I just want simple answers, easy to understand words ,not too long answers. I will choose the lowes bid (answer in paragaph form)
1. You are baby-sitting two children, ages six and eight. They come and tell you that they have found a baby bird and they want to keep it as a pet. What would you say to discourage them from keeping the bird?
2. Why might it be more humane to let a baby bird die rather than to bring it into the house?
3. What are some reasons people might have for wanting to make a pet out of a wild bird?
4. This article attempts to discourage people from making pets out of baby birds that have fallen from the nest. Is the article convincing? Why?
or 5. Describe an encounter you once had with a wild animal.
Baby birds have a way of tumbling out of their nests, and children have a way of finding them and bringing them home.
EVERY SPRING the ''baby bird crisis" occurs. By May many birds have hatched their first broods and are feeding them in the nest while they grow their feathers and learn to fly. Baby birds have a way of tumbling out of their nests, and children have a way of finding them and bringing them home. What should a family do if faced with this "crisis"?
First, take the baby bird back to the exact spot where it was found. Look carefully for a nest nearby. If you find the nest and it is accessible, put the bird gently back into the nest. Contrary to popular belief, the mother bird will not reject a baby that has been handled by human beings. A deer, which has a keen sense of smell and fears the human scent, will reject a fawn that has been handled, but birds are different. If you find the nest and return the baby, you have done the best you can do.
As a next-best measure, tie a small box onto a branch of a tree or shrub near where the bird was found, and put the baby bird in the box. The bird will thus be off the ground and out of the reach of neighborhood cats and dogs.
The third best thing you can do is simply to leave the bird in the exact spot where it was found. Parent birds are accustomed to having their young fall out of the nest, and they will feed them on the ground. Of course, the baby bird is more vulnerable on the ground than it is in the nest or in a box, but it still stands a better chance of surviving under its own parents' care than under human care. If the baby bird is found near a house, it is better to keep pet dogs and cats indoors than to bring the baby bird indoors in an attempt to protect it.
If the baby is truly abandoned or orphaned-something you can learn only by watching it from a distance for an hour or more-you have a decision to make. You can leave it there to die a natural death - which might, in fact, be the most humane thing to do. Or you can take it indoors. If you decide to care for it yourself, you are making a substantial commitment. And, even if you live up to your commitment, there is no guarantee that the bird will survive.
Two major problems are involved in trying to parent a baby bird. One is feeding it, and the other is preparing it for life in the wild. Parent birds do it all as a matter of course, but a human parent will have to drop other activities for a period of weeks and perhaps install a screened porch or aviary to do the job right.
Before you can even address yourself to the problem of feeding, however, you have the more immediate problem of the bird's shock and fright to contend with. Perhaps this is the time to send one member of the family for a book on the care of wild animal young, while another rigs up a heating pad or hot water bottle to warm the baby bird. One good book is Care of the Wild Feathered and Furred: A Guide to Wildlife Handling and Care (Santa Cruz: Unity Press, 1973) by Mae Hickman and Maxine Guy. Another is Ronald Rood's The Care and Feeding of Wild Pets (New York: Pocket Books, 1976). A third book that is specifically about birds is Bird Ambulance (New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1971) by Arline Thomas.
Now comes the problem of feeding. The warm milk in an eye dropper that seems to be everyone's immediate impulse when it comes to feeding animal young may be appropriate for baby mammals, but it will come as a complete surprise to the baby bird. Its parents were probably feeding it mashed worms, caterpillars, insects, and other delicious odds and ends. Therefore, you'll need to do the same. At first you should supply the baby bird with protein-rich foods. Eventually you're going to have to identify the species and learn something about its food habits in the wild if you want the bird to grow up properly. Whether the bird is a seed eater, an insect eater, or a predator will make a difference.
Parent birds feed their babies about every ten or fifteen minutes from sunrise to sunset. They also feed them exactly what they need to keep their bowels regulated and their bodies growing properly. They also keep the nest clean by removing the babies' excrement, which usually appears shortly after each feeding. In brief, between finding and preparing appropriate food, feeding, and cleaning up after meals you're not going to have much time for anything else for a while if you decide to parent a baby bird.
