OVERLEIGH: If he had a nicer ass, they might let him hold the warning sign instead. Photo: Dvortygirl (Wikimedia Commons) CC-BY-SA 3.0

VANCOUVER—Bill Overleigh had a six-figure income and worked 70-hour weeks.  He dined at high-end restaurants and traveled first class.  But he gave it all up because he thought the simple life would make him happier.

“I’m a short-sighted idiot,” said Overleigh during his 15-minute morning break.  “I thought if I got a Joe job, I could sit back and take it easy.  I was wrong.”

After leaving his marketing position in a blaze of poor judgment, Overleigh applied for a city job.  As part of the ground crew with the Parks and Recreation Department, his days are spent maintaining gardens, mowing lawns and picking up garbage.

“It’s back-breaking work,” said Overleigh, “and everybody is twenty years my junior.  I really think someone just gave me this job to motivate the kids to work toward something better.  And the best part?  My boss is still a jerk.”

“Mr. Overleigh thinks his shit don’t stink,” said crew boss Jimmy Ortega.  “He waltzes in here with his Roberto Cavalli windbreaker and thinks he can get away with planting half the flowers the other guys put in the ground.  I’m not having it.”

Overleigh maintains Ortega had it in for him from the start.  “He never lets me take break first and he always criticizes my work.  My second week on the job, he filled in the trench I’d dug.  I came back from lunch and he made me dig it again.  Said it wasn’t deep enough the first time.  I think I may remind him of his father.”

But some things have changed.  Overleigh traded a penthouse suite for a one-bedroom apartment, a company car for a used Civic and a high-maintenance girlfriend for a low-maintenance cat.

“I envisioned my life becoming tension free.  I did not envision arthritis and overdue bills,” said Overleigh.  “No more fundraising with the upper crust and jaunts to Whistler.  Now I have a Netflix account and a taste for Labatt Blue.”

By Molly Donovan

I grew up in the USA, but don't hold that against me because I'm also Canadian. Just think of me as the mole.

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