Career choices and their long-term effects on the senses

The worst thing you can do for your five senses is to become a public safety officer. You see, no other vocation takes you into someone’s smelly domicile in its ‘as you find it’ state, than when 911 is dialed (that’s 999 for you Brits, which, I would wish for us Americans, but to make it even EASIER for people to abuse the system, well, I just won’t have it). Thus, you come full-face, full-force, full-diaper into contact with the awful and the offal. I’m so sorry, fledgling paramedics, cops and firemen, but there’s just no time for the denizens of this local eye-sore to spruce up the place for you or to take out the dog for once instead of letting him just go where he must on the carpet.

There’s no easy way to say it – you will pay a price for the job you’ve been dreaming of and it may not show its cost to you up front. Those precious senses have a memory, one that is keener and meaner than the one holding all the knowledge you’re clinging to from the academy or college.

You’re not in a clinical setting looking at these bodies empirically. You’re not studying morbid outcomes through a microscope with its 50x lens because you are so removed from the real process. You’re not relying on test data and metrics coming through the lab. You’re not able to distantly hope for someone else to come up with the answers. You’re in it NOW, baby. Probably neck-deep, too. The smeared remnants of whatever you just cleared to go back into service, will still be on your mind’s eye and nose hairs, long after they have been washed from your uniform.

“But you said ‘five’ senses – I’m not tasting anything in these places.” Oh, my precious friend, yes you are. At least have some sympathy for your nose, and do that thing we all learned to do when we had to hork down pickled beets as a kid – block off the smell/tasting portion from your nose. This will require you to breathe through your mouth, unfortunately. Mmmm, sometimes, there is just no dodging the Crapocalypse. Now!

You will learn, however. You’ll learn subtle tricks to deal with the fetid. The less experienced, junior members of your organization will be your most ready canaries. As will the wonderfully-timed, wonderfully-clueless members of fellow agencies who just had to get there first! There will be improvements in particulate mask technology and donning techniques. We hope for this, anyway. It’s not likely to come from an improvement in the ability of people to clean their houses. And this is elemental, really, because our own filth isn’t so filthy to us. I’m talking about myself here who doesn’t keep the cleanest house and had to resort to employing my teenage daughter as a cleaning lady. She gets paid – we get a clean house. It works. Little does she know, that in her desire to make money as a cleaning lady, she is really only hurting herself in the long run; believing that homes are places that should be clean and swept.

You see, she wants to become a cop when she’s older. As one of these people you come across who set their minds and rarely deviate, I have no doubt she will achieve it. Even now, though, she cannot hear the cries, the warnings, the lamentations of her poor nose hairs trying to pull themselves out before it’s too late, her eardrums – obscenities and curses yet unheard, the tastebuds wishing they’d never been born, her optic nerves absorbing everything with a hungry delight soon to be burned with horrors not found in fiction, the skin bumps that will crawl under her uniform someday – responding as any normal person would, to the unimaginable. I hear them beg her to become an attorney, or a park ranger, a farmer.

Someday, long from now, maybe at Thanksgiving or a visit to her house unexpected, I will look at her when she’s not noticing. In her eye, I will see the reflection of the things unforgotten that should never have been seen by my baby girl. But it’s what happens when brave kids grow up to do brave things just like you hope they would. Maybe then she’ll see me watching her, turn my way and nod with too much understanding. I won’t say the proverbially revolting ‘I told you so.’ I’ll just give her a hug and a squeeze on the arm. Probably a stiff drink too. After all, she can’t taste anything else anymore.




Who enter . . . all ye abandoned . . . have hope . . . welcome! We have come to share our banana guacamole and give you a new porpoise!

So, I’m pretty fuzzy on exactly what it’s supposed to say over Dante’s entrance to Hell – I don’t plan on ever going there myself, you see – but I wanted to let you know that here at My Marvelous Maelstrom of Moving Memes, Musings, Malformed Manuscript Machinations and Millieu, that there should be some measure of giggles, hopeful pondering ¬†and thoughtful insights from squeezing into the spaces between all of us; feeling individually abandoned, collectively herded. But it might also resemble literary Hell. Just a heads up. Could go either way, really.

I have no right to write any more than the rest of you, right? I think that would be something – all of us writing a blog, scrambling for time to make sure everyone gets read. Gosh, there’d be no time for endless Survivor marathons or Happy Days reruns. Therefore, my ridiculous idea isn’t shot down so much as Dead On Arrival.

You really should consider writing something yourself, though. It feels good when the words are flowing and the key strikes keep coming and coming. There’s a purpose, a creativity vein is crumbled loose from the deep shaft of living and breathing that kept going further and further without really knowing where or perhaps why. All of a sudden, you find it. This rich, deeply ancient ore long forgotten that whole new industries and processes are developed in your life to find ways of leveraging this discovered material with so many uses.

Or, you could just keep coming to sites like mine, with zero visitors and followers, hoping to find some break in the monotony – a quantum of solace! (James Bond reference #1). Yes, it looks very bleak at the outset, of course, all journeys do – the more risky and unlikely, the worse it looks. But the better the payoff if they do! NEVER TELL ME THE ODDS! (Star Wars reference #1, gosh, I really thought SW was gonna get in first but James was a spy so I guess it makes sense he’d find a way around the rules).

Well, whatever you decide to do, write, don’t write, rerun, don’t rerun, find life-giving literary ore or just pretend Minecraft ore (virtual ore! how sad IS that? Yes, yes, Tommy is so creative and being productive with his fake creations, at least he’s not blowing up something – what’s that you say? oh, look he’s making bombs in the game . . .) it’s yours to do or do not. There really is no try. (Ha! #2, okay – I’ll stop) There are merely professionals or dilettantes en route to becoming professionals or becoming nothing. That’s just how it is. Sorry, but not everyone in real life gets an award AND A PRIZE! For showing up, for participating; for having a pulse. ‘Ain’t nobody got time for that’, someone once said. They’re too busy – not-reading all those blogs – hoping they’re life might become so wonderfully benign it becomes it’s own story worth telling in a sitcom, later rerunned, later blogged about.