If you do manage to keep the young bird fed properly and growing, your next problem is providing it with enough space for it to practise flying. You cannot expect a bird to go from your kitchen to the wild with one swoop of its wings. You will need to continue feeding and protecting the bird while it is adjusting to the outdoors. If it had stayed with its parents, it would have had adult birds to follow and imitate, but, with nothing but human beings to encourage it, it will have to make sense out of its environment alone. The young bird that has been raised by humans is at a disadvantage when it comes to competing for food and avoiding the attacks of predators. So even if you do manage to raise a fledgling to adulthood, you have not guaranteed its survival in the wild.
If you think I'm trying to sound discouraging, I am. The adoption of a baby bird will probably result in failure. You might even cause a death that would not have occurred had you left the baby bird where it was. Your intentions might be good; the ethical impulse that motivates your actions might be of the best kind. But you should know that even experienced veterinarians have a low success rate in caring for wild animals.
Perhaps the most important thing a child or adult can learn from an encounter with a baby bird is the difference between wild animals and domestic pets. Whereas puppies and kittens warm to human attention and become very much a part of the family, a wild bird never will. Attempting to make a pet out of a wild animal is a serious disservice to that animal- so serious, in fact, that there are laws against it. Life in the wild does not consist of friendly humans, readily available meals, and a protected environment. Wild animals must remain wild to survive.
Rather than adopt a baby bird, why not "adopt" a whole bird family-from a distance? Chances are there is a bird's nest somewhere near your home. Or you can build birdhouses to attract birds to your yard. Learn to watch the bird family from a distance. If human beings get too close, the parent birds won't come to the nest. So practise sitting quietly, perhaps with a pair of binoculars, far enough away from the nest that the adult birds won't feel threatened.
Watching birds in the wild is a much healthier and more realistic activity than fantasizing that a bird will become your special friend because you have raised it. Unfortunately, movies, television, and children's books have created a "Bambi syndrome" in us. The young of most species are precious and adorable, but the desire to fondle and caress and make pets out of wildlings is dangerously romantic. It should not be encouraged. We'd be much wiser if we were content to be observers of wildlife. If we truly care about wild animals, we should be protectors of their wildness, which enables the best of them to survive.
Accident Up Ahead!
1. When an accident or disaster occurs, many people will panic or just stand there looking. Why do they react that way?
How does Jody Stevens react?
2. What fears and doubts does Jody have to overcome as she works? What helps her to keep going?
3. What Jody did, doctors and nurses do in hospitals almost every day. Why does she deserve to be called a hero?
4. As one of the Fortins or Jodouins, write a letter to Jody Stevens thanking her for what she did.
THE NORTHBOUND BUS had scarcely left North Bay, Ontario, when-at 1:30 a.m. on Saturday, October 11, 1975-it came to an abrupt halt. Peering out the bus window at Highway 11, Jody Stevens saw a line of taillights stretching into the night. "There must be an accident up ahead," she said to her seatmate. "I had better get out and help." Jody, a young nurse from Toronto, was on her way home to spend Thanksgiving (and celebrate her twenty-fourth birthday) with her family in Timmins. An October drizzle soaked her shoulders as she trudged past a quarter mile of stopped traffic to an eerie scene. In the flickering light of Coleman lamps and road flares, she saw the two-lane highway spattered with blood. An old school bus converted into a camper lay on its side in the ditch. A hunter's pickup truck was stalled in the left lane, the bodies of two moose lolling grotesquely from the back. Off the right shoulder was a silver Mercedes-Benz with a smashed hood. In the lane between them a silent ring of people had gathered round a fourth vehicle-a blue 1973 Ford, a crumpled wreck, with four people in it.
"I think they're all dead," a burly man told Jody.
