It’s a Living… I Guess

Does anyone know what one of these does? (Photo credit: Li-sung via Wikimedia Commons)
Does anyone know what one of these does? (Photo credit: Li-sung via Wikimedia Commons)

Every once in a while — okay, lately it seems like daily — I discover that I’m going about this whole making a living, putting food on the table business the hard way.

For example, apparently there are people who apparently make very good money as… eyebrow stylists.

When I first heard about this job, I had visions of teeny tiny brushes, itsy bitsy hair curlers, and miniature cans of hair spray. I imagined hot, bright lights and an oversized magnifying glass just above the prone customer; a gentle aesthetician with slender hands sweating the details. “Good afternoon, Mrs. Marple. A little off the ends today? A bit of curl for body?”

But no, apparently eyebrow stylists just remove bits of your eyebrow. Forcibly, but apparently in a stylish manner. So, I’m thinkin': I have duct tape. I can do a nice flourish and even add a sophisticated French, “voila!” as I yank. I could do this.

Then there’s being a golf ball marshal. If you’re anything like me (that is, conditioned by years of westerns on TV), you’ll imagine a gunslinger in a cowboy hat, walking casually around the back of the saloon to catch a golf ball trying to escape certain incarceration by climbing out a window. (Okay, maybe it’s not conditioning but rather too much wine and an overactive imagination.)

What it really involves is scanning the fairways for lost golf balls. While not as romantic or dashing as my version, I could do this as well. Really, who couldn’t spend their days wandering across green spaces, basking in the sunshine?

The only downside for me is that I suck at finding things. For proof, just ask the Easter Bunny, who when hiding chocolate eggs for me in year two, ended up stepping on the gooey, half-melted gifts that I hadn’t found the first time around. However, I could grab a pair of those Visiball ‘find your golf balls faster!’ glasses than no less than 12 mail order companies have told me would make a great stocking stuffer.

Another way to make a living is to be a ‘wrinkle chaser.’ This does not, as you might think, mean you are a young man or woman in pursuit of a rich, elderly spouse. It means you get rid of wrinkles during the shoe manufacturing process so that we don’t all end up with creased toes. While this job would be easy, it’s just not for me. First, it involves finding things (see above), and second, I have a faith-based thing against ironing: I avoid it religiously.

I could earn better money as a — I kid you not — chicken sexer. Because this is a family-oriented column, I will not put to words what I’m sure you all envisioned just now. What it really involves is sorting out boy chicks from girl chicks. I’m sure most chicken sexers (does one put this on a business card, one wonders?) do this the hard way, i.e., by picking up chicks one by one and doing a rather personal inspection. I’d just set up two television sets at the end of the conveyer belt in the poultry factory: one showing action films, and one showing, well, chick flicks. They’d self-sort.

I could also be a pretend patient. Many medical schools hire people to pretend they have various ailments so that medical students can practice their diagnoses and bedside manner. As long as this didn’t involve practicing, say, surgery, or needle administration, this would be an easy job. Disrobing wouldn’t be an issue for me these days either; as anyone who has ever given birth to a child can tell you, modesty is no longer part of your vocabulary.

But perhaps the best job of all would be one in the technology manufacturing industry. I could be a ‘clean room’ janitor. This is one of those rooms where you need to prevent dust, dirt and other impurities from interfering with the manufacturing of delicate electronic components. I figure since everyone who comes in has to wear one of those white full-body suits anyway, the job basically does itself.

Indeed, now that I think about it, I may insist that everyone in my house wears one of those suits from now on.


Room For Improvement

Lumberjacking: Still not an easy job. (Photo credit: Traumrune via Wikimedia Commons)
Lumberjacking: Still not an easy job. (Photo credit: Traumrune via Wikimedia Commons)

This week, I found an old news story about Stjepan Lizacic, who was 56 at the time, who was suing his local health authority because he says he’s become a laughing stock.

Lizacic, a lumberjack, (or since he’s Croatian, a lumberStjack) claimed he started ‘enjoying housework and knitting’ after he was given a female kidney in a transplant operation.

I don’t know about you, but I think our friend Lizacic was fibbing. Why? Because he went on to say that he now finds housework both relaxing and fulfilling. Quick, all you women out there who find housework fulfilling, please clap your hands.

[crickets chirping]

So why did he make this claim and sue? I can think of two reasons:

1) He’s was always interested in knitting and housework, but really didn’t want to say so to his axe-wielding, hard-drinking, male friends.
2) He’s was fifty-six-year-old who makes his living cutting down trees. I’d be looking at an early retirement plan too.

In any case, if all it took was a simple kidney transplant operation to get men to do their share of the housework, you’d have heard about it by now… from the long line-up of female kidney donors standing outside your local hospital.

No, swapping organs with someone would not give you a personality makeover. What does strike me as interesting about this story though, is how routine organ transplants have become. It makes me wonder what we might be able to do to change or improve our bodies in the future. There’s a lot we could borrow from the animal kingdom.

