Artistic Animal Trainer

While it’s true the artistic world is ripe with potential to make a few bucks with little real effort, why not take that extra step and steal the work of a creature who is unable to conduct its own financial transactions?

Zoos love training some of their residents to “paint,” as the work can make a good source of revenue when sold to local wealthy philanthropist. For all these people do, they have surprisingly little to talk about and enjoy any quirky icebreaker they can place in their homes:

“I see you’ve noticed the painting,” they tend to say to a wandering guest. “That was made by an elephant at the local zoo, to which we donate.”

“Ah,” the guest replies, and the philanthropist remains painfully silent until they wander within proximity of the giant tin can sculpture constructed by orphans.

Training an animal to paint may seem difficult at first glance, but becomes easier when you realize you basically just have to train the animal not to eat the brush (although this could pave the way to an avant-garde form of biological expressionism if you wait about four hours). Give a treat whenever the creature nudges brush to canvas and you’ll have your own feral Van Gogh before your know it — this one you might even be able to let on your furniture now and then without regretting it.

Once you’re up and running, your job’s not quite done. You still have to “sell” the work to the philanthropists to make them feel more vindicated for the spatters they are about to purchase. All you really have to do, though, is spout some artistic terms that will make them believe you actually have an inkling of what you’re talking about. I’ve found words like “avant-garde” and “expressionism” work very well.

Road Work Sign Holder

When I say a job is “mindless,” I don’t mean it as an insult to the people who possess it. Road construction can be a dangerous job and, for all the frustration it can cause motorists, people seldom complain of the end result.

Even so, you have to admit standing in front of traffic and twirling a sign around all day is not the most interesting of jobs, even at the times you seem to be the one in your crew working the hardest. How many road workers does it take to contemplate a ditch, anyway?

But a sign in the right hands — by which I mean hands that no DOT will ever let hold one of their signs, ever — can provide hours of entertainment not only to the worker, but the passing motorist. Imagine it’s early morning and you’re the only car approaching the workzone. The sign holder gives you a smile and starts twirling their sign, using their other hand to motion you to honk your horn. After a few seconds, you humor them by giving a beep and they suddenly halt the sign’s rotation, coming up… STOP. The sign holder mouths an empathetic “Awww” and starts spinning again. Your boring morning routine has turned into a rousing game of roadside roulette! Isn’t that great?

…OK, on second thought, that’s a bad idea and will likely end with a sign holder’s kneecaps claimed by the grill of an enraged soccer mom’s Jetta. Just go with replacing “SLOW” with “HAMMER TIME” on the back of the sign and you should be golden.

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