Sept. 5, 2001

Career Counselor From Hades

By Roy Rivenburg
Headhunters R Us: It’s raining pink slips. With the economy sputtering, more and more people are getting laid off. Sure, some will escape hard times by investing their $300 tax rebates in a passbook savings account and living off the 1.2 percent interest, but others need a new job pronto. Preferably one that is recession-proof, such as professional lottery winner or pope.

So we found several promising career opportunities for readers to consider, all of them real:

-- Cow pedicurist. In Lynnwood, Wash., Doug Van Wieringen earns his keep by trimming cow tootsies. He removes unsightly warts from the hooves and massages aching bovine arches.
-- Talking underwear deliveryman. According to Wireless Flash News Service, a Canadian entrepreneur is launching ‘‘Pantygrams,’’ a service that delivers boxers, briefs and lingerie equipped with sound chips that say, ‘‘Yoo-hoo! Pantygram!’’
-- Vacuum cleaner historian. Robert Kravitz lectures on the history of an invention that truly sucks. He says the first vacuum cleaners were so big that it took a three-man team and horse to operate them. The first portable vacuum was a Swedish device that moved on skis instead of wheels.
-- Pickle alignment inspector. The Rheinland Chamber of Agriculture in Germany employs seven people to monitor the straightness of gherkins.
-- San Mateo County, Calif., dog catcher. The salary is $250,000 a year, according to the San Francisco Chronicle.
-- Cheese sculptor. Artist Sarah Baughmann of Cincinnati, who carves busts of celebrities from blocks of cheddar cheese, is switching to a new medium. Oscar Mayer hired her to create sculptures using brownies, cookies, frosting and marshmallow creme. Thus, the cheese post is wide open.
-- Waterproof swami. The Four Seasons hotel in Bali employs a swami who reportedly uses mental power to stave off rain during special events and religious holidays. He gets paid $50 per occasion.
-- Pet grief counselor. Colorado State University and 11 other colleges employ grief counselors who help pet owners deal with the loss of a beloved cat, dog or llama.
-- Stain librarian. The Wisk Laundry Institute of Edgewater, NJ, houses a ‘‘library of stain-making fodder’’ for product tests. The catalog includes everything from ‘‘the reddest Georgia clay to the greenest Kentucky bluegrass, and the most popular dark chocolate ice cream to the dirt from a baseball diamond just up the street.’’

October Warning: might offer a Gary Condit mask for Halloween. No word on whether the faux Condit would be paired with a Connie Chung costume.

Waffle Whiffer Alert: The first National Waffle Week runs from Sept. 2 to Sept. 8.

Alarming Trends Bureau: An obviously brain-damaged Croatian band says it has developed a new type of jazz inspired by the Teletubbies.

Celebrity Birthday Bureau: Mark your calendars for these important Sept. 16 birthdays: Wile E. Coyote (52), B.B. King (76), Play-Doh (46).

Supermarket Tabloid Story of the Week: ‘‘Guess What We Found in George and Laura Bush’s Garbage!’’ (Weekly World News)

Here’s a partial list:

-- A yellow Post-it note that says, ‘‘Never push red button -- make world go boom-boom.’’
-- A copy of ‘‘The Sensuous Woman’’ with the inscription, ‘‘To my little Lamb Chop, from Mr. Pelican Pants.’’
-- A geography book containing a scribbled note in the margins that says: ‘‘New England part of our country, not the other place.’’
-- Nearly a ton of shredded paper bearing a suspicious resemblance to absentee ballots.

Unpaid Informants: Wireless Flash News, Chicago Sun-Times, Chronicle of Higher Education, Cathi Douglas, PR Newswire, Reuters.

Copyright 2001 by Roy Rivenburg
Distributed by
Creators Syndicate