Career Awareness Filmstrip: City Workers!
Ah, filmstrips! I can't get enough of them. I've got a couple boxes of them lying around. Many are rather boring. I already know my colors, thank you...and 40-year-old film tends to have color shifted enough that the seafoam-green apple with the word RED written across it appears as though it were designed as a mean trick on kindergarteners.

As you've seen in the past, my appreciation of filmstrips goes far, far back, but this time we'll only go as far as the 1970s. Ready, all set? I'll feed the film into the projector -- would the kid in the back row please hit the light switch, please? Let's get started!

OK, I'll focus here, let's.....

....uh oh. Start the sound?!? I don't have a tape for this. Never mind, I'll make due. I have the teacher's guide! It says the vocabulary words for this strip are asphalt, boiler, brush, clean, concrete, foreman, grass, patch, polish, sign, steam, and trim. I can come up with a narration that'll kick the butt of anything that the 1970s could throw at me!

You may be wondering what kind of filmstrip would have such a classy bunch of vocabulary words. See, students, today's filmstrip is from the Career Awareness series. You're all about to be thrust into the working world, and I'm here, guided by my teacher's manual, to teach you about what lies ahead. Sure, I passed on the Fireman, Policeman, and Park Ranger filmstrips for you all. Judging from the grades I've seen, you're all well on your way towards a career as...

A city worker!

Now, before you get too excited, remember that the police and fire department got their own filmstrips, so you'll not be seeing the likes of those exciting careers here.

The Municipal Building is your destination when starting your workday. You've got a job, so none of that walking-to-work mamby-pamby crap; you've got a '69 Ford LTD to drive! No matter what year it is, 1975 or 2005, you can't go wrong driving a '69 LTD. They demand respect on the road. Sure, the radiator might steam once in a while, but you know better than to let it idle that long!

While I'm sure most municipal buildings do not allow alcohol, I'm sure this woman has a perfectly good reason to have a keg on her cart. I'll bet she has to sign a release or something to allow drinking on the job -- and how drunk she must get with a keg all to herself! -- but even city employees are allowed to have a good time. With that broom, she must be a curling instructor: all good towns have their own curling instructor. IF you'd ever seen the game played, you'd understand why she'd have to turn to drink.

Good 'ol Clyde, here, is one of the happy residents of the Municipal Building. The world doesn't sleep, and neither does Clyde. This Polish maintenance man spends day and night in the utility room, making sure nothing breaks and releases anything dangerous into our dimension. The actual mechanics of Clyde's unholy machines are completely unknown to all, save Clyde himself. Without Clyde, who knows what terrors might be unleashed upon the municipality. God speed, Clyde!

Those holes in the road don't make themselves! Well, some do -- we call them potholes -- and it's these guys' jobs to fill those in. Unless they're busy making new holes. The city puts everything undergound, you know? It keeps the dogs from peeing on the telephone cables, I suspect.

Holes, holes, holes -- I can't tell if these guys are making a new hole, or filling in an old one. Either way, our government is making sure that holes go where holes belong. I once heard that the city issues a shovel to all new employees, even the traffic court ladies. Digging is an important part of our heritage.

The most well-travelled ambassador of the Municipal Building is the friendly neighborhood garbage collector! Nowadays, they prefer to be called "sanitation engineers," even though they don't actually drive a train. As a garbageman -- or 'garbagette,' as the females like to be called, you'll meet all kinds of exciting residents of our town -- simply by seeing what they throw away. The added advantage is that you can keep anything that strikes your fancy!

If you're don't have the fine motor skills to handle the trash curbside, you're not out of luck. Once the garbage trucks get to the city dump, someone has to bury it. Only by burying the styrofoam, PVC, and soda cans will it truly go away and stop being a nuisance to society. Plus, you get to crush things! The dump is the coolest place. I once found an entire set of Dragonlance books there. Once they dried out, they were perfectly fine, as long as I remembered that I don't read with my nose!

The police keep criminals out of the public eye, firemen keep fire out of the public's way...and the municipal workers keep nature at bay. These trees sprung up without warning, prompting a fearful homeowner to immediately call the city government. These workers risked life and limb to save the resident's small patch of grass and keep the streets safe for bush-fearing citizens everywhere.

For years, automobilists had been making a sudden left turn at this spot, careening across the high school football field and crashing into the nursery-school playground. Thanks to the selfless city workers, signs are erected quickly -- as soon as ratified by a majority of city councilpeople at the monthly council meeting, but not until after brought to the council's attention and approved by the city engineer (who, too, does not actually drive a train) -- in order to prevent tragedy from striking unsuspected football fields.

Quick quiz: who's the city employee in this photo? Answer: the guy with the clipboard! City workers are just as likely to be found holding a clipboard as they are a shovel. Gary (left) is questioning Uri (right) about his illegally purchased high-flow toilet, seen on the far left of the photo. If Uri can't produce documentation for the unapproved toilet, it's off to jail he goes!

...and then it's back to the holes again! What you don't realize is that much of the city's worries exist ten feet below everyone's...feet. Feet under the feet, there's lots of pipes and wires and stuff, and that's the real city, just like where Denis Leary lived in Demolition Man. You might note that, in that movie, you never saw any city workers except police. This is why the city-beneath-the-city got so out of control: without city workers digging things up and fixing them, a dystopia is bound to grow unchecked.

At the end of the day, after digging up asphalt and pavement, you hang up your shovel and clipboard back at the Municipal Building, hop onto the duct-tape-repaired front seat of your Ford LTD, and head home to mix yourself a boilermaker, turn on That 70's Show, and watch Mr. Foreman call his son an asshat. So, trim that hair, hippie, the government is calling. No job is greater than one serving the public, and we've seen some of the easiest ways to get involved in the community. Whether you crush garbage under the treads of your earth-mover, or you're Clyde, guarding the city from the terror hidden deep within the Municipal Building's bowels, a lifetime career as a city worker is waiting for you!

So, class, any questions? I didn't think so. Even though I had no idea what the original narration was, I think I did alright, and the blank looks upon everybody's face must mean I was plenty thorough enough. It's my love of fimlstrips: I'm at one with the films, even if they're new to me. It's in my blood.

Article by Derek

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