When I was younger I worked at an antique furniture repair place for a week. I actually liked the work. I got to take something old and try to fix it up into something closer to what it was originally before the years of abuse and neglect. But I had to quit after only a week. Why? The sound of sanding, the gentle swoosh-swoosh, or even the more frantic swooshswooshswooshswooshswoosh drove me insane!! The owner would come down into the work area and the first thing he did was turn the radio off. Even if he had nothing to say to us or only came down to grab a tool and head immediately back up to his office the radio would be shut off. And when he did it never went back on for the rest of the day. I asked my coworkers why but I never got an a real answer, that was just the way it was and none of them ever questioned it. What I also found odd was he never said he didn’t want the radio on, or it was wasting too much electricity, he never said anything. He would just walk by, click, and leave. So all I would hear for the rest of the day was the doldrum, insanity inducing sound of sanding. Swoosh-swoosh. Swoosh-swoosh. Swoosh-swoosh. A couple days later I had to quit.


Now when I think back I realize I may have stayed in that line of work had it not been for the fact I couldn’t listen to the radio for that week. When you do a job where more skill is used than hard thinking, or you’re doing a job you’re so good at you can do it without thinking about it, I think it helps to have something to make the  job less monotonous. Anyway, I came upon this picture today which got me thinking about that old furniture job.


This guy’s job is Reader. This is a photo taken inside a cigar making factory in Tampa, Florida in 1909 and his job is essentially to be the radio. He would sit up on his chair and read either newspaper articles or from books for as long as the workers, who chipped in to pay him, could afford each day. Did you know such a job even existed? I didn’t. But now we do. Now, what’s in those round bottomed buckets?