When I was a student aged about 18, I used to hitch-hike around the country, and most of the pick-ups I had were lorry-drivers. After about 10 minutes of bouncing around on the seat next to the fat bastard who was driving the lorry, the inevitable question would be asked: "So, are you a student, then?"
If I told the truth and said 'yes', then I would condemn myself to about an hour of stupid, ill-informed opinions about how students were draining the resources of the country, blah blah, and how all militant students should be forced into National Service, blah blah - and that would happen even if I didn't admit to being an Art Student, let alone an economics one, or whatever.
So, of course, the day came when I was asked this question by a particularly unpleasant looking, shaved headed driver, and I answered, "No, I'm a brain-surgeon".
Of course, he didn't believe me, and the rest of the journey was spent in silence, with him throwing me the occasional sideways glance as he tried to decide if he should turn me out at the next lay-by, and if he should give me a good kicking at the same time.
One of the draw-backs of having what some others consider (in their ignorance) as being an 'interesting' job, is having to constantly put them right and destroy their illusions about the romantic world of a stone-carver. This gets particularly tedious the longer it goes on, and after 30 or so years, becomes almost unbearable. For this reason, I have - on occasions - lied about what I do to make money. Usually, these lies are perpetrated in pubs.
A few years ago, I got into a conversation with a man in a pub, and although I didn't lie about my day job, I was a bit economical with the truth as far as it's remuneration was concerned. He was an insurance salesman, and a dim one at that. When he asked how much money I made from my work, I quoted a ludicrously high figure, and added that this was for only a matter of a couple of hours a day. He asked me if stone-carving was easy, and I said it was really easy - anyone could do it after a couple of hours practice. After a few more drinks, he vowed to give up his job the very next day and become a stone-carver. I never saw him again, so he probably died of starvation.
Another time (in another pub) a be-suited man asked me what I did, and - for the reasons above - I told him that I was a Corporate Predator. He asked what that involved, and I explained that we looked through the annual reports of businesses, trying to spot the ones which were in real trouble and already floated on the stock-market. We then forced the the company to sell up to us at a knock-down rate, then sacked all the staff and stripped the company of all it's valuable assets before moving on - like vultures - to the next victim. He shouted at me, calling me an evil bastard and saying that he refused to sit in the same pub as me, before storming out and leaving me in peace, so that worked very well. I have often wondered how he thought that an office worker like me should come to be sitting in a pub, covered head to foot in stone-dust, but I will never know.
On another occasion, I found myself in a nightclub after work (don't ask) still dressed in my work clothes, which were a dirty pair of pale blue, ex RAF engineer's overalls, when someone asked me if I was RAF. How could I resist? I told them I was a fighter-pilot, and they - for some reason - believed me.
Once - just once - I was taken by real surprise. I was standing at the bench of my workshop in town, chiseling away at a piece of stone, when an American tourist stood at the doorway, staring intently at me as I worked. This usually happened about 5 times a day, and the tourist would say how wonderful my work was, and how he wished he could do the same, etc. etc. and then turn away and leave.
On this occasion, the man stood looking for about 3 minutes, and I waited for the inevitable comment of praise and envy. As he walked in and came up to me, I put down my tools, then he said:
"My God. That must be so boring. How the hell can you do that all day?"