Reasons It Would Suck To Be Indiana Jones

Indiana Jones is that wisecracking, adventurous archaeologist beloved by everyone, except for maybe the Third Reich. With his trademark fedora and whip, he always seems to escape in the nick of time, save the day, and get the girl. But we dug up a few reasons why being Indiana Jones is less fun than it seems.

Boring teacher duties

On one hand, you're a handsome, globe-trotting, Nazi-punching archaeologist who can outrun any temple booby-trap, read dozens of archaic languages, fly planes, and attract a bevy of beautiful ladies. You wear a leather jacket and fedora, crack a whip, and occasionally ride motorcycles. You're the cool, bad boy of archaeology, like if James Bond was into ancient civilizations. Everyone who doesn't want you dead wants to be you or be with you.

On the other hand, you're a straitlaced archaeology professor at a small New England college who wears tweed suits and has an office that's only slightly bigger than Harry Potter's cupboard under the stairs. Instead of digging through piles of dirt, you're stuck digging through piles of test papers and lesson plans. Some of your students are only interested in your classes because of your looks and the rumors of your extracurricular archaeological exploits.

In addition to the classes you teach, you also probably have tons of boring meetings with department heads and other stuffy university types that make you want to put a spear through your skull like good ole Satipo in the Peruvian temple. You may spend your weekends and summer holidays searching for golden treasures around the world, but the only way to fill your bank account with golden treasures is by teaching a bunch of hormonal young adults about Neolithic barrows and that "X never marks the spot" even if it occasionally does.

No actual fortune & glory

While archaeologists like Howard Carter are lauded around the world for important discoveries, you don't get much "fortune and glory," as Indy told sidekick Short Round. Face it: the majority of your work in the field is commissioned by Marcus Brody and the museum, so no matter how good and important your find, it has to go straight into the hands of museum talking heads and researchers who will put it behind glass before you've even had a chance to look it over much for yourself. Yeah, "it belongs in a museum," but can't you get some credit for putting it there?

Then there are the government suits who show up and ask you to do a ton of undercover reconnaissance work for them in addition to recovering some important artifact that may or may not be able to be weaponized by the Nazis. And before you can say Uncle Sam, some "top men" have put that artifact into an unmarked crate in a giant government warehouse never to be heard of again. Yeah, sure, the museum or government give you a cut and pay for all your travel expenses, but you just fought Nazis, outwitted ancient booby traps, dodged evil spirits, nearly ate poisoned snacks, and came face-to-face with your oldest childhood fear: snakes. The least the museum and government could do is up your commission.

You're constantly traveling but never on "vacation"

Certainly one of the best parts of the job is getting to travel all over the world, even sometimes seeing places far off the beaten trail. From the marketplaces of Cairo to the jungles of India, adventure awaits you everywhere you go. There's never a dull moment while you're searching for the latest artifact, whether you're riding horses deep into the desert or hanging off the side of a cliff. To the average person, your travels are exciting and worthy of deep envy. Who wouldn't love to traipse around the globe instead of constantly being rooted in one place?

But it's not really as glamorous as it seems. Sure, they think it's as easy as "traveling by map" on the museum or government's dime, but in reality, it's a slog. You're constantly on the move from place to place. You're likely taking a plane or ocean steamer to a train to a zeppelin to a car to maybe a camel or horse or elephant to the ancient temple or tomb du jour. Sometimes, your travel options are downright sketchy, and you have to stow away on an enemy submarine or truck to get wherever you need to go to do your job. Not exactly first class accommodations.

And speaking of that, where are you even sleeping? Certainly not some four-star hotel with fluffy pillows, room service, and premium cable. When you DO finally get a chance to get a few winks, it's probably under some tree in the middle of nowhere or a tiny, spare room at your pal Sallah's house. Occasionally, you get to sleep in a palace or a spacious Venetian apartment, but those kinds of luxuries are few and far between. And so are working toilets and showers. You only have room in your sparse travel gear to bring one other spare outfit, so you're wearing the same smelly clothes on every trip. Gross.

Yeah, you're traveling all over the world, but it's no vacation. They don't exactly make postcards for Thuggee Cult Kali Ma Ceremonies that say, "Wish you were here!"

Constant competition from other archaeologists

You're a rock star in the archaeological world, but you're not the only one, unfortunately. René Belloq always seems to be hot on your heels for one thing, stealing discoveries that are rightfully yours. But it's not just him.

Competition in your field is pretty fierce right now. With the Great Depression in full swing, President Franklin D. Roosevelt created a federally funded archaeological project through his New Deal to get people back to work. So every Tom, Dick, and Harry with a shovel is getting government money to excavate all kinds of old sites around the country. You're not the only one trying to make a buck from finding old bones, even if you have more brains and bravado than those other guys.

But it would definitely suck to spend so much time researching, traveling, thwacking through jungles with machetes, outwitting crazy booby traps, and running through collapsing ruins only to have some other archaeologist get credit for your work or even beat you to the thing you spent so much time and sweat on. But hey, even you once swiped an artifact from a bunch of grave robbers in your teens!

