Thursday, March 14, 2019

I’d Love To Read About: Dangerous Jobs



Have you ever learned a strange fact or seen an unusual thing and thought, I wish there were more books about that? It happens to me all the time. Authors, if you’re listening, here are four dangerous jobs that I wish somebody would write about. (Or take inspiration from. I’m not picky!)










I’d Love To Read About: Dangerous Jobs





Community Plague Doctor



Art source & more info.


You’ve probably seen these creepy doctors before. During the bubonic plague in Europe, towns hired plague doctors to treat sick people, keep records of the dead, and to stop the spread of disease. Community doctors usually weren’t well-trained. They were often young, inexperienced doctors who didn’t own their own medical practice yet.

Plague doctors wore bird-like masks because they believed that diseases came from bad-smelling air. The mask’s “beak” was filled with herbs, flowers, hay, and other good-smelling things. The doctors believed they could cure a patient’s bubonic plague by putting leeches on the swollen parts of the sick person’s body. The leeches would suck out the disease.

Did the leech treatment work? No.








Leech collector



Photo source & more info.



For much of human history, doctors believed that covering a patient in leeches could purge the body of “bad humors.” The leeches would suck out the infection or whatever else was wrong.

But, where did the doctors get the leeches? That’s where leech collectors come in. The collectors were usually women or children who’d wade into a bog and stand there until leeches covered their skin. Then they’d pull the leeches off and sell them to doctors. Leech bites often got infected and could bleed for up to 10 hours. The job didn’t pay well. Collectors sometimes died from blood loss or infections. Also, yuck. Leeches.








Mammoth tusk hunter



More info & awesome photos of tusk hunters.


Let’s look at a modern job. This one isn’t exactly legal. In remote areas of Siberia, men risk their freedom to collect the tusks of extinct mammoths. Siberia has a thick layer of ice beneath the ground that has protected mammoth bones for 400,000+ years. The men use high-pressure pumps and water from nearby rivers to blast away the dirt and melt the ice. Hunting for tusks is a physically demanding job that can result in jail time if the men are caught.

Tusk hunting is environmentally destructive, which is one reason why it’s illegal. Blasting through dirt and permafrost with hoses causes silt to run downhill and clog rivers. Silt kills the fish and plants. The rivers become lifeless mud pits.

If the job is dangerous and illegal, why do people bother looking for tusks? In Siberia, the average monthly salary is under $500. Chinese buyers pay $35,000 for a mammoth tusk.








Alligator wrestler



Photo source & more info.


Yes, people do wrestle live alligators for fun, but it wasn’t always a pointlessly dangerous pastime. The alligator wrestling “technique” was first developed by southeastern Native Americans who hunted alligators for food and skins. They perfected a way to catch gators without losing a limb. As Europeans moved into the southeast and changed the natives’ way of life, alligator wrestling demonstrations became entertainment for Europeans and a way for Native Americans to earn money. By the early 1900s, alligator parks were popular tourist attractions in the southeast. Wrestling gators in front of tourists became a job that could pay the bills.






Which jobs would you like to see more often in books?










42 comments:

  1. Interestingly, I am about 1/2 way through "Atlas of a Lost World: Travels in Ice Age America" by Craig Childs and he has been at all kind of digs where they are looking at our ancient multi-great-grandparents hunting mammoths and using their tusks to make tools... Traders in mammoth tusks may be older than we thought :)

    I'll pass on all these jobs!

    www.thepulpitandthepen.com

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Interesting! I’ll have to look up that book. I want to learn more about ancient people.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  2. The plaque doctors are so interesting.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh this is such a cool post, I love it! I'm not a fan of alligators.... at all haha (they terrify me), but I could see this job being part of a book, that would be so interesting haha :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Alligators are terrifying. I’m glad none live around here.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  4. I'd enjoy to read about a plague doctor. I'm currently reading Rosemarked, which is about a deadly plague, and the healers kinda play the part of the plague doctor.

    Happy readings! ;)
    Tânia @MyLovelySecret

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I’ll have to look up that book. I haven’t heard of it.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  5. Mammoth tusk hunter sounds so awesome. Who knew that was even a thing? I'd love to read more about that. Fun post! :D

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, I was surprised when I learned that mammoth ivory is status symbol. Then I Googled where it came from.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  6. There has to be a book about these things somewhere!! That would be cool.

    Karen @ For What It's Worth

    ReplyDelete
  7. Community plague doctor is new to me, so, thank you. Super creepy and weird and fascinating. I actually went to an alligator farm in Florida and I feel like there may have been some wrestling. It was years ago, but seems wrong to me.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, alligator wrestling is one of those things that seem highly unnecessary. Just leave the gators alone!

