Seems like a sport: Being absolutely horrible at your job

Lots of folks, through ineptitude or ambivalence, are bad at their jobs. But every once in a while, we witness someone so actively and profoundly bad at their job that they elevate it to an art form, and we must ask whether it's an athletic endeavor.

I've been horrible at my job before. I'm 17, and it's my last day working at Valvoline Instant Oil Change. Right before we close up, one last car pulls in. Some oil filters are notoriously difficult to remove, and as I fight with a band wrench to pull the damn thing out, I start thinking about how I'm in the bottom bay by myself, and I will face zero consequences if I just don't do anything, and I'm 10 minutes from eternal freedom, and most cars totally don't need to have their oil filters changed every 3,000 miles anyway.

So I just stand there for five minutes, doing absolutely nothing. I hear the guy explain to his kid, "there's a man under the car! He's going to put a new part on it. It's like going to the car doctor!" And I'm just having the hardest time stifling my laughter over how much of a shithead I am. I shout, "READY TO ROLL, BAY 1" up top. And then that poor sucker drives off, having paid $30 for absolutely nothing.

That was a terrible job, but it was the same grade of lazy-terrible practiced by millions of Americans every day. Monday, a very different kind of terrible came to my attention:

I cannot stop laughing. This is brazen, spectacular bad-at-job-ness. It would actually be more dignified and effective of this man to do absolutely nothing. What is this? Well, I have no doubt that this is some sort of art, which leads me to another question:

Is doing a horrible job a sport?

There is certainly physical activity going on here. It's just ... man. They probably got a forklift to move that pallet to the conveyor belt. The conveyor belt pulls the freight into the plane. The plane flies it to another continent. Several machines at work, doing their jobs splendidly, carrying the load for thousands of miles. This dude is counted on to fill the one six-foot gap in this otherwise hyper-efficient system.

Time for a performance review, Chucky.

The "sport"


We join this fellow in progress, after he's already clearly missed the mark with a dozen or so boxes. Here, he tries to chuck three boxes on the belt and goes 0-for-3.

Observations at this juncture:

1. If these boxes had some weight to them, they'd stay put. But they're light, and they're sizable, which suggests to me that they contain fragile product.

2. It's possible that he's tossing the boxes because he has back problems; certainly, such repetitive actions could really do a number on one's lower back. He would have more of my sympathy if he tried literally anything else. Again, these boxes aren't heavy. Nudge them over to the belt with your legs. Form a line of boxes on the pallet and just kick them on up the belt. Something.

3. C'mon now, sonny, that's no way to be

4. Sonnnnnn


5. OK, Chucky, don't tell me you didn't see that box fall off the belt. You know exactly how bad of a job you are doing. It's like you're doing this on purpose. I don't know how the Hell you bounce that box all the way off the damn ramp from a height of like one foot. You are losing the world's easiest game of cornhole.


6. Over the course of this four-minute video, our hero stops to use his cell phone a couple times. That still image above is just my favorite. "Hey, honey. Today's a great day on the make-a-giant-f***ing-mess line at the get-nothing-accomplished factory. Yeah. If I keep this up, they might move me over to the cat-punching line. Yeah. They need to fill a spot, too. They fired the last guy because he kept f***ing up and petting them instead. Yeah."

The stats

I have placed these box-placing attempts into three categories: a) boxes that make it up the belt, b) boxes that fall off the belt, and c) boxes that get stuck at the bottom of the belt in a state of limbo, and can become either a) or b).

By the time his friend had come to help him with the boxes, he'd tossed exactly 100 boxes either up the belt or off the side. His success rate: 56 percent.

This is not hitting an 82-mph slider, or shooting a free throw from 15 feet out. This is picking up boxes and putting them on a ramp a few feet away. Our hero probably would have been roughly as effective had he stood behind the stack of boxes, stretched out his arms, and just pushed them by walking forward.


1. It involves physical activity. (30% sport)

2. It can be scored by clear statistical metrics. (Up to 40%)

3. You obviously don't have to care or want to win anything, ever. (Down to 20%)

4. To fail this badly requires a superhuman ability to be able to fail worse than seems possible for someone who isn't actively trying to fail. (Up to 30%)

5. It's kind of like cornhole a little bit. (Up to 35%)

6. It features color commentary. Throughout the video, the guy with the camera drops all kinds of bombs:

"These blokes don't give a damn."
"Look at this. Half-witted idiot."
"Stupid dickhead."

(Up to 41%)

7. He's not really in competition with anyone else. (Down to 19%)

8. But he sort of is in indirect competition with the rest of the universe at large. (Up to 26%)

9. He resembles a few different athletes here. He moves with the urgency of 2010 Shaq, he has the pained, tortured body posture of Willie McGee, and he's roughly as efficient as Kentucky football. (Up to 29%)


As always, further deconstruction and speculation is welcome in the comments. This is a collective endeavor.

Previously in Seems Like A Sport:

Camping inside a grocery store, eating 10,000 calories, and soiling yourself

Watching every Fast & Furious movie in a row

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