. But some random person’s warm vomit? No thank you. That is where I draw the line.
9. This Guy (who unclogs the drains at a public shower)
The person whose job it is to unclog the drains in public showers, like at the gym for example. Horrifying. Look at the guy in this picture…doesn’t even have gloves on. Or a mask. Or safety goggles, or a Hazmat suit or ANYTHING! There is nothing to stand between him and a stranger’s stray pube possibly getting on him. Your life is a bowl full of cherries compared to the horror of that.
Lice. We get letters home at least 3 times a year from my kids’ school stating that someone in their class has been diagnosed with a case of lice. (Immediately I start itching all over and obsessively checking everyone’s hair as if I am a monkey looking for a snack.) Did you know that there are professionals who will actually come to your house and delouse your children for you? They have all sorts of cute little names for their companies, and they charge a pretty penny for their services. But at least once a day if you are feeling down, don’t you think you could sincerely utter the words, “But at least I don’t pick lice out of people’s hair for a living…”
So there you have it, in black and white. Whenever you start to feel blue from all the stress just remember things could be worse. Way worse. Your life is actually pretty amazingly, magically, and yes, even stressfully, fab!