The loneliest job in the world
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“You're never alone with Armitage Shanks”
Some jobs are lonelier than others, on a scale, therefore there must be, at one end of the scale, a job which is the loneliest of all. Exactly which profession is to be found on the farthest point of the lonely scale is an issue which - although moot - has been argued over by the self-important and the socially backward for years.
There follows below a definitive précis of what are commonly considered the loneliest jobs in the world.
edit Monarch of the Low Lands by the Northern Sea
It has been often said that it is lonely at the top. And you cannot rise much higher than Absolute Monarch of the Netherlands and all Dutch, including all the dykes. Well, maybe "Emperor of the Universe" is a half notch higher up the food chain. Only problem is, the Universe does not exist and thus you can't be Emperor of it. So believe you me, the Absolute Monarch is pretty lonely.
This goes especially for Queen Wilhelmina (1898 - 1948), who in her later years was so heart-broken from the loneliness at the top that she named her autobiography Lonely, but not alone.
But if we look at this Royal Job with hindsight, we must come to the conclusion that the loneliness was all fake. I mean, QW herself spawned four children officially, and her Royal Hubby Prins Hendrik (nicknamed "Sir Loin" in the tabloids) added at least one dozen of illegit Royal Bastards just because he was bad at controlling his Royal Impulses.
And guess what these Royal (and less Royal) Children did once they reached the reproductive stage in their development? They re-pro-duced! Millionfold. The rabbits would stop their frolicking on the Royal Lawn with every new birth in the Royal Family and shake their little rabbit heads in disbelief at such unbound fertility. So in the end, after four generations a single Hive Mother managed to create a swarm of approximately one thousand off-spring.
I ask of you: is this a sign of loneliness? Such a large and warm and happy and rich family? No way!
edit Long-distance Runner
Most long-distance runners would have you believe that they hold the loneliest job in the world. For instance, that Phidippides guy that won the first Marathon by running to Athens after the Battle of Marathon allegedly collapsed and died from loneliness on the finish line. But do not let yourself be fooled by this gratuitous and totally over-the-hill dramatic gesture. The loneliness he displayed was actually a blessing in disguise. Being the only contestant, the loneliness actually helped him win the first Marathon Ever and go down history.
Allan Sillitoe paints a completely different picture in his short story about long-distance running (which later formed the basis for an award-winning movie). Here, our hero is a jolly criminal who experiences all kinds of fun with people from all walks of life. He trains and works out in order to "keep ahead of the copper plates" as one famous quote from the movie has it.
He meets a golden-hearted whore and abandoning a life of crime, he starts a family with her and soon is the patriarch of a highly respected upper middle class family. The movie ends with a shot of him merrily walking his third (and last to get married) daughter to the altar.
Not much loneliness there, methinks.
edit Stand-up Comedian
Many stand up comedians would have you believe that their job is the loneliest job in the world, as lonely as being a clown, but what they've done is, they've confused being on their own, alone, lonely, with being in a room with hundreds of people hanging on their every word.
Many clowns would have you believe that they have water in those buckets not confetti, and that their job is the loneliest job in the world, as lonely as being a cloud, floating on high o'er vales and hills, but what they've done is, they've confused being on their own, alone, lonely, with the burning feelings of self-loathing and despair inherent in risible traveling buffoonery.
Every clown deserves his loneliness, weak.
Many clouds would tell you that their job, traveling the globe alone delivering rain to those who need it least, is the loneliest job in the world, as lonely as being a lighthouse keeper. Rather they would tell you this, were they able to think it in the first place and relate the thought to you via some manner of Morse code rain. Potentially very lonely, however since clouds are incapable of emotion without first being fecklessly anthropomorphised, only half-marks can be given.
Wordsworth was a hack
edit Lighthouse Keeper
Still waiting for my saviour,
storms tear me limb from limb;
my fingers feel like seaweed...
I'm so far out I'm too far in.
I am a lonely man...my solitude is true
my eyes have borne stark witness
and now my knights are numbered too.
I've seen the smiles on dead hands--
the stars shine, but they're not for me.
I prophesy disaster and then I count the cost....
I shine but, shining, dying,
I know that I am almost lost.
On the table lies blank paper/my tower is built on stone/
I only have blunt scissors/I only have the bluntest home....
I've been the witness, and the seal of death
lingers in the molten wax that is my head.
When you see the skeletons of sailing-ship spars sinking low
You'll begin to wonder if the points of all the ancient myths
are solemnly directed straight at
No time now for contrition:
the time for that's long past.
The walls are thin as tissue
and if I talk I'll crack the glass.
So I only think on how it might have been,
locked in silent monologue, in silent scream
Anyway, I'm much too tired to speak
and, as the waves crash on the bleak
stones of the tower, I start to freak....
...and find that I am overcome...
