A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from March 25, 2018
“At my new job, I have hundreds of people under me. I mow the grass at the cemetery”

A person with many people under him/her usually has a responsible job. “At my new job, I have hundreds of people under me,” an old joke goes. “I mow the grass at the cemetery.”

The joke was printed in many newspapers in 1927.


19 May 1927, Binghamton (NY) Press, pg. 15, col. 3:
K. P. FOR HIM
Sergeant to R. O. T. C. rookie: Private, I’ll impress upon you that you must be more respectful toward me. Why, I had two hundred and fifty men under me during the war.
Rookie: You ain’t got nothin’ on me. I have twelve hundred people under me last summer.
Sergeant, doubtfully: What were you doing?
Rookie: I mowed the grass in a cemetery.

2 November 1959, Garden City (KS) Telegram, “Mile-A-Minute Marty” by Burris Motor Co., pg. 10, col. 1:
Man 1: YOU MUST HAVE A GOOD JOB?
Man 2: I’LL SAY—I HAVE 500 PEOPLE UNDER ME, NOW.
Man 1: WHAT KIND OF WORK DO YOU DO?
Man 2: I’M A GRASS CUTTER IN A CEMETERY!

31 October 1981. San Diego (CA) Union, “Job Must Be Done, He Says Gravely” by Frank Green, pg. D-1, col. 5:
“I’ve been the top man on the job for 20 years, and I’ve got hundreds of people under me,” cracked John “Digger” Amundson, who likes to call himself an “excavation technician.”
(At El Cajon Cemetery.—ed.)

31 October 1985, The Wall Street Journal (New York, NY), “Colma, Calif., Is A City of Cemeteries Down on Their Luck” by Carrie Dolan, pg. 1, col. 4:
The dropoff on visitors depresses him, but M.r Hardin, who digs about 10 graves a month, still likes his job. “I always say I’ve got a lot of people under me.”

22 May 1987, Chicago (IL) Tribune, “In this crazy California city, most of the residents are real casket cases” by Sydney Freedberg, sec 5, pg. 3, col. 1:
“Whenever anybody asks me where I work, I say, ‘In a place with a lot of people under me,’ “ deadpans Paul Howe, a one-time Colma councilman and cemetery superintendent.

Google Books
It’s All Done with Numbers:
Astounding and Confounding Feats of Mathematical Magic

By Rose Wyler, Gerald Ames and Carter Jones
Garden City, NY: Doubleday
1979
Pg. 97:
Will I be important and have a lot of people under me?
Yes, if you work as watchman in a cemetery.

21 October 1994, The State Register-Journal (Springfield, IL), pg. 9, col. 1:
LITTLE WHITE LIES
“I have hundreds of people under me.”
(He’s a night watchman in a cemetery.)
(...)
(Joey Adams, New York Post)

Google Books
An Introduction to Dynamics of Group Leadership and Organizational Change
By Russell D. Robinson
West Bend, WI: Omnibook Company
1995
Pg. 97:
I often feel like the director of a cemetery. I have a lot of people under me, but nobody listens.

Google Groups: alt.penpals.forty-plus-yrs
A family story....
Ian
11/12/99
(...)
And to think I once held down a responsible job with hundreds of people under me. Yes, folks, you guessed it: I was employed by the local municipal authoority to look after the cemetery ...
The old ones are often the best, I always say.

Google Groups: winnipeg.general
Wpg.Gen filled with SPAM, sale ads, baby parts! 
Carman
1/28/00
(...)
“Oh tell me”, he cried! “St John’s Cathedral Cemetery, where once I toiled as a humble gravedigger, stands it still?” Man, that place was right out of a Thomas Hardy novel! I was foreman in the graveyard. Hundreds of people under me, and they never talked back! Well, not at first anyway.

Google Groups: alt.humor.puns
Puns, Word Plays and Related Madness
dcoble
3/22/00
(...)
* The groudskeeper at a large cemetery stated proudly in his resume: “I have 10,000 people under me.”

Google Groups: alt.callahans
“Puns of the Weak” 8/18/00
Stan Kegel
8/19/00
(...)
The groudskeeper at a large cemetery stated proudly in his resume: “I have 10,000 people under me.” (Dave Coble)

Google Books
Business Wit & Wisdom
By Richard Zera
Washington, DC: Beard Books
2005
Pg. 153:
General John Galvin, Supreme Allied Commander in Europe and Commander-in-Chief of U.S. European Command, was asked what it was like to be in charge of so many and varied forces. His reply: “I often feel like the director of a cemetery. I have a lot of people under me, but nobody listens.”

Reddit—Jokes
ou know that cemetery?
submitted October 3, 2014 by 414gobears
It’s the dead center of town.
I hear people are dying to get in there.
I worked at a cemetery once. It was a dead end job.
I worked with a bunch of dead beats.
However, I did have a lot of people under me.

Reddit—Jokes
At my new job I have 500 people under me.
submitted April 7, 2016 by RobustUnicorn
I mow grass at a cemetery.

Reddit—Jokes
My Mom’s told me this joke
submitted August 7, 2016 by LGAMER3412
There was two friends talking . Friend #1 ask Friend #2 “How is work” . Friend #2 replied “I have over 500 people under me” . Friend #1 said “WOW Where do you work ? “. Friend #2 said “The Cemetery”

Twitter
John
@JFD1960
At my new job I have thousands of people under me.
I’m mowing the grass at the cemetery
4:37 PM - 26 Mar 2018

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityWork/Businesses • Sunday, March 25, 2018 • Permalink