5 Fictional Jobs That Seem Awesome, but Actually Suck
Let’s face it; most people have really crappy jobs. For every jet fighter pilot breaking the sound barrier and blowing up terrorists, you have 100 guys who make minimum wage shoveling horse manure onto a cornfield. That’s why we sit in our cubicle reading comedy articles on the Internet instead of working, and why I’m employed. So, I thank you for having a crappy job so I can have an awesome one.
Another thing people do when trying to avoid the crushing reality of your garbage man existence is to fantasize about the job you’d rather have. What roadkill removal worker wouldn’t dream of being a Jedi Knight? What sewage plant cleaner doesn’t secretly imagine he’s carrying a six shooter instead of a powerwasher, shooting Nazis instead of cleaning up poop? However, here is a list of five jobs that may seem like a barrel full of awesome, but in reality, you’d be better off straddling a desk.
The Crew of the Black Pearl (Pirates of the Caribbean franchise)
There are many obvious benefits to being a pirate. You get to wear awesome clothes, carry a sword, drink rum, pleasure many, many women, plunder ships, and generally live the glamorous life of an outlaw. Serving on the most awesome pirate ship of all time, the Black Pearl, would seem even more awesome. The Pearl is always at the center of the action, whipping the tar out of Royal Navy, EITC, and Fish People prudes, and is commanded by the most dynamic and cool characters of the Caribbean, like Hector Barbossa, Will Turner, Elizabeth Swann, and of course, Jack Sparrow.
Of course, being a real pirate was no picnic. Scurvy, lice, rats, fouled water, sea storms, the constant threat of being hung as criminals, and, of course, the crushing boredom of spending days at sea without anything to do, in cramped quarters with a bunch of other men, probably horny, and even worse, there’s probably limited rum supplies.
Serving as a crew member on the Black Pearl would be even worse than your average, real life pirate. For one thing, have you ever, in the course of three movies, seen the Pearl plunder a single ship? They never did when Jack Sparrow was captain. They did attack merchant vessels under Barbossa, but they were forced to hoard it on the Isla de Muerta because they were cursed undead skeleton things. And that brings up another thing: the crew of the Pearl is so incredibly unlucky, if they were to walk into a casino, not only would they lose every doubloon they owned, but the slot machine would fall on their heads at the same time.
Throughout the franchise, the average crewman has been subjected to a ten year curse of the undead, being eaten by cannibal natives and a giant squid, being arrested and hung by the Royal Navy, fighting nightmarish fish people, plunging off the edge of the goddamn world, and having to spend all their time watching the lead characters struggle for control over the ship to decide how best to kill off the crew next.
The crew is put through all these trials, and for what? There is never any materialistic gain for Joe Swabbie, and the one time they do get some treasure, it turns out to be cursed by Aztecs and turns you into a skeleton with shredded clothes and a serious attitude problem. We mean, we’ve heard of “crime doesn’t pay, but this is ridiculous.
Police Officer, Gotham P.D. (Batman Begins/The Dark Knight)
So, you’ve decided to step on the other side of the thin blue line and join the vaunted ranks of the Gotham Police Department. That’s rather civic minded of you, there’s plenty of reasons to put on the uniform, from a desire to kick some criminal ass, to looking sexy in your blue suit, to, you know, working with BATMAN.
It’s the ultimate job: taking down mob bosses and bank robbers, packing heat, taking part in sick police chases, everything cool you’ve ever seen or thought about being a cop, and then, on top of that, working with the man who proved to us all that anyone can be a superhero if they have enough money, the Caped Crusader. Except there’s a little snag in that logic.
Everyone seems to forget that Gotham is the most dangerous city in the country, making Detroit look like Pleasantville. And it’s not just good old fashioned bank robbers and drug dealers plunging the city into darkness either, this city is a magnet for criminal masterminds and conspiracies abound. Let’s summarize the bad guys that have cropped up in the course of two movies. The city started in Batman Begins as being controlled by mob boss Carmine Falcone. He ran a massive crime organization and any public officials who weren’t on the take looked the other way because they’d wake up in the trunk of a car. Then Batman took care of him, and he was confronted by a new enemy: Scarecrow, the mad doctor who decided wearing a burlap sack over his head counted as a scary disguise and squirted some potent smack into the face of people who hallucinated very awesomely.
After Scarecrow was taken care of, Batman was forced to confront another deadly threat: the ninjas who trained him to be so awesome, led by Liam Neeson. They had decided that Gotham was beyond saving and that it was time to get rid of the place and start all over. Unfortunately, this plan involved killing everyone in the city with aforementioned potent smack. Well, Batman toasted Liam by dropping a train on top of him, only to find out the mob has broken down into about 12 different organizations with Falcone gone. Batman finally takes down the mob, only to have the Joker show up and start blowing up hospitals and turning Harvey Dent to the Dark Side.
So, imagine being a beat cop in Gotham during this timespan. Your jurisdiction is besieged by one supercriminal after another, clearly you and your fellow officers are not equipped to handle them, because when you try, you get killed. Half the police force is corrupt, and will shoot you if it makes them some more drug money. Clearly the only guy in a position to do anything about it is Batman, and guess what? You don’t get to work with Batman because you’ve been charged with arresting him as a vigilante. The manhunt only stops when Jim Gordon becomes commissioner, but starts right back up again at the end of the Dark Knight after Batman takes the fall for Harvey Dent’s murders. It’s a no win situation all around.