She caught her breath and thought, Well, Stevens, what do you do now? Jody had packed a lot of experience into the two years since her graduation as a registered nurse, most recently at the Toronto East General Hospital. She threw off her corduroy coat and crawled into the back seat of the crushed car.
While Jody was riding north, twenty-six-year-old Charles Jodouin, his wife Jeanne, and her parents Omer and Lucie Fortin, were driving south from Timmins to visit Jeanne's sister in Kingston. Despite the late hour, traffic in both directions was fairly heavy. They were less than three miles out of North Bay when, suddenly, the left rear wheel spun off an oncoming converted school bus: it flew straight into the grill of a pickup truck moving south just ahead of the Jodouins. Then, out of control, the camperbus skidded across the centre line and sideswiped the Jodouins' blue Ford. A split second later a brand-new Mercedes, travelling behind the camper, also slammed into the Jodouins.
Scrambling into the wrecked blue Ford, Jody found herself in a welter of blood and splintered glass. Trapped in the driver's seat was Charles Jodouin, with the steering wheel lodged in his abdomen, and a gash between the ribs under his left armpit. Beside him, his wife lay unconscious. The lower parts of both their bodies were trapped under the dashboard. Jody could hear one faint voice. In the back seat, Lucie Fortin, deep in shock, her legs buckled under her, was conscious and talking incoherently. Beside her slumped her husband, blood streaming from a massive head wound.
Horrified, Jody summoned up the discipline and skills learned in the hothouse of the emergency department. Rapidly she determined that all four were alive by feeling their thigh arteries-more accurate than a wrist pulse. Then she decided her priorities. Jeanne Jodouin's face was badly cut, but her ears and eyes showed no signs of intercranial bleeding. Her mother appeared to have leg fractures and was verging on panic. Omer Fortin had a possible fractured skull and, Jody suspected, noticing his irregular pulse and poor facial colouring, a weak heart. Most serious of all, Jody feared that Charles Jodouin's left lung might have been pierced by broken ribs. If it collapsed and absorbed fluid, he might stop breathing.
Jody quickly organized bystanders to help. Several holidaying cottagers produced life jackets; these she used to prop up her patients' heads to keep them from choking on blood and saliva. "Has anyone got blankets?" she yelled. "Coats? Rags? I've got to pack this man's chest." A woman handed her an unopened package of disposable diapers-perfect sterile dressings! Jody burst into tears of relief.
Spreading her fingers, she packed diapers between Jodouin's bulging ribs and used a life jacket as a pressure dressing. He began to mutter-in French. Fighting time, Jody fell back on high school French and sign language. "No arreter, no arreter," she stammered. "Don't stop breathing!" Gesturing, she showed him how to use the muscles between his ribs and pull in air. With relief she saw that he understood. As Jodouin relaxed, she turned to Omer Fortin.
In the semidarkness, Jody examined his torn scalp and could see a severed vein pumping out blood. She called for something to close the wound, and gratefully grabbed an unopened package of small clamps used for stringing a catch of fish to a line. With them she sealed off the vein, then bandaged the exposed cerebral cortex with diapers.
As she worked on Fortin, Jody worried about his wife, who was now screaming loudly. Jody asked two men to put their hands through the right rear window. "Make her feel warm and secure- hold her like she was your own mother," she told them. As they hugged her, Lucie Fortin's screams subsided. If I can drain away the fear, Jody thought, theirs and mine, maybe we can pull through this.
When the Ontario Provincial Police arrived at 1:52, Jody slipped out of the car, her knees shaking. "I didn't realize then that she was a nurse," says Constable Robert Jolley. "But she sure had the situation in control. I didn't tell her what to do. I asked her what I could do to help."
The police gave Jody what she needed at this stage-confidence and elbow room. They held back the gathering crowd and urged the young nurse to carryon. As Jolley picked up her sodden coat and laid it on the back seat of his cruiser, the homely gesture reassured her. They trust me, she thought. It's gone this far; I'll see it through.
