Similar job, different title
June 27, 2016
by Ivan Raconteur

Journalists and editors have a lot in common with wastewater treatment plant operators, sanitation workers, and crime scene investigators.

Our uniforms are different, but we all come across some rather unsavory things in the course of our work.

These things may be dirty, slimy, and emit foul odors – the kind of stink that burns the eyes of anyone who is exposed to it.

Depending on the job, some of these unpleasant things may be more literal or more figurative, but they are always nasty.

Sometimes we deal with news that is sad, often as a result of man’s inhumanity to man.

Other times, we encounter situations that can be extremely uncomfortable and disturbing, even through the filter of law enforcement jargon, such as when we have to read formal complaints to get the information when writing crime stories.

It’s hard to imagine how awful it must be for law enforcement and others to have to deal with these situations in person. They are bad enough on the printed page.

It’s not uncommon to encounter people who are very different than their public image.

Surprising though this may be to believe, there are people who go around pretending to be one thing, when, in reality, they are something very different.

There are toxic people with whom I’d rather not have contact at all.

These are the people who seem as though they just crawled out from under a flat stone or a pile of rotting wood, or perhaps slithered out of a sewer somewhere.

Strangely enough, many of this last group seem to be either elected officials or candidates for public office.

I’m not sure what it is about holding public office that attracts these creepy-crawly creatures.

It doesn’t seem to have much to do with the reason they say they are running.

Many of them say they want to serve their constituents, but, when it comes down to it, when you peel back the layers of organic fertilizer which liberally coats everything they say, they seem a lot more interested in serving themselves.

What’s more, they have thick heads and enormous egos.

I think that may be where they got the idea for Mount Rushmore. After observing some politicians in action, someone probably noticed that many of them have rock heads to begin with, so a stone sculpture was a natural extension of the theme.

I wonder sometimes if they have to make the doorways in government buildings extra wide so the elected officials with their big rock heads and giant egos can fit through them.

There are a few serious and conscientious elected officials out there doing their best to represent their constituents, but I can’t help thinking they are a small minority.

The proper wardrobe for an editor is a white shirt, black vest, and a jaunty fedora, but there are days when I feel like I should be wearing a hazmat suit to protect me from catching something nasty on the job.

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