Teacher, Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry (Harry Potter)
So, we’ve discounted two real jobs in fictional places, let’s go the whole hog and examine a completely fictional job in a completely fictional place. There are many perks to being a wizard in the world of Harry Potter. You can do literally anything you want through magical means, making life much easier. Immortality is not only possible, but has actually been attained through 3 different methods throughout the course of the series. And it’s actually cheaper to live as a wizard than as a Muggle (think of all the money you save on transportation costs when you can just teleport from one place to another). And, think of all the sex you could get with love potions and instant aphrodisiacs at your disposal, plus, bitchin’ robes.
Being a teacher at the premier school for wizardry (and the occasional witchcraft) has some obvious perks. You get free room and board from September to June, with gourmet meals served every day, three times a day. You want to eat pancakes everyday? In the real world, that’d be a pain in the ass, having to cook them. Not at Hogwarts, where all meals are provided by a kitchen full of midget slaves. Laundry, housecleaning, all that jazz is taken care of by the staff. It’s like living in the Hilton three quarters of the year. There doesn’t appear to be any sort of dress code, and you get to work for Albus Dumbledore, a man who clearly just plain don’t give a damn.
The problems with this job start to crop up when you consider that you aren’t living in a luxury hotel as much as a combined middle and high school, with all the moody and hormonal teenagers that entails, and throw in the monkey wrench that it’s a boarding school: there is no escape. The children only leave the place for a little while over Christmas and Easter, and a couple months over the summer, just enough time to regain your sanity before they come back. So, seven years, you become that kid’s parent for most of the year, and remember that these aren’t ordinary children. These are wizards in training, with newly acquired knowledge of magic but not the proper use of it, which means that spats between students tend to end with one of the kids in the nurse’s office with a radish where their nose used to be. And some of these kids are plain evil.
The Weasley twins are twisted buggers whose sole existence is to make the teacher’s lives miserable. Their class prankster status is elevated because of their magical skills, which end up in far more outlandish jokes than the average class clown. Then there’s Harry Potter and his crew, who keep trying to get themselves killed and accidently saving the day in the process, which is obviously frustrating. Then there’s the most obvious problem of them all: Dark Wizards.
A quarter of the student population is segregated into a dorm room dripping with evil, everyone who has ever been a naughty magician went to school and learned the trade right there. Yet no one saw a problem with that. Dark wizards break into the school on a regular basis, in fact, they were present in the school in every single movie. Similar to Batman, it seems only Harry Potter is capable of battling the forces of evil that infect the place like athlete’s foot. Even the final climatic battle, the ultimate collision of good and evil that would decide who would rule the world of wizardry once and for all like something out of the Book of Revelation, took place at Hogwarts. Little did the teachers of Hogwarts realize that in addition to being an educator to a motley crew of moody and ungrateful little pukes, but also that they were required to be a soldier in the War of Good vs. Evil when they took the job as well.
Stalker (The Running Man)
According to the classic Arnie movie The Running Man, in the future, people will revert back to their Roman roots by watching convicted criminals be killed on live TV by gladiator like dudes named Stalkers. On the outside, this seems like an awesome job. You get paid massive amounts of money to dress up in a gimmicky costume and be cheered by the masses, and oh by the way, you’re legally sanctioned to murder a man with a chain saw.
The fact that you’re dressed up and act like a WWE superstar is that much the better for you, and so much the worse for the poor chaps that meet your bladed hockey stick. But what makes the job sound so awesome is what actually makes it suck ass. The position of Stalker is essentially that of public executioner, given that no one is designed to survive the Running Man. Even the three men who supposedly “won” the show were killed quietly backstage. Then you have the highly dangerous nature of the show. 4 Stalkers lost their lives over the course of the movie, killed by Arnold and his crew. After all, you’re being asked to take on some of the most dangerous criminals society has to offer, like Arnold, who supposedly massacred a group of breadline protestors. These aren’t safe people to be around, even with a jet pack and a flamethrower.
And we haven’t even begun to consider that you’re employed by a tyrannical government that uses this game show to distract the populace from realizing how badly they’re being screwed by their leaders. So, to summarize, you’re a fascist gladiator with a showpiece of a weapon up against very lethal individuals who have nothing to lose, and if you’re killed in the attempt, it’s very likely your boss will lie about it to get higher ratings for his precious TV show.
It’s hard to classify what exactly a Smoker does in the movie Waterworld. They appear to be some sort of future pirates with a desire to stop roaming the endless seas of Waterworld and find Dryland. They went about this by shooting many, many people.
Regardless of what they do, they are freaking awesome at doing it. They sail on the Exxon Valdez, which I think is Kevin Costner’s attempt at being ironic. They appear to be the only people with guns, gas powered vehicles such as jetskis and airplanes, and they work for a man who can only be described as having testicular fortitude to match no one.
Despite all these seemingly cool things, there is a lot wrong with being a Smoker. For one thing, you’re clustered on an old oil tanker with hundreds of other dudes, and not a woman in sight. Your crazy boss has tried to blow up his own ship for a laugh on numerous occasions, and is actually using you to accomplish his own ends. It’s incredibly dangerous to be playing around with these jury rigged explosive devices and ancient guns that may very well misfire and explode in your face when you use them. Then you have the most glaring oversight of them all: the only visible way we’ve ever seen Smokers paid is with cigarettes; it’s why they’re called Smokers. But think about it. This is a future where the entire world is an ocean. There are no tobacco plants, where are they getting the cigs from? Either they were made before the polar ice caps melted, indicated to be more than 500 years ago, or these idiots are smoking seaweed. You know humanity has sunk to its lowest when we’re snorting dried kelp to get high.