The first ambulance came wailing in from North Bay, and Jody summoned up the courage to instruct its crew. "Don't give the driver pure oxygen," she insisted. "If his lung is damaged, it could kill him. I need oxygen for my man in the back." Seizing the mask, she gave Fortin six litres-a heavier dose than the ambulance attendants were allowed to deliver-and she saw his colour improve. Then she picked up the ambulance intercom.
"Lady, I don't know who you are," the voice at the hospital replied, "but keep talking." Automatically she began her instructions with "stat," the medical signal for urgent action. "Get the operating room ready and call a surgeon and anesthesiologist. The driver may need surgery to repair his thorax. He'll need a chest X-ray, an Emerson pump to drain his chest and equipment to check his blood type. His wife is unconscious. She'll need a skull X-ray and an LV to stabilize her. The older lady is in shock. She'll need an LV, blood-typing, a monitor to watch her heart and traction in preparation for orthopedic surgery. Her husband has a possible skull fracture with massive hemorrhaging." But there would be no time to cross and type Omer Fortin's blood. So Jody instructed the hospital to prepare pack cells (frozen red blood cells that can maintain a patient for a short time, regardless of his blood type).
By now, hundreds of stalled travellers were huddled on rock outcrops beside the road. Jody glanced round quickly. No one else seemed seriously injured, but one of the passengers from the camper-bus had a flushed face. So she felt his wrist; he had a rapid, irregular heartbeat. The man, Robert Mack, had smashed his nose against a handrail as the vehicle jolted sideways. Jody asked one of the ambulance crews to take him in.
The last ambulance waited for the Jodouins, still trapped in the front seat between the buckled hood and the front doors. While firemen tried to pry a door open with hydraulic jacks, police were unsnarling the jammed traffic. Gradually, cars began weaving a one-lane path past the accident. Jody's bus rumbled through, but the police asked her to stay. Rain-soaked, shivering, aching to go home, she looked down at her shirt and jeans, spattered with the blood of her patients. "I'll stay," she said.
In the end, the Jodouins' car had to be wrenched apart by a tow truck. Charles and Jeanne Jodouin were lifted into an ambulance, and Jody rode in the police cruiser that escorted them to North Bay Civic Hospital After washing up in the police station, she accepted a constable's offer to speed her north on Highway 11 to catch up with her bus.
Her parents met her at the Timmins terminal Home at last, she stammered out her story, then shucked her blood-splattered shirt and jeans, had a hot bath and went to bed. She slept through Saturday. A week later she was still brushing glass from her hair.
The Fortins and the Jodouins went from emergency into the intensive-care unit at North Bay Civic. The doctor on duty said later: "They had significant injuries, but the initial management had been good. Orner Fortin had virtually been scalped, but the hemorrhage was controlled." Jody's earlier suspicion that he might have a heart problem was close; he suffered from high blood pressure.
Lucie Fortin had a broken hip, two broken wrists, and a displaced bone in her right shoulder. She has since had three operations. Charles Jodouin had a broken collarbone, a broken right wrist and a torn left forefinger that required twenty-four stitches, but, despite the impact of the steering wheel, no internal injuries. Jeanne Jodouin had multiple lacerations on her face and legs. Robert Mack was treated for shock and discharged.
During the three hours she spent at the accident scene, Jody had fought back her own fears. I'm young-can I handle this? she thought. If I make medical decisions I have no legal right to make, will my nursing career be over? When a policeman knocked on her door last June, she thought she was being summoned to testify about the accident. Instead, Jody was invited to a dinner to receive the Ontario Provincial Police's Commissioner's Citation, in recognition of the remarkable job she had done that rainy night on Highway 1I.
Strangely, a year after the accident, none of the injured knew her name. But the Fortins and the Jodouins knew what they owed her. "Without her help," says Orner Fortin, "it's not likely that all of us would have survived."
Visions of Tomorrow
That we'll have a world of better gimmicks is a given. Pocket-size computers you can talk to, for goodness sake.
