Aug 7, 2006

Anything for a buck?

Ann Althouse muses about offbeat jobs.
I would, for a price, go sit in a movie theater crowd and cue the flow of laughter on the subtler jokes. I would, for a price, eat in a restaurant and make slightly audible favorable comments about the menu and, with a co-worker, contribute a pleasant sound of conversation and even make up gossip about fictional characters to give the other diners something to eavesdrop on. Or maybe I should just start a business, designing jobs like this and selling businesses on the notion that they need fake patrons to improve the attitude of the real patrons. And all you artists and actors in need of an amusing day job can come to me. I'll just take 10%.
Being paid for going to the movies or eating at restaurants sounds ideal, but there's always a catch. Besides, even the most enjoyable activity loses something when you have to do it. I remember a friend pondering graduate school telling me he wouldn't consider studying English because he was afraid studying it would ruin something he enjoyed--reading fiction--by turning it into a chore. As an English major in college, I can attest to that: After writing my senior thesis I wanted no more of that nonsense.

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