'Unreal, unreal!' ghost helmsmen scream
and fall in through the sky,
not breaking through my seagull shrieks...
no breaks until I die:
the spectres scratch on window-slits--
hollowed faces, mindless grins
only intent on destroying what they've lost.
I craw the wall till steepness ends in the vertical fall;
my pail has sailed into the sea: no joking hopes at dawn.
White bone shine in the iron-jaw mask
lost mastheads pierce the freezing dark
and parallel my isolated tower....
no paraffin for the flame
no harbour left to gain
v. The Presence of the Night/Kosmos Tours:
'Alone, alone,' the ghosts all call,
pinpoint me in the light.
The only life I feel at all
is the presence of the night.
Would you cry if I died?
Would you cry if I died?
Would you catch the final words of mine?
Would you catch my words?
I know that there's no time
I know that there's no rhyme...
false signs find me
I don't want to hate,
I just want to grow;
why can't I let me
live and be free?..but I die very slowly alone.
I know no more ways,
I am so afraid,
myself won't let me
just be myself and so I am completely alone....
The maelstrom of my memory
is a vampire and it feeds on me
now, staggering madly, over the brink I
vi. (Custard's) Last Stand:
Lighthouses might house the key
but can I reach the door?
I want to walk on the sea
so that I may better find ashore...
but how can I ever keep my feet dry?
I scan the horizon
I must keep my eyes on all parts of me.
Looking back on the years
it seems that I have lost
Like a dog in the night, I have run to a manger
...now I am the stranger I stay in.
All of the grief I have seen
leaves me chasing solitary peace;
but I hold experience in my head....
I'm too close to the light
I don't think I see right, for I blind me....
vii. The Clot Thickens:
WHERE is the God that guides my hand?
HOW can the hands of others reach me?
WHEN will I find what I grope for?
WHO is going to teach me?
I am me/me are we/we can't see
any way out of here.
Crashing sea/atrophied history:
Chance has lost my Guinevere....
I don't want to be one wave in the water
But sea will drag me deep
One more haggard DROWNED MAN...
I can see the Lemmings coming, but I know I'm just a man;
Do I join or do I founder? Which can is the best I may?
viii. Land's End (Sineline)/We Go Now:
Oceans drifting sideways, I am pulled into the spell;
I feel you around me...I know you well.
Stars slice horizons where the lines stand much too stark;
I feel I am drowning...hands stretch in the dark.
Camps of panoply and majesty, what is Freedom of Choice?
Where do I stand in the pageantry...whose is my voice?
It doesn't feel so very bad now: I think the end is the start.
Begin to feel very glad now:
ALL THINGS ARE A PART
ALL THINGS ARE A PART
ALL THINGS ARE A PART.
Terry Waite would have you believe that his job as a hostage in Beirut was the loneliest job in the world, as lonely as John Tracy's job monitoring all of the earth's transmissions from space, but what he's done is, he's confused being on his own, alone, lonely, with being watched over, shouted at and beaten twenty-four hours a day seven days a week by several armed men. Hardly a lonely way to spend your time. Waite would have been unable however, to understand his captor's garbled savage language and so would have had no one to talk to but his beard mites and his mute pet radiator which he kept with him throughout his ordeal, bravely protecting it from the heavy boots of the guards.
Overall, quite fucking lonely.
edit Lonely job runner-up number eight out of ten
This lady or guy is so lonely, and so far removed from human consideration, that she or he has turned irreversibly shy. It's a great job she or he does, and it certainly benefits all woman- and mankind, so we should all be thankful to her or him.
For being great without ever being known, we award...
edit Manning Thunderbird 5
Until recently many people would have had you believe that John Tracy's job manning Thunderbird 5, monitoring all video and audio transmissions from space - because obviously it couldn't be done from the earth... for some reason - was the loneliest job in the world, but it has since become apparent that there is one lonelier job, that of John's deformed brother Ian.
John Tracy was often seen between Thunderbird missions watching re-runs of Seinfeld whilst talking to, and masturbating into, a ludicrously unbalanced puppet made from one of his own socks. Reasons exist to believe that at those times he was experiencing
unclean thoughts hallucinations of either Tin-Tin (left-footed sock) or Lady Penelope (right-footed). No reasons exist for connecting the appearance of Julia Louis-Dryfus in the Seinfeld comedy show to these mad bouts.
edit Ian Tracy
The 6th of the Tracies, Ian was kept hidden from the world in a locked cupboard under the stairs, or Thunderbird 11 as he was told it was called. His job as cupboard guardian and under-stairs toilet was far and away the loneliest of all jobs up until his death in 1996 at the hands of a coke warped Brains. Brains was a well-known coke head then who could get quite nasty when mixing it with booze. He was openly contemptuous of Ian and was known to goad and taunt Ian repeatedly. Brains has since joined the Church of Mormonia and is now squeaky clean, though God will never forgive him.
Ian Tracy, winner, the loneliest job in the world.