1. Is Gregory James' view of the future pessimistic or optimistic? Explain. Do you agree with his view? Comment.
2. Why has society always "gotten a kick out of looking ahead"? Do future predictions tend to be more often optimistic or pessimistic? Why?
3. This was written in 1989. How accurate was the article in predicting the future?
4. Write a short story about what happens to you over the course of a single day in the year 2030.
Before you read, This article was written in 1989. What do you think futurists predicted our world would be like by today’s date? How successful was this writer in predicting the future?
"We used to have one major advance every twenty-five years," a drug executive says. "Now we have one every twenty,four hours."
THE RITZ HOTEL IN London has received a letter from a young man who wants to reserve a table for four at eight o'clock on December 31, 1999. The hotel has consented to the booking asking only that the fellow "reconfirm a little nearer the time."
There you are. Reservations, to say nothing of ruminations, have commenced. Still 11 years off, the year 2000 has begun to bug people. Just the other day, in a barbershop in Georgia, two men got into a row over which car would carry more cachet into the 21st century, a 1999 model or a 2000, the last of the old or the first of the new? More important, what would be the damn thing'~ capabilities? Could tomorrow's car drive itself? Levitate its way out of a jam? Perform surgery? Haven't we always expected the miraculous at this, above all, this hinge of history? Wasn't it Captain Midnight who told us so?
Society has always gotten a kick out of looking ahead. It was harmless fun, particularly in the middle, more or less comfortable period of our own century. There was a time 40 years ago when they told us ravenous hunger would be sated with a meager pill. In cartoons, they moistened a pill on a bare plate and the pill metamorphosed into a steak dinner, baked potato and broccoli on the side. (A Rutgers University microbiologist, Dr. Tom Montville, has a perfectly satisfactory explanation for the: absence of the food tablet: "We won't ever be eating our food in pills for the same reason we won't be making our babies in test tubes: Eating is fun.") By this day and age we thought we'd all be flying around with little cylinders on our backs, like scuba divers of the air. And come to think of it, wasn't there supposed to be a robot mixing the martinis along about now?
Business, on the other hand, has never found the future much of a laughing matter. A business can be solidly in the black, with all its employees securely aware of its standing, and still send a memorandum round calling for belt-tightening. That happens when business thinks it sees the future and thinks it looks parlous (consider a carbon paper company in 1960, if it's not too depressing). While most people are merely curious about the great beyond, business demands to know it, for that is good business. Ultimately, of course, business brings on the future-we're just talking technological breakthroughs here, nothing metaphysical-so it is only right that it treats the turn of the century dead seriously. If you thought the personal computer, the compact disc, and the videocassette recorder were something, business says, you ain't seen nuthin' yet. The next decade is expected to release 10 times as many innovations as the last. "We used to have one major advance every twenty-five years," a drug executive says. "Now we have one every twenty-four hours." To that, a manufacturer of electronic products adds, "If it works, it's obsolete."
That we'll have a world of better gimmicks is a given. Pocket-size computers you can talk to, for goodness sake. So-called "smart" houses that pretty much run themselves. Televisions as small as the palm of the hand, as big as the living room wall. But what of the even bigger picture? Health, say. The experts allow that they not only will be able to replace more body parts than they do now, they hope to be able to regrow some as well. And diseases? Immunologists say it should be possible to prevent insulin-dependent diabetes, multiple sclerosis, and rheumatoid arthritis by the year 2000, but a slew of other scourges will linger. Sadly, AIDS has a 50-50 chance of staying with us for years to come.
And what of that terrible exercise called war, fought over land that doesn't care and for ideas soon forgotten? While not retrenching, the superpowers at least have reached a stage of talk, talk, talk. Elsewhere lies more fragility. The Middle East, for one, remains as delicate as the ceasefire between a newly reformed smoker and the nearest open pack of cigarettes. Well, without war, writes Edward Cornish in a book called The Study of the Future, "people would argue that we had lost one of mankind's great goads to progress."
