Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Seven reasons to not become a park ranger

Nearly every time I am introduced to someone as a park ranger, I inevitably hear something like, “Oh, I always wanted to be a park ranger.” It seems everyone has a romantic view of what it would be like to be a park ranger. Sure there are a lot of great things about being a park ranger, but it’s not all about getting paid to play in the outdoors.

Here are a few things that may make you think twice about choosing a ranger career:

1. It’s not sunny everyday.
Everyone thinks it would be great to have a job working outdoors when it is 78 degrees and sunny. How would you like to be riding a bike wearing a bulletproof vest when it is 95 degrees? How about digging a ditch while standing in six inches of mud while the sky unloads a torrent of rain? Have you ever tried to thaw a frozen pipe when it’s ten below zero? Guess who has to work outside no mater what the weather is: the park ranger.

2. Stuff is expensive.
They say park rangers are paid with sunsets. The problem is that food, rent, utilities, car payments, clothing, diapers…all that stuff costs money. Guess who is always struggling to pay the bills: the park ranger.

3. Your family and friends get weekends off
Your family and friends, like the rest of society, work and go to school Monday through Friday. People come to the park when they are not working. That means that the park is busy on nights, weekends and holidays. Guess who has to work when their family and friends don’t: the park ranger.

4. People are pigs.
People leave fast food wrappers in the parking lot, build campfires in pristine wilderness, tangle fishing line in the trees, throw beer bottles down the outhouse, puke in the sink, pee on the floor and crap on the toilet seat. Guess whose job it is to clean it all up: the park ranger.

5. Drunk people are not funny.
People have a couple of beers (at least that’s how much they always say they have had) and think that everything they do is hilarious. Peeing in a trash can instead of walking 50 feet to the bathroom is not funny. Raiding you neighbor’s cooler is not funny. Building an 8 foot tall bonfire is not funny. Asking if you can wear the park ranger’s hat is not funny. Guess whose job it is to tell them that they are not funny: the park ranger.

6. People don’t have any common courtesy.
People just don’t seem to care anymore how their actions impact others. They let their dog off leash so he can jump up on strangers to greet them with his muddy feet and snapping jaws. They play their favorite songs so loud that you can hear the thundering bass vibrate your fillings from a quarter mile away. They burn their garbage in their campfire so that downwind campsites can enjoy the scent of melting plastic and charred hotdogs. Guess who has to give them a lecture on proper manners: the park ranger.

7. Dirtbags go on vacation too.
Criminals seem to enjoy visiting the parks just as much as us regular folks. In fact some, prefer hanging out in parks because they aren’t hassled by the cops as much. Guess who has to deal with these criminals without a partner and with the nearest backup 30 minutes out: the park ranger.


Fallen Timbers said...

My husband was a Ranger for 30 years, hence:
We were married for 15 years before we got to spend a Christmas morning together.
We had Thanksgiving at our house, so he could dash in from work to eat before going back out to find people who came out to walk off turkey dinner and ended up lost for hours.
And one of his favorites was the woman who was talking to Tom on Father's Day and said her husband always wanted to be a Ranger--Tom said, "Where is he now?" She: "He's over there with our kids." Tom: "So. He's enjoying father's day with his kids while I'm at work. Does he really want to be a Ranger?"
And one of my friends said to me,"Well it isn't like Tom is a real cop." And I said, "Then why do they make him wear a real, loaded gun?"

Anonymous said...