You can't really talk about what you do because people wouldn't believe you

Of course you can talk about finding the Cross of Coronado or encountering the Hovitos people in the jungles of Peru, but what about your weirder experiences? You can't really talk about those expeditions and not just because some of them are classified by the US government.

Who is going to believe a man ripped another man's heart from his chest and plunged him into bubbling magma underneath an otherwise respectable Indian palace? Not to mention, it's hard to believe a 1930s palace can feasibly sustain a volcanic lava pit at all. Who wouldn't laugh hearing you met an immortal knight who speaks like a Shakespearean actor and lives in a fancy cave full of precious gold treasure that would make Gollum jealous? And no one is going to buy a story that the power of God flew out of the Ark of the Covenant and melted the faces and A.V. equipment of a bunch of Nazis in the middle of a secluded island but somehow left you and your sassy girlfriend completely unscathed.

It's ridiculous. People would think you're completely crazy because they think all you do is dig up mummies and dinosaur bones, translate weird Sanskrit writing, and bring back shiny ancient objects. The only person you can really unload on is Brody, but maybe a therapist would be a better choice.

No time for a social life

You spend most of your time around dead people and cultures, uppity academics, Third Reich goose-steppers, and other questionable characters, so you definitely need a new crowd to hang out with, but do you even have time for socializing? When's the last time you went out for a drink with the guys? Brody and Sallah totally don't count and neither do those guys at Club Obi Wan who poisoned your drink. Hell, Marion could probably drink YOU under the table, but you'll never find out because you're always running around putting out fires ... sometimes literally.

Seriously, between all the paper-grading, lesson plans, lectures, meetings with museum people, meetings with government people, traveling to far-flung locales, etc, do you ever have a day to yourself or meet new people who don't want to kill you and/or ask you to retrieve old stuff from temples? You're better at burning bridges than making new ones.

And forget about any kind of serious romantic relationship. All you can manage is a fling or two or three while you're working on your latest treasure hunt, and you tend to only meet women connected to the job at hand. Mixing business with pleasure is not a good idea, especially if you're not sure if the woman working with you is a Nazi double agent. Plus, you've probably got commitment issues, given how frequently you're packing up to fly off somewhere, so that's not going to go over too well with most women. At this point, the only person you've nearly given your heart to is Mola Ram, and that's not exactly a good thing.

Staying in shape mentally and physically

You're handsome, but you can't just coast along on luck and good looks. Being a world-renowned archaeologist requires some serious mental and physical fitness too. You have to be both brainy AND brawny to succeed, and that takes a lot of work beyond your duties at the college and in the field.

You have to know the smallest details of every ancient civilization from its religious practices to its language. You'd need to know anthropology and sociology. You'll have to pour over huge, dusty tomes of hieroglyphics, medieval tapestries, and caveman tools. You have to be an expert in biblical history but also barbaric cults. No doubt your dad drilled you on ancient Greek and Latin, but you've probably also had to study Spanish, Mandarin, and a dozen other languages not only to help you converse with the locals but also to help decipher clues and carvings on your adventures. And while sometimes you don't always know the answer and have to improvise, you have to know enough about pretty much everything, including the current geopolitical climate, to survive and help your occasionally clueless sidekicks survive too.

You have to stay in peak physical shape too. How could you possibly outrun a giant stone ball, fight Nazis on the side of a moving truck, or jump from speedboat to speedboat in the canals of Venice without working out? Breaking a sweat is a big part of your job, and you can't just get by on adrenaline. Somehow between your duties at the college and for the museum, you have to find time to pump some iron and do some serious cardio. You're doing the 1930s equivalent of an America Ninja Warrior course on the regular, so your workouts are probably insane. Plus, you're probably on a strict diet to maximize your physique. Wonder how many Weight Watchers points chilled monkey brains are?

Intense pressure to carry on the Jones name/reputation

The name Indiana Jones sounds cool, but it also carries quite a bit of unexpected weight. You have a reputation to uphold. The more important the artifacts you recover, the more your clout within the archaeological world grows. Your students definitely idolize you not just for your looks but because they've heard about all your adventures abroad in the field, so you don't want to disappoint them. As your prominence grows, it also makes the college look better too, so it's likely they place even higher expectations on you to deliver results. And then of course, the government starts coming to you and tasking you with top secret missions that could have serious political ramifications around the world if you fail. But ha ha, no pressure, it could only mean the difference between the Axis of Evil winning World War II or not!

However, there's an even greater source of pressure: dear old Dad. You share the Jones name, and he's a noted Grail historian in his own right. He's spent his entire life studying Grail lore, and that's just his HOBBY. He's done plenty of his own archaeological work. He groomed you to follow in his tweed-suited footsteps by teaching you Latin, Greek, and everything he knew, even if it meant you had a strained relationship for 20 years. Given his more traditional, academic methods to archaeology, it's likely he always look down his nose on your occasionally less respectable and unconventional methods. No doubt, you're always trying to escape comparisons with your father and the weight of being Henry Jones Jr. Perhaps that's why you took the dog's name instead. Have you considered the long lost artifact you're REALLY searching for is just your dad's love and approval?