Superheroes in the real world

Today at work we got a spreadsheet with a list of all the job types and codes that insurance companies use to put YOU (yes, you) and me into neat little boxes. There are a lot of different jobs, thousands of them (which gives us a small headache how to show it in the software we’re building).

However, the bit that intrigued me was the number of super heroes fallen on hard times, now reduced to being nothing more than a line in a database. Here are just some of the fallen heroes that we hear of little nowadays:

  • Barrelman – unfortunately confined to bed; too heavy to fly
  • Belt Patrol Man – gave up after the Wide Fashion Belt Incident
  • Bread Roundsman – whatever happened to him? Round bread is sometimes sorely needed
  • Carbonation Man – I think Coke put him out of business
  • Cathead Man – scared the children
  • Digesterman – he had limited skills, admittedly, but was a lovely bloke. Sadly died last year of as stomach infection.
  • Donkeyman – last seen on Scarborough beach
  • Exhausterman – catalytic converters did this guy in
  • Fanman – celebrity shows banned him after reports of obsessive behaviour
  • Flaking Millman – no-one ever really knew what he was for
  • Grinderman – still working in a steel factory in Sheffield, I believe
  • Hoseman – the police got entirely the wrong end of the stick and banned him from being within 3 miles of anyone else
  • Lampman – electricity, what else can I say
  • Lengthman – see Hoseman
  • Milk Roundsman – did a fantastic job in the early days of square-only milk, but hasn’t been seen in ages
  • Mud Man – a regular at Glastonbury Festival, but otherwise retired
  • Plateman – again, another vital role gone unfulfilled
  • Potman – not to be confused with his cousin Postman
  • Poultryman – can be seen at funfairs occasionally, but really only pecking at a decent living
  • Property Man – did very well in his investments and retired to the Caymans
  • Purifier Man – was superseded by younger, more efficient models
  • Pusherman – still in Wakefield jail, I think
  • Road Lengthsman – was measuring the track on Beachy Head, he turned left instead of right. So sad.
  • Ropeman – an unfortunate incident meant we were never able to get him untangled
  • Screwman – working at Wickes, I think
  • Secondman – was never considered for the top job, so quit
  • Seed Tank Man – not really sure what he does
  • Sewerman – a vital but unseen job done by a very dedicated superhero
  • Special Effects Man – still going strong, but doe to be replaced soon by Andy Serkis
  • Stockman – couldn’t compete with Bisto
  • Tamperman – tampered once too often with a socket
  • Tic Tac Man – hanging in there, but with so many other choices he’s finding it difficult
  • Timberman – got into movies, but was considered a very wooden actor
  • Trenchman – got himself into a rut
  • Vatman – doing very well for himself working for the government, I hear
  • Water Infusion Man – the growing popularity of flavoured spring water came just too late for this poor soul

Let us all have a moments silence to think of the Superheroes who have, through no fault of their own, fallen foul of legislation (the "No low-level urban flying" law finished many a career) or been got by the human rights juggernaut (for instance Fireman, who was successfully sued for singing a woman’s clothes after he saved her from falling off a bridge).

And yes, all these are real job descriptions.