I’ve had some pretty crappy jobs in my life. Even though most of my jobs have been in radio (and some of those were pretty crappy to be honest about it, but that’s a whole different story) I did as a youngster hold several unpleasant jobs.
There was the brief but memorable 3 days as a dishwasher at a white table cloth restaurant. I was all of 15 and at that stage where just handling other peoples discarded food was enough to make me gag. The huge dishwashing machine scared the hell out me. I still remember the big red letters “Hobart” on that sucker. And my boss in the kitchen was a toothless old derelict named Sammy who basically scrubbed pots and told me what to do. Like I say I lasted only three days before I called in sick for the rest of my life.
Then there was the bookstore job at the local college. How bad could it be? How about unloading tractor trailer loads full of books. Hundreds of trailers, millions of books. Did you know books in quantity are real heavy? Take my word on it.
Then there was the guy who hired me to clean his basement but really wanted me to clean his personal basement if you know what I mean. I never ran so fast in life after I figured out his angle. Now we would have him locked up but back then I just left in a hurry.
But as lousy as those jobs were I can’t imagine being the obit editor on call Christmas day. What brings this to mind is a brief notice in the paper the other day. The item, slugged Holiday Deadline (and that seems really ironic) explained that the deadline on Christmas day to submit obituaries is 9pm.
It’s a well know fact that lots of folks drop dead on Christmas day. Emergency departments and outpatient groups, report more cardiac deaths occurred on Dec. 25 than on any other day of the year. The second-largest number of deaths was on Dec. 26, and the third-largest number was on Jan. 1. Speculation is it may be because people, many senior citizens, are delaying getting medical treatment because of the holidays.
But back to the obit desk at the newspaper. How does it feel to pick up the phone and take down the details of someone’s passing on Christmas day? As if it’s not bad enough that while everyone else is eating turkey and watching the Eagles play the Cowboys you are working but you are also sitting waiting to hear about some poor families’ misery.
And until 9pm yet.
So let’s raise a mug of holiday cheer for the loneliest guy (or gal) in the world on Christmas day. The Obit writer on call.