Oh yes, progress. In the middle of the 20th century, it was estimated that the pace of change was as much as 50 times greater than the average pace in previous centuries. In 1961 theologian Alvin Pitcher at the University of Chicago asked, "How much flux can man stand?" Doesn't progress, change, also beget disorientation, uncertainty, apprehension? For all the achievements to come, there is a price. It carries a buzz phrase. It is called "unintended consequence" and it streaks through the conversations of professional planners and futurists like the veins of chocolate in a bowl of fudge ripple. Would you, for instance, be in favor of an invention that is responsible for 50,000 deaths a year in the United States, as well as two million injuries, and $20 billion in property damage, and urban sprawl, and the decline of the inner cities, and the deterioration of public transportation, and a pollution that causes unknown thousands of deaths from emphysema, lung cancer and heart disease, and the conversion of thousands of acres of farmland and scenic countryside into asphalt? If not, then, should we ban the automobile?
The World Future Society in Bethesda, Md., would not, but it does not shy from using the car to make an example of technology's unintended results. "All things considered," the society says in one of its publications, "the benefits of the automobile may outweigh the costs, but the automobile shows how technology exacts heavy costs even when it provides benefits. The fears and criticisms of technology may be exaggerated, but they are not without foundation. "
Everything has a downside, futurists say: There is utopia and then there is dystopia. We have put astronauts on the moon, seen three burned alive on the pad, seen seven blown off the face of the earth. Talk about mixed blessings. Prolong the life span and you get regional overpopulation and more problems of the aged (this, too, from Cornish's book). Replace manual labor with machines and you exacerbate unemployment. To merely satisfy basic human needs could spawn worldwide rising expectations (is that really execrable?). Refrigeration and television have isolated more people than the gulag ever thought to. Gad! "If the weather in London became sunny and pleasant," one tea leaf reader wrote a few years ago, "there would be an outcry from people claiming that smog is a precious part of the city's heritage. If disease were finally eliminated, people would worry that there no longer was an acceptable way to get rid of old people."
Have we just been listening to a catastrophist, a calamatist? If so, isn't it about time to switch instruments, maestro? Then consider this: In 1969 the Secretary-General of the United Nations, U Thant, told the members they had about 10 years to clean up the world's act, otherwise, blooey! Last year the U.N. won the Nobel Peace Prize. In 1901 H.G. Wells, author of The War of the Worlds and The Time Machine, said, "I must confess that my imagination, in spite even of spurring, refuses to see any sort of submarine doing anything but suffocating its crew and floundering at sea." In 1932 American diplomat William C. Bullitt wrote to President-elect Franklin D. Roosevelt as follows: "Hilter's influence is waning so fast that the government is no longer afraid of the growth of the Nazi movement." In 1969 biophysicist John Platt said, "We may have even less than a 50-50 chance of living until 1980."
We made it anyway, and without cryogenics. Remember that fad? We were going to use a temperature of -3200 F to preserve organic matter, a la The Thing. We were going to freeze ourselves and not thaw out until we agreed with the way life was being conducted. We should have had more sense-should have taken our cue from Sir Francis Bacon, who died testing the hypothesis in 1626. He caught pneumonia while stuffing a chicken with snow.
To the future, then. In 1899 futurists were predicting the death of cities. They believed that the noise and filth would get ghastlier by the year, moreover, they believed that the horse traffic and specifically the horse droppings would choke us. The automobile, that contraption that wrought such awful change, rescued us from equine ruin. To the future.
And more time.
Weird, Odd, & Unusual Jobs
1. Make Comparisons A comparison looks at similarities among people, things, or ideas. Even though the individuals and jobs presented in this article are very different, they have several things in common. Identify three examples that some of these jobs have in common and provide eviddence to support your ideas.
2. Imagine a Dream Job If you could have any job in the world, what would it be? Describe your dream job in detail. Include your answers to the following questions:
- What are some probable benefits and drawbacks of the job?
- What would the challenges of the job be?