For example, I wonder how long it will take us to learn how to give gills to humans, so that we could breathe underwater. This would be cool — I might actually be able to pick up that coin my swim teacher was forever chucking into the deep end of the pool. To say nothing of what it would do for the Summer Olympics.

Wings would be darned handy, although I’m sure that it would take some getting used to. Not the flying, I mean, but what to do with the wings when you’re not in flight. The fashion industry would have to be completely rejigged. And if you slept beside someone who tossed and turned a lot, you’d risk getting thwacked by both wings and elbows.

Perhaps an exoskeleton would be the next best upgrade. We humans are awfully soft and squishy in our natural states, as anyone who has ever fallen down a flight of stairs can attest. And just think of the body checks you could throw in hockey, or the tackles you could take in football, if you had the same body armour as a … common cockroach.

Personally I think the single greatest improvement we could make would be in the area of childbirth. The kangaroos have it right: none of this morning sickness stuff, no stretch marks, and forget the hours of agonizing labour and delivery. A joey shows up in the pouch when it’s just a few inches long and does all it’s growing *outside* of mother’s body. Okay, so maybe the pouch does get a bit saggy by the time the mini-roo is able to climb out, but it’d be a small price to pay to avoid the stitches.

And I wonder if we’ll ever be advanced enough to be able to adopt animal attitudes? I’m not sure which I’d have installed: cat disdain, so that nothing ever bothered me, or dog enthusiasm, so that I was always in a good mood?

Actually either one would be good, as long as I didn’t also find myself compelled to chase mice, fetch balls, or worst of all, have a sudden passion for housework and knitting.


Please Don’t Have A Cow

A bitty bovine animal. (Photo credit: Justin Baeder via Wikimedia Commons)
A bitty bovine animal. (Photo credit: Justin Baeder via Wikimedia Commons)

Once, pot-bellied pigs were all the rage. After that craze died down, iguanas became extremely trendy. And of course, black and white dogs always become popular when Disney revives the 101 Dalmatians franchise.

This year, the hot new pet might be: the mini-cow.

No, it’s not a new toy robot out of Japan, it’s a real cow, standing about 42 inches at the shoulder. Where a full grown steer can weigh up to 1500 lbs, mini-cattle only weigh up to 500 lbs.

Proponents of the bitty bulls say that you can pasture one of them on a reasonably small patch of land, they’re easy to handle, and they’re better “feed converters” — that is, it costs less to raise them and turn them into steaks.

So far, however, mini-moo buyers seem more interested in keeping them as pets. I can see why, as there would be several advantages:

Snob Appeal — You need about an acre of land to keep one properly, which means apartment dwellers and suburbanites with postage stamps for lawns can’t own any. And nothing says you’ve arrived like, um, your very own cow. Or something.

Free Lawn Mowing — Cattle really know how to keep the grass short. Side benefit: Since lawn mowers vibrate so much, once your cow has finished cutting the lawn, you’ll be able to serve milkshakes.

Very Green Grass — No more nasty lawn chemicals. Cattle provide lots of free, um, fertilizer.

Easier To Motivate Than A Teenager — Even if they didn’t naturally munch grass, you wouldn’t have to beg your cow to trim the backyard. Just say: “Hey, hamburger butt! How’s that lawn coming?”

Minimal Damage — As compared to a full-sized steer, if a mini-cow steps on your foot, it will only break and not, you know, crush it.

Dog Vs. Cat — A pet cow will not chase the cat or bark at the neighbours. A cow will not bring you dead mice, or spend all night singing on the fence post. (Well it might, but you’d have to get it very drunk first.)

On the other hand, keeping cattle for pets would also have some disadvantages:

A Guard Cow? — Cows are generally too docile to be good guard animals, although I suppose you could train yours to chew its cud in a threatening manner. A mini-bull would probably be *too* aggressive, as it would probably suffer from short bull’s syndrome.

Pass (on) the Milk — Wanna be ranchers will think having fresh milk daily is great until 1) They have to help the cow give birth in order to get her to start producing the stuff and 2) They have to go out twice daily to milk her.

Very VERY Green Grass — Cattle produce a lot of, um, fertilizer. If you plan to use your lawn for anything other than pasture, you’re either going to have to get a sturdy (and washable) pair of boots, or buy an industrial scooper.

Bo-ring — Cattle do not play fetch. They do not chase toy mice. Indeed, for play and companionship value, cattle rank only marginally higher than fish and lower than hamsters. (A hamster will at least look cute while running through a Habitrail. And if you tried building one of those big enough for your pet cow, it would be your neighbours that laughed so hard that milk came out of their noses).

Walkies? Ha! — You could not take a cow for a walk. Oh sure, you could put it on a leash, whistle, clap, and shout, but when 500 lbs of anything decides to stay still, you ain’t movin’ it.

Guilt Trip — Cattle don’t have many talents, but one thing they excel at is staring. Just try eating that steak dinner with Betsy peering in through the kitchen window for hours at a time.

So please, dear readers, think twice before purchasing any mini-cattle as pets for your kids, or to fulfill those latent rancher aspirations of yours. It would be a bigger cowmittment than you’d be willing to make.