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  8. Okay I'd totally love to read a book about a community plague doctor. Haha! That's totally a premise I'd be excited about. I think I'm definitely going to have to stay away from leech collector though.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Haha, leeches are so gross. Plague doctors were fans of them, though. They stuck those things on everybody.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  9. You always find the most interesting tidbits! Mammoth tusk hunting sounds kind of like whale hunting or poaching - but I never knew there was such a big market of mammoth tusks!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, I accidentally discovered that mammoth ivory is a thing people want. It seems like a huge waste of money to me.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  10. I don't know if you ever watched the show 12 Monkeys (or cared lol) but those weird creepy ass bird masks showed up on the show all the time. Probably because they were trying to wipe out humanity with a plague. Crazy people. I always thought those mask things were the creepiest!

    Leeches are a mess. Although Melisandre burning them to winnow down all of Westero's throne contenders I thought was a novel idea.

    Wow mammoth tusks! I've always been fascinated by mammoths. Maybe they should bring them back for an Ice age park and leave the dinosaurs alone. Weren't mammoths herbivorous? Much less dangerous, unless you get trampled I suppose.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Literally the first thing I thought of when I saw the Plague Doctors. Nice to know it wasn't just creepy, it was historically accurate!

      Delete
    2. Yeah let's face it the Cult of 12 Monkeys wouldn't have been nearly as scary without bird masks. And didn't that one dude leave like flower petals behind every time he killed someone? Was he trying to freshen up the place??

      Delete
    3. The masks are really creepy! I wouldn’t want to see that coming at me while I’m dying. I’ve never heard of that show. It sounds like something I’d love.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
    4. Oh my gosh 12 Monkeys is AWESOME. The show, not the movie (I mean, the movie might be, but I've never seen it). You should try the show, although it's over now but Netflix or Hulu might have it? Not sure... it's worth watching just for Jennifer.

      Delete
  11. I can't really think of jobs I'd want to read more about as I tend to focus more on monsters and apocalypses. Always thought those beaked masks the plague doctors wear are dead creepy and would be a good mask for a Michael Myers type killer!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. The do look like something a sadistic murderer would wear!

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  12. Ohhhhh, so that's the story behind the freaky bird masks. I learned something today. I can go home now, right?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes! You’ve filled your quota for learning things.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  13. I always love these posts! Leech collector sounds like an absolutely horrible job. No thank you!

    Nicole @ Feed Your Fiction Addiction

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I wouldn’t want to do any of these jobs, but leech collector seems especially horrible.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  14. Well those are all very interesting. I love reading anything about death. Serial killers, morgue workers, etc. The leech one freaks me out, I didn't know that's what they look like lol.

    Ash @ JennRenee Read

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yep, that’s what leeches look like. They’re basically slimy tubes with teeth.

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  15. I laughed with the mammoth and alligator but shivered with the leech! Eeeek AJ!!!!

    ReplyDelete
  16. PLAGUE DOCTORS. In fact, I want a whole series! Like ER, but for the Plague Era? I better start writing.

    Also, leeches are a HARD pass. And how pissed would you be if you spent your life plucking leeches only to find out that the stupid treatment was well, just a big old waste of time? Man did old timey life suck.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Old timey life did suck. And plucking leeches didn’t even pay enough to get people out of poverty. They get sucked on by leeches, and they’re still poor!

      Aj @ Read All The Things!

      Delete
  17. Cool post. For whatever reason, the alligator whisperer is calling to me the loudest from your list.

    ReplyDelete
  18. This is the first I've heard of a mammoth tusk hunter.
    I'd like a story about the community plague doctor but maybe a historical fiction, horror story.

    ReplyDelete
  19. Hahahaha. I love these posts! I went wading in a creek in Pennsylvania once when I was a kid and came out with about ten leeches on my legs. 😝 My best friend's brother had to have a finger reattached and they used leeches to suck out the pooled blood, and stimulate blood flow. Pretty cool, huh?

    I once watched a special about people who taste test cat food. 😹 I think we need more of those in books. 😺

    ReplyDelete
  20. Fun fact: the properties of the herbs, including rosemary, that plague doctors used is likely to have helped protect them from the plague. #SoNowYouKnow ;)

    ReplyDelete
  21. It's great learning about new things in books, like jobs! I'd read a book about plague doctors for sure.

    -Lauren
    www.shootingstarsmag.net

    ReplyDelete
  22. Well done AJ ... a great post to read - I'd loathe to collect leeches, or worms for that matter - while the plague doctor ... not such a bright choice! Body providers; poisoners; alchemists ... gladiators ... not nice to think about too clearly! Count me out please - cheers Hilary

    ReplyDelete