- Is it a high-risk or a low-risk job?
- Would you work alone or with others?
- What would others say about the way you perform your job?
- Would your job be important to society?
3. Debate an Issue Debate one side of the following resolution: "Job satisfaction is more important than job security and steady pay."
Before you read,in small groups, discuss the career you dreamed of when you were a young child and indicate whether those initial plans have changed.
As you read, decide which of the unconventional jobs profiled would suit your skills and personality best.
Charlene Rooke is an Alberta author who has published books and edited the alumni magazine for the University of Alberta. Her writing has also appeared in Realm, the Financial Post, and various Calgary magazines.
elicit: draw out
entrepreneur: person who manages a business, aiming to make a profit
tai chi: Chinese martial art using a series of stances and slow moves to achieve well-being and a meditative state
When quizzed on what they want to be when they grow up, children often cite fantastic and unusual careers that involve working with exotic animals or travelling to outer space. Few actually grow up to do such work. But there are some for whom those out-of-the-ordinary dreams do materialize into weird, odd, and unusual jobs—jobs that not only make good party conversation, but which also become the kind of careers where the rewards transcend the raised eyebrows and quizzical looks they get when explaining what they do for a living.
Take Rion White, for example. As a kid growing up in Moose Jaw, Saskatchewan, his primary fascination was with animals. As a teenager, White's interest in the outdoors and hunting led him to become a North American champion deer hunter. Then he began to take an interest in taxidermy, the art of preparing, stuffing, and mounting animal skins. Last year, at age 21, White became the youngest-ever world champion taxidermist at a competition in Illinois. His award-winning moose head featured a pedestal-style mount and a 14-inch-long, lifelike open mouth. "To win, you have to do something out of the ordinary. It's very competitive," says White, who has also worked on full-body mounts of bears, moose, and even an elephant. "Taxidermy demonstrates respect by not discarding the dead animal."
These days, White is more likely to shoot animals with a camera than with a gun, to capture how they move. He also sculpts, paints, and airbrushes—arts that White learned from master craftsmen in Iowa. White is also an entrepreneur. He mentors students at Orion Taxidermy, his four-year-old business that turns out an average of one deer head a day for local and visiting American hunters. "This is my life work, for sure."
Highrise window washer James Orford also started his out-of-the-ordinary career at a young age. At 12, he was working for his father's window-cleaning business, but these days you'll find him as high as 340 feet above ground improving the view for tenants of Vancouver's apartments and commercial highrises. Dirt, pollution, salt water, bugs, and, uh, deposits left by high-flying birds are what Orford faces daily. In the line of duty, he may also inadvertently observe building residents in all their manifestations. "You see a lot of weird stuff, bizarre things," Orford laughs.
It's enough to make you fall out of your bosun's chair—that's the contraption, suspended by two cables, that anchors Orford while he works. "Basically, it's a plywood board a bit wider than your butt," he says, with a smile. Such a free-spirited —and free-swinging—job not only gives Orford career satisfaction, but also offers a terrific, ever-changing view of the city. Sure, he says, there are some shifty moments (like 50 km/hour winds that can buffet you against the side of a building with dangerous force), but nothing fazes Orford, who says, "I've been doing this a long time."
There's something to be said for longevity in a dangerous job. Take 35-year-old Megan Evans of Calgary, who, for the last eight years, has been one of only a handful of female sword swallowers in the world. Her unusual job came along when a friend inherited a sideshow museum. Evans, an art college graduate who is a successful visual artist, quips, "Fire eating left a bad taste in my mouth." She discovered a knack for sword swallowing, which today is a lucrative sideline that takes her everywhere from private parties to a recent appearance on the Maury Povich show in New York.
Evans's well-conditioned gag reflex makes her a favourite of gastroenterologists, who can poke all manner of implements down her throat (they're no competition for her usual scissors, bayonets, and swords). Despite the dangers, Evans says her job is relaxing: "You have to do tai chi and yoga moves before swallowing the swords; it's a therapeutic thing, almost self-hypnosis."
