WEbooker of the WEek's Crappiest Job is for the Birds06:12
Those poor folks from "The Office" seem to have it pretty bad, selling paper while suffering the blundering antics of Michael Scott. But they've got nothing on WEbooker of the WEek Breagadoir, who as a wee lad in Ireland in the '60s and '70s spent his days with his brothers "preparing" turkeys for market.
The toughest task was not decapitating the birds, a misstep that would cost Breagadoir 50 pence -- and some blood on his face. But a job well-done came with benefits. "We were highly in demand from all the turkey-rearing farmers around," Breagadoir explains. "We made the necessary cash to buy our meager Christmas presents and go to the cinema once or twice."
For more details on prepping turkeys, read Breagadoir's "Turkey Plucking and Massacres" in 101 Crappies Jobs Ever (And How We Survived Them). Got a story about your worst gig? Add it to the collection.
Naturally, Breagadoir's stint with the turkeys led to a career...teaching English in Paris? From then to now his jobs always have inspired his writing. His favorite WEbook project is French/Francais, a not-too-serious guidebook of French language and culture.
We caught up with Monsieur Breagadoir to ask him some not-too-serious questions.
How did you go from turkey farming to teaching English?
Bizarrely, I studied Marketing at college in Ireland but have somehow ended up being a teacher of English
as a foreign language since 1984. On continental Europe it is as essential to be able to speak English as it is to have a driver's license, or to be able to read and write (and this is not an exaggeration). So it was a relatively easy solution for a native English speaking job seeker to get taken on by these schools. They tend not to be very discerning about qualifications, which was just as well in my case I can tell you.
Give us an essential piece of knowledge for someone visiting France?
Cafe au lait. This is coffee with lots of frothy milk, popular in the morning but beware: ordering this beverage after an evening meal is considered barbarian. And if you really want to impress the grumpy waitress at the brasserie, you shouldn't ask for a cafe au lait. You should just say, "Un grand creme, s'il vous plait."
Sting wrote a song about being an Englishman in New York. What's it like being an Irishman in Paris?
The French don't have any preconceived notions about the Irish. People who speak English as their native tongue are referred to as "Les Anglo-Saxons," and the French don't really make much of a distinction between the nations.
Do you miss the turkeys?
God no! I certainly don't miss disposing of them. But I still enjoy my Christmas and Thanksgiving dinner as much as ever. I never lost my appetite for delicious roast turkey.
Breagadoir has published several novels -- all in his head -- including "In Your Dreams" and "Get Real!" When asked if he wanted to be WEbooker of the WEek, he said: "You mean, I get to shamelessly talk about myself. Have I died and gone to heaven?" Almost: a free WEbook t-shirt is in on its way to Paris.
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- William (TsungChi)