Some people have a gap in their fear-circuit board that allows them to experience scary heights without the paralyzing anxiety that most people feel. These super humans are able to do cool stuff like climb mountains — which is no doubt cool, though for most people it’s an activity that won’t pay the bills.
Thankfully, there are some ways to profit off your lack of fear. Not having a fear of heights is a special talent that should be exploited for material gain! There are plenty of professions out there that most people are loath to perform because of their holy-shit-this-is-scary nature.
I used to work in a tall office building in downtown Seattle. The view from my office’s floor was spectacular. Once during my first week, I turned around and — Jesus! — a bored looking man stared back at me from outside the window. After a quick wash and squeegee, the window washer continued on his way down the rest of the 70 stories.
Since then, I’ve harbored a secret ambition to become a window washer, one of the noblest of working class professions. The safety equipment has been pretty much perfected by now, I’m thinking. Although stuff like this dampens my confidence:
For years in Kerala, in southern India where the majority of coconuts are harvested, young men with no fear of heights have climbed the 30 or 40 foot palm trees to pick coconuts. These days, however, there’s been a shortage of coconut pickers — apparently the profession’s low wages aren’t worth its exorbitant risks. Lately, they’ve been training monkeys to pick up the slack:
John Chapman, the historical Johnny Appleseed, was an arborist. So you know it’s pretty cool.
The people who climb trees to cut, prune and maintain them are usually called arborists (or colloquially, tree surgeons.) No one who is afraid of heights should attempt this job.
Wind Mill Maintenance Technician
This is the perfect job for the climbers who are also into renewable energy. All those giant windmills that increasingly dot our the world’s landscape need maintenance — and many of them are over 150 feet tall. You need to be good with a rope and OK with heights.
Giant Pole Climber
Or whatever you’d call this job:
My favorite part was when they didn’t fall and have an agonizing minute to think about what it will feel like to turn into a Jackson Pollack painting on the ground below.