If an unfortunate sword-swallowing accident lands you in the hospital, you might run into Dov Mickelson, an Edmonton actor who is occasionally hired to play a patient in medical school testing scenarios. In the spectrum of Mickelson's acting career, the gig falls somewhere between doing Shakespeare and the time the stocky, red-haired actor impersonated Elvis and toured a supermarket chain. "You're presenting the medical students with as real a situation as possible. I guess it's what Method acting would really be like," he says.
Several days of training go into a single day of work, during which Mickelson plays a patient for several medical students. "There's a lot on the line for the students. It's very challenging.
It's just you and them, one on one." A physician observes and grades the student—but not the actor. There's no applause or audience feedback, but the work has a different kind of intensity and reward, Mickelson says. It has also had a side effect: "When I go to a doctor, I'm so clear in how I describe my symptoms. It's made me a better patient," he laughs.
While Mickelson focuses on understanding the symptoms of a medical patient, Kristin Tillquist is busy deciphering her true calling, which sounds suspiciously like a dog barking. Three years ago, the 29-year-old Vancouver lawyer became Canada's only pet lawyer. No, she's not placing Fido on the stand, but litigating and negotiating the complex world of contracts, torts, and laws relating to animal bites, purebred breeders, and landlord-tenant disputes surrounding pets.
Tillquist heard about successful American dog lawyers and realized that pet law would fill a niche in the Canadian legal community. "It's not creating a new area, but consolidating this area of the law," explains Tillquist, who says pet law cases were previously scattered among lawyers with various levels of expertise in the area. Her love of animals had something to do with her choice but, she says, "As any lawyer will tell you, if you are emotionally or personally involved, you won't do as good a job." She sits on the Animal Welfare Committee of the Vancouver Regional Branch of the SPCA and says, "I am very much an advocate for animals in my personal life."
For Lisa Rochford, personal life and work are intimately intertwined. The 33-year-old is away from her London, Ontario, home for as much as six months of the year. But her plight certainly doesn't elicit much sympathy, considering her full-time job with Carlar Hospitality Consultants involves staying in luxury hotels around the world and evaluating their service, performance, and facilities. "One of the most important aspects of the job is the ability to notice details," says Rochford, who has a background in hospitality and public relations. "From the moment you enter the hotel to the moment you leave, you're working," she adds, explaining that 18-hour days are the norm. It may sound glamorous, but Rochford says you have to love meeting new people, spending a lot of time alone and, of course, travelling. "It's an incredible opportunity to see the world."
To be of service to humanity is the life goal of Unity Schooley. The 27-year-old recently moved from Nelson, British Columbia, to Vancouver to pursue his goal of bringing joy to kids of all ages with his artistic balloon creations. "Adults are little kids, too," he says. "They need balloons more than kids do. It's good therapy."
Schooley was sitting on a park bench one day, dreaming of a career where customers would come to him; he looked across the park and there was a balloon man, surrounded by fans. After months of practice, Schooley has become a top balloon artist and a regular fixture at Granville Island Market in his rainbow-coloured apron. Schooley can create a life-size, jiggly-eyed Elmo out of a handful of 260s (the trade name for the long, skinny animal balloons) in a few minutes of well-practised puffs, twists, and ties. His work requires good memory, a sense of artistic balance and symmetry, and the endurance to perform all day. "Kids can be pretty demanding," he says.
Perhaps it's an unusual career, but the looks on the faces of the kids in the crowd make it worthwhile. Plus, admits Schooley, who changed his first name to Unity on his last birthday, "I guess I'm a little unusual myself." In that statement, he sums up what all these people know: If you love your job and it suits you, that's the most unique combination of all.
|Due By (Pacific Time)||05/07/2014 12:00 am|
out of 1971 reviews
out of 766 reviews
out of 1164 reviews
out of 721 reviews
out of 1600 reviews
out of 770 reviews
out of 766 reviews
out of 680 reviews