Letterwerks Sign City
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At odds

Fri, Feb 21st, 2014
Posted in All Commentary

First off, I’d like to mention, with no shortage of sadness, that the car I had mentioned in a previous column, my dear green Ford, had to make her last journey to the great trade-in lot in the sky last month. I’m now the proud loan-holder for a new-ish RED Ford, proudly made in the good old US of A, and in Motor City, no less. So farewell, Jade and hello, Betty: my All-American Girl.

And yes, that means my wife’s car, the one that it technically old enough to purchase alcohol on its own, is still kicking. God Bless that old Eggplant.

We now return to your regularly scheduled… whatever this is.

I once applied to be a garbage man. Forgive me, a “refuse collector,” in a well-to-do suburb on the famed North Side of Chicago. The hours were tough, but it was only four days a week and the pay would have been more than enough to provide for my wife and I. For those of you who might know me well, the idea of picking up the trash of the well-heeled is something like Gandhi asking for a job where he just eats cheeseburgers all day, but such are the times we live in. It was the response I got from the city that absolutely boggled my mind, and I quote:

“We have received close to 500 applications, and we are reviewing those applications. We have a lot of good candidates which makes it difficult to narrow the field down to those candidates that will receive an interview.”

500 applications.

Five. Hundred.

For a garbage man.

Last time I checked, this wasn’t a highly sought after position. There’s no shame in it, but at the same time it’s hard to imagine people are beating down the door to get in. There’s some point to be made here, but I’m sure most of you are sick of hearing me carry on in what my wife calls my “how bad my life is” columns. Still now, three years later, I am floored by that response. I mean…Five Hundred People! I went to high school in Mabel, Minn. a town of less than 800. My family lived in Canton, Minn. a town of less than 400. More people wanted to be this garbage man than live in the town my parents do. I am still utterly flabbergasted every time I run the numbers, so I decided to turn the run into a full on marathon. For instance, a quick, dirty and unsourced Google search tells me that:

The odds of being on a plane with a drunken pilot are 117 to 1, which makes me rethink my vacation plans.

The odds of being audited by the IRS are 175 to 1, which reminds me I have to get my W-2s in order… and you should, too!

The odds of being born with extra fingers or toes in 500 to 1, which means there’s a fairly good chance that a fella picking up refuse on the streets right now is doing so with an extra digit somewhere.

The odds of dying in a transportation accident are 77 to 1…but that makes me wonder if it involves the tipsy pilot I mentioned above.

Heck, I have better odds of any of my future children being certifiable geniuses (250 to 1) than I did of getting an interview for that job. Next stop, Ivy League!

And, of course, the odds of getting away with murder are listed at 2 to 1. The less said about that, really, the better.

Thankfully, I’m still pretty much in the clear when it comes to something like losing an appendage to a chainsaw (4,464 to 1) or being struck by lightning (700,000 to 1) so this has most certainly been an exercise in counting one’s blessings. Tonight, I’ll sleep well in my bed, and not on a plane being flown by Jack Daniels, while contentedly crossing my 10 fingers and 10 toes over each other, all while dreaming happy dreams of my future genius offspring, free from the fear of having my measly salary scrutinized by the IRS.

Hm… now I wonder what are the odds of all that?

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