Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Let's Talk About Something Fishy

I think when it comes to jobs, I've had one of the least glamorous jobs out there.  Of course my mom would say there are worse jobs such as picking fly-poo out of pepper for five cents an hour. And according to the Monty Python movie you should 'Always look on the bright side of life'.
            I became a mom shortly after my 22nd birthday and before I could venture back into the working world I was a three-time mom and my youngest son was diagnosed with autism.  That’s when we knew I’d be a stay at home mom indefinitely.

            So my life in the working world was short-lived, as was my college life.  As a result I have no degree under my belt, at least not as far as college or university degrees go.  However, I do have a few degrees in life smarts.  When are they going to start handing out degrees in that?

            I can see it now: this certifies that Rhoda Hill has successfully completed the six year challenge of surviving on three hours of sleep every night for six continuous years.  I’ll put that certificate on the wall right next to my highest honours plaque for surviving said years without acquiring any jail time.

            Thankfully those who do have degrees helped me with that and my sleepless nights only amount to a small handful in the run of a year.  Most of my all-nighters now are due to an overwhelming desire to hush the voices in my head that demand I tell their story.

            I was going to try to find the most glamorous way to tell you this, but there really is no way to glam it up.  Like a lot of people who live in my area where fishing is one of the principle industries, I was a herring roe packer.
            There really is nothing ‘sexy’ about that job.  You wear a hairnet, latex rubber gloves, and a long plastic apron that goes all the way down to the tops of your rubber boots.  Your main tool of the trade is a herring roe knife.  No need for briefcases or pretty suits here, instead you chose clothes you wouldn’t be caught dead in and will never wear again outside of the job.
            I write mostly intrigue and suspense romance, and I’m of the mind that although at first thought the idea of a romance novel within the walls of a fish plant factory does not sound appealing at all, I bet there is someway to work it out.  Just imagine if you will, a female undercover detective who becomes a herring roe packer so she can get close to the rich handsome boss, whom they suspect is going over his ITQ (individual transferable quota).  Or perhaps there is something more nefarious going on like a few suspicious deaths on several of the company’s boats and she’s sent in to investigate.  Or maybe she’s with a group of people fighting to stop food distribution to other parts of the world in an effort to help save water.  She’s determined to keep the natural water cycle as natural as possible by confining resources to their local regions, and she’s targeting the biggest production plant to try and stop distribution to Japan and the Dominican Republic.

            Probably far fetched and not very entertaining, but doable, right?  In the right hands I bet a stinky fish plant could become the backdrop for a steaming romance.  Or maybe not.

I remember reading a book once, (I think it was by Janelle Taylor although the title escapes me) and the hero in the book was standing in the doorway all dirty and stinky from working all day and he had huge sweat spots under his arms and yet to hear her tell it he was the most delectable piece of prime meat she’d ever had the privilege to set eyes upon.  And she had me completely convinced!  My breath was hitching in the appropriate spots, and I was a little hot around the collar.
            A herring roe packer was just one of the ways I earned money in my younger days.  Don’t even get me started on my job in the mink industry.  The smell is bad enough to aggravate the lining of your nose and leave you with temporary loss of smell.

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  1. So nice to see you blogging. It is amazing how many ideas there are out there, from hearing roe packer to God knows what. To bad, as writers, we can't get Hollywood to stop just grinding out reruns & reruns with a twist. No wonder people are board with the movies.
    Seriously though, the way you juggle family, a job, a husband and writing has been inspirational to me in every sense of the word.

  2. Rhoda, after reading your experiences as a herring roe packer and then on a mink farm, my days as a grocery clerk don't seem so bad. :)