Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Job Satisfaction

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I didn't use to watch TV at all. Now I watch TV while I do the exercises my physical therapist suggested for my back. (One ruptured disk, one herniated disk, one big hassle.) For any of you out there that have too much dignity, I highly recommend back exercises. Several of them make me look like I’m attempting to fly. In others I appear to be trying out for a Michael Jackson pelvic thrust dance routine. Needless to say, I do my exercises after the kids go to bed.

TV during that time slot is often interesting. The other night I watched a documentary on PBS about venomous creatures. You might not realize this, but researchers are trying to cure all sorts of medical problems using venom. Seriously—from cancer to pain relief to blood clotting agents—they’re looking to venom to find solutions. I’m imagining myself walking into a clinic with a brain tumor and then being informed that the doctor wants to inject me with snake venom. I think about that time I’d start to question my HMO.

But that’s not the point I’m trying to make. What struck me was the researches they showed collecting venom. I mean, some days being an author is the pits. Like today when I checked Amazon and saw that my first review for Ex-boyfriend was only three stars. I read the review—and it was surprisingly good review. The person said: “The main characters are cute and our heroine actually has a couple of laugh out loud funny episodes (and some of her thoughts are hilarious)” but she only gave it three stars (I assume) because it didn’t “touch her or make her think.” I would suggest she think about how hard it is to write comedy and give me five stars, but no, never mind.

Anyway, back to snakes and poisonous toads and such. In one part of the show a researcher is recorded milking the fangs of poisonous spiders. “You have to get them angry so they stand up and show you their fangs,” he said waving a pipette at a furry black spider. “Luckily it’s pretty easy to provoke them. Even a whiff of human smell makes them angry.”

Yeah, I suppose so. Being jabbed with a pipette on a daily basis would do that for you.

Another woman grabbed a brown snake from the ground—with her bare hands—and then held it aloft for the camera while she cheerfully explained that it’s responsible for the most snake deaths in Australia.

I couldn’t help but think that the death toll was about to rise by one.

We got to watch a lot of snakes being milked for venom and it really surprised me how many researches did this without any sort of gloves. This either says something about their hubris or their job satisfaction.

So even on days when being an author isn’t great, there are still things to be thankful for. Like the fact that thus far my editor hasn’t asked me to milk a snake.


Anonymous said...

"Let us rise up and be thankful, for if we didn't learn a lot today, at least we learned a little, and if we didn't learn a little, at least we didn't get sick, and if we got sick, at least we didn't die; so, let us all be thankful." --Buddha

Julie Wright said...

Sorry to hear about your back. I know how you fee--quite literally. I have the exact same thing. Surgery saved me but hasn't cured me. Swimming three times a week is supposed to help too. I'm starting that program in a few weeks. Good luck and I raise my glass to job satisfaction. You know it'll be time to move on when the bow tie guy asks you to tick off a venomous spider

Julie Wright said...

that should be feel. I don't pretend to know anything about how you fee

Heather Moore said...

That's what I try to do. When I start feeling sorry for myself, I try and think of someone who is worse off. It only takes 30 seconds. LOL

Josi said...

Let me say how comforting it is to know that simply smelling humans makes spiders angry. And for all these years I've tried to believe they are more afraid of me than I am of them. Will my mother go to hell for telling me that? Will I join her for passing it on to my own kids? Do I dare tell them the truth?

Oh, and I once met a woman who's job it was to artificial inseminate hogs. Give me flippin burgers any day.

tenacious d said...

Your book didn't touch the reader or make her think? Pffft! Puh-leeze. Save us from painfully earnest high school students!

Marsha Ward said...

Yeah, I'm grateful I don't have to haul crap pots out of the Bering Sea with 15 foot waves banging over the front of the boat.

I've been watching too much "Deadliest Catch" lately. So glad the season's over. Now I can catch my breath and get back to worrying about how Ned's going to convince Jessie to marry him.

Mads said...

Marsha, I agree, deadliest catch is awesome! My mom and I always watch it together. That and America's Funniest Home Videos are the only shows I watch. (My mom's choice) :o) Whenever I have extra time, I don't want to watch TV, I would rather read or swim or write! :o)

Janette Rallison said...

Do you mean crap pots or crab pots? Either way, it's a job I wouldn't want.

Anonymous said...

I'm going to stray a little off topic (even though I must say that snakes are ScArY!!!) and I apologize if this has already been discussed.

I just heard that you're coming to the BYU book symposium! I was at Hogi Yogi with my mother and grandmother and they started talking about you (and listing off all the Young Women from Pullman, it was very strange). You will be pleased to note that they had nothing but good things to say. But anyway, that's beside the point. I was SOOOO excited that you are coming! And Ann Cannon will be there too! And then I discovered that I will be away camping then and my mother won't let me get out of it. She will be in attendance though and can't wait to see you again! Um... that's basically all I had to say. I wish wish wish that I could come (I'm still determined to highjack a bus or something and drive down).

Anonymous said...

Like most people, including you, it sounds like, "I don't like spiders and snakes . . ." but your blog did bring this thought to my mind: isn't it interesting that out of something horrifying is the possibility for good?

Kari Pike said...

Hmmmm...I don't think I will share this one with my daughter. She freaks if she sees a spider.

As for jobs worse than my own...I once listened to a woman on the radio describe her summer job in a chicken packing plant...it was her responsibilty to remove the unlaid eggs from the butchered hens. How disgusting is that?

I'm sorry to hear you are experiencing back problems. I hope you heal quickly!

Mads said...

Janette, I agree with you about the back excercise thing. I hurt my knee, and now I have to do excercises for it, and they look so silly. I don't do them while anyone is wathcing-- especially my sisters!!