The Chimney Sweep Stereotype

Mention the words “chimney sweep” to most people and the first thing they typically think of is Burt, the character played by Dick Van Dyke in Mary Poppins. It’s a wonderful family movie, no question about it. And Burt’s a fun guy. But the similarities pretty much end with the job label.

The following are things I’ve never done during the course of a job:

1) Sang and danced (talk about dangerous!) on a rooftop – though I’m not immune to quietly
humming some of my favorite tunes while hard at work
2) Laughed so hard I levitated off the ground
3) Created a chalk drawing world that I jumped into for a fun afternoon outing
4) Taken a break to put on a one-man band skiffle show for commuters in a neighborhood park
5) Worn a top hat while on a job. Seriously – how inconvenient!

No, more often than not, the job is significantly less glamorous. The following are steps I frequently complete on a job:

1) Using vacuums and brushes to clean out harmful build-up and trash from the interior of a chimney
2) Removing past or current remnants of animal habitation
3) Fixing cracks in the foundation of a chimney
4) Repairing the flashing surrounding the chimney

And the list goes on.

The point to consider here is this: The chimney sweep stereotype and the realities of the job are two completely different concepts. That said, I love the job and the ways I can help home owners get the most out of their chimneys.

Now back to work! Step in time . . . ahem.