Posts Tagged ‘careers’

My New Career

Posted in General on June 8th, 2009 by Eugene Finerman – 3 Comments

I am about to begin an exciting career as a ditch digger.  It pays better than being a writer–three times as much.  I owe this vocational revelation to my plumber.   When he was prepared to charge me a $150 an hour to dig a hole in my yard, I realized that I was in the wrong business.

My apprenticeship began last week when I noticed that soapy water from the washing machine was backing up into a toilet.  If I were more sophisticated, I would have appreciated my fulminating toilet as a makeshift bidet.  Unfortunately, I am just not that French.  No, I could only think of the situation as a disaster, and so I called the most reliable plumber we know:  someone who will only rob you blind but guarantee the work. 

Eight hundred dollars later, his crew alleviated the immediate problem and gave us the long-term prognosis: we needed a new pipe and that would require extensive digging by two men at a $150 a hour.  I told him that I could get Ivy League PhDs to do the job for less.  (Actually, I only know two–and I am not really sure that they can be trusted with sharp tools.) 

However, I can be.  When it comes to tools and manual labor, I even have delusions of being Gentile.  So, to save money, I offered to dig part of the hole.  The trench is supposed to be six feet long, three feet wide and four feet deep.   (If there is a jester’s skull there, it is mine.)   At the very least, I can remove and save the top soil.  True, my 57 year-old body probably can only do half the work of some burly young plumbers; but I would only charge one third as much.  That is a 17 percent savings! 

The plumber would still do any work that required skill and training, but I was capable of the mindless drudgery.  I cannot tell exactly what his reaction meant.  Did he shrug in acquiesence or in disbelief?   He has yet to send me his official estimate for the project; so perhaps he is trying to avoid me. 

That is too bad.  If he liked my work as a ditch digger, I could have used him as a reference on LinkedIn.