Poster putty is such a ubiquitous part of interior decoration that chances are most people never think about where it comes from.
Meet Kim Willis, the woman who produces poster putty from specialized secretory glands beneath her tonsils. From her home in Passaic, New Jersey, the 52-year-old former schoolteacher can produce up to 30 gallons a day!
We asked Kim what it’s like to have such a unique job. “At the end of the day, it’s wonderful to feel needed,” she said. “It’s great to know that so many college students and elementary school teachers rely on l me.”
Kim is able to create huge volumes of poster putty in pouches on either side of her throat, where a mixture of chemicals is catalyzed. She contracts the pouches, causing the putty to squeeze out of her mouth glands like toothpaste. She does this for many hours every day in order to keep up with the increasingly high demands of America’s poster consumers.
Of course, no occupation is without its challenges. “Sometimes the putty pickup vehicle is a couple days late and I have to make room for dozens of buckets all over the house,” said Kim. She also finds it awkward at the dentist’s office.
However, she never lets things like that get her down, and everyone is better off for it. Said Wayne Jensen, a clerk at the University of Michigan’s annual poster sale, “Kim is completely indispensable to my way of life. My ability to make a living selling posters to college students hinges on her. She’s never once let me down, and I don’t think she ever will.”
Way to go, Kim! We’re all so grateful for the work that you do!