Saturday, March 20, 2010

Should a Gentleman Offer a Tiparillo to a Census Taker?

Yesterday afternoon I took the test to become a 2010 U.S. Census taker. I’d love to bullshit you and say that I received a perfect score, but the fact of the matter is that two of my answers were incorrect. This would be a bit embarrassing if the test hadn’t been the most singularly unclear, poorly worded, and sad-ass use of the tax payer money that I ever hope to encounter. This is not just sour grapes. I have a couple Master’s degrees, and I was flummoxed by how over-complicated