A Horror Story About How I Screwed-up My "Dream Job": Being a Tour Guide
This tour guide lives in his own fantasy world.
Writer’s note: Okay, sue me. I had to make a tough decision. Either use my original title: “How Not to Work as a Tour Guide,” or use the one that worked: “A Horror Story: How I Screwed-Up My ‘Dream job’ of Being an Island Tour Guide.” So sit back, settle down and enjoy. Kenneth).
There was an old saying that was popular in my younger days that went something like this: “There’s a right way. A wrong way. And the Army way.” My dad who served in the Army, loved to quote this to me as he was (trying his best) to teach me the values of life and the wisest ways to accomplish what I was doing at the time.
This timeframe was when I was fifteen. It took me thirty years to realize that my dad was absolutely right. Okay, so I am a slow-learner. I try hard to not to be this way, but I think that this is a “warfare” within my spirit—learn one day, fail the next. It’s always a tug-of-attitudes when it comes to me learning something new.
"Just look at that big building."
So is being a tour guide "the" easiest job or not?
For argument’s sake, let’s say that working as a tour guide in our opinion, was “the” easiest occupation on earth. The qualifications are not that strict. It doesn’t require a Ph.d or Master’s Degree in rocks to be an accomplished tour guide. This much I do know about this coveted-job.
And one day a big, shiny Lexus rolls up in my driveway. I look out my living room window and feel an instant-surge of excitement. Not at seeing the big shiny Lexus, but at the thought of, “What is this gorgeous woman doing in my driveway?”
My hands shake like new Jell-O as I open the door. My God, she is gorgeous, I think to myself. She simply smiles at me while holding a manila folder very precariously. Even this makes me more enraptured with curiosity. Now my tongue is thick and my throat is drier than the Sahara. I think for a moment she has the wrong house.
The perfect tour guide: Positive, happy, upbeat.
This was what "I" was to wear at my job.
Enter the lovely, mysterious "Jezelle."
“I am looking for “a” Kenneth Avery,” she softly coos batting her eyelashes.
“Well, uhhh, (gulp), (choke), I am it, errr, I mean, he,” I reply with my legs going to jelly.
“I have been sent here to offer you the ‘job of a lifetime,’ are you interested?” she explains standing like one of the pretty models on The Price is Right.
After she gets halfway through her presentation, I accept this “dream job,” of being a tour guide on an island in the South Pacific—the ultimate paradise for a tour guide. Clean, blue waters, luscious fruit hangs thick from the trees, and beautiful island girls who will work for me as “I” assume the role of Chief Tour Guide to help the flood of tourists who visit this island “dream location,” for their vacation.
But as in all things that “appear” good, ‘Jezelle,’ the pretty liason from the State Dept. explains that I will have to attend Rutgers University for ten weeks of extensive tour guide orientation, training which includes self-defense, mastering all types of computer programs, and learning at least four foreign languages.
This outdoorsy tour guide (right), teaches men how to correctly hold fish.
"Where did our tour guide go?"
Tour guides can generate romance between couples.
'Jezelle" obviously didn't know a thing about honesty.
I remember what I call the “last words of a fool,” “No sweat, ‘Jezelle,’ when do I start?” I said like a hungry dog having a juicy New York Strip dangled in front of his mouth.
Long story short. I manage to endure the ten-week tour guide training course. I do not make any friends at Rutgers University for they are all upper-crust students who shun rednecks like myself, but I do not mind. I am getting a hefty weekly-paycheck according to “Jezelle,’ who says that my hefty paycheck will be tax-free and more money that I have ever seen. I remember thinking, “how on earth can a woman this pretty be able to tell anyone a lie?”
My two-passenger, outdated Cessena lands. My pilot laughs as sweat starts rolling down my face. He can laugh for he is leaving after I depart from his jalopy held together by duct tape.
Another long story short. I have no staff of gorgeous island girls as I was promised. The stacks of daily paperwork I have to file, without any secretarial help, would choke a starving rhino.
My office is dirty, smelly, and my office chair is one wheel short. I do have a working telephone—the older model that fits on the wall and I have to crank it to get the island operator who gives me a series of complex numbered codes that change every day, but I need to tell her these codes in order to use the phone. “A Defense Department idea to keep down terrorists from eavesdropping,” the elderly-sounding operator explains between snores.
Before I can get settled, four huge tour busses roll-up in front of my office and hordes of tourists start piling out in the fashion of the colonies of Army ants that I have watched on the National Geographic Channel.
"A picture of a rock? Our tour guide said this was a valuable souvenir."
The "Tour of Horror" begins
They form a bellowing, bellyaching crowd of all aged people of all color, ethnic backgrounds and tongues, all wanting me to take them on a tour of this pretty island and they all hold-up a colorful pamphlet they were mailed by some travel agency back in the states.
I panic. I pray to God to die right then and there. I am not used to this type of work. It is far from easy and certainly not what “Jezelle,” the gorgeous con-artist promised me. I lock myself in my own office and cry like a new bride on her wedding night.
