Weird Jobs: Guard Save the Queen!

February 21st, 2006 by Larry Smith

larrydoeslondon.jpgI just got back from an assignment in Scotland and had the supreme pleasure of popping in on a couple of blokes living in London on the way there. My old pal Nigel was kind enough to give me a four-hour tour of the city and took this photo of me and member of the Horse Guard’s Parade. This fellow is what’s know as a “Lifeguard,” as his duties specifically involve protecting the Queen. In reality, what he does all day is pose for pictures with camera-toting tourists like myself.

One of our favorite subjects to explore here at SMITH is weird jobs. (Weird in the most macro sense of the word—odd or unusual or rarified—not simply freaky, like our pal the cow ob-gyn). And as I walked up to my new friend across the pond here I thought: what’s it like to be him? Problem is these guys aren’t talking. They just stand there silent and stoic, specifically told not to speak. I was determined to crack one of them. The first young man I approached wouldn’t budge, but his pal across the way (look at him—could the lad even be 20?) mumbled answers to a few questions from the corner of his mouth, all while staring straight ahead. This, friends, just might be a world exclusive.

SMITH: How long have you been a guard?
GUARD: Two years.
SMITH: Do you ever get bored?
SMITH: What did you do before this?
GUARD: Snowboard instructor.
[end of interview]

At that point I wasn’t sure if he was in fact messin’ with me. I mean: from snowboard instructor to guard? Maybe he just needed the ultimate change of pace. Who can say? Whatever the story, my hat’s off to a weird job well done.

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