“Oh, my God,” I manage to say. “I cannot get fired from this job for I would not get paid all of the great money I have coming to me,” I say hoping to talk myself into doing a good job.
Then the words of my dad ring in my mind: “There’s a right way. A wrong way. And the Army way.” I get confused trying to understand what this old saying has to do with my current dilemma.
Then it hits me. I need to do my best to satisfy these eager tourists. I will just relax and treat them like friends. That’s it. I can do this. I am not scared anymore.
But the following is “the meat” of my story entitled,
“A Horror Story: How I Screwed Up a Dream Job of Being a Tour Guide”:
What? Another happy tour guide?
Have you ever had a tour guide as bad as "I" was in this story?
Being a tour guide, I am sure, is no picnic, but it is a job. A very hard job if you are trapped with hard-to-please tourists as "I" was in this story.
So if you do not mind, may I leave you with a few serious pieces of advice on how you can help your next tour guide when you are on your annual vacation:
- Be as quiet as possible because the tour guide has to deliver his or hear information about the place you are touring by memory.
- Do not cause problems for the tour group or tour guide by laughing too loudly, telling jokes and diverting the crowd's attention away from the hard-working tour guide.
- Listen intently to the tour guide's every word as they explain the various sites of interest on the tour.
- Do not bring alcohol in any form on this tour.
- Be courteous to other tourists and children.
- When the tour is over, tell your tour guide what a great job they did for sometimes just a few kind words will make a person's day.
"Hi, my name is, "Jezelle." May I interest you in a job being a tour guide?"
Dear reader, please liked this hub. I worked on this for around four hours.
The tour starts out smoothly. I smile, laugh with the tourists who are mostly from the United States and a married couple from Italy to round-out the tour group. But when I try to speak Italian, one of the foreign languages I was required to learn at Rutgers University, I end up offending the Italian couple when I call them, “Two filthy biting pigs.” Then the Italian husband hits me over the head with a coconut.
I manage to not pass out from the coconut assault. I stop at our first tourist site, a newly-discovered piece of wood allegedly from Black Beard, the pirate’s ship. The tourists are in awe of this piece of wood. Then as I am pointing out the holes in the wood, I accidentally cause a sharp wood splinter to stick into the face of an elderly man from Texas who recently retired. He had to be flown by helicopter to the nearest emergency room and given shots to kill the staph infection.
Moving on down the tour route. I hear the feint sound of animals at play. I stop the tour group in hopes that they will laugh as the animals come closer to us. But I am wrong. It is a gang of vicious, hungry wild boars that are indigenous to this island. Two people from Maine are bitten in the shins as we all run for our lives. Fortunately, the wild boars catch the scent of someone cooking hamburgers in a nearby campground. But I convince the tourists that “I” saved their lives. The Italian couple flip me off.
It’s break time and we all sit down for some rest in the shade of a huge palm tree. There is hardly any talking. I feel it’s time for me to get to know my first tourists on my new job. I notice that as I explain that today is my first day on the job, all of the tourists’ eyes are wide and glued to the tree trunk behind me. Then the ladies in the group start screaming sending panic throughout the rest of the group. I try to calm them down, but it’s tough to do this while chasing them with a huge Python wrapped around my waist.
Thanks to this fiasco, three of the tourists faint and have to be air-lifted out to a hospital. I hear a man in the tour group who are now a great distance ahead of me threaten to report me to my bosses back at the travel agency.
Lunch time. I look at the tourists and ask, “What did you bring to eat?” I made another huge mistake. I thought that my employees handbook said that all tourists are required to bring their own food. I end up picking mango’s and telling the tourists who are now sunburned and pale, that mango’s are not poison. One smart alec man, “Ike,” from Denver, says he will sue me when or “if” he survives this tour.
It seems like to me, that this tour has taken an extra-long time to conduct. It has. I have gotten us all lost, but I choose to not tell the tourists in fear that I would be mauled to death by walking canes and alligator purses, so we continue.
It is now early evening. No one realizes that we are now on a part of the island that I wasn’t shown on the tour guide map. “How about an old-fashioned beach cook-out?” I ask hoping that God will show mercy and let the tourist agree.
What was I thinking? The beach cook-out was a total disaster. The clams gave three people food poisoning, and one man’s shoes caught fire from the huge bonfire. I ended-up carrying him on my back for the remainder of the night-time tour.
Daylight came as we returned to my office with the help of an island dweller who was educated at Mississippi State University and talked better English than I ever did. “Po-Pye,” the island dweller told me, between laughing at me, that a big man was in my office and wanted to see me.
There was a big man in my office: Secretary of State, John Kerry, who did not have any diplomatic words for how I handled my first tour on this island that he said was “key” in foreign relations with the peoples from Guam and other outlying island areas.
Kerry, who is known for his public relations skills, turned without shaking hands with me. This was seemingly very strange of him I thought.
“Mr. Secretary,” I said. “Am I fired?”
Mr. Kerry looked at me with a stern look and said, “Didn’t you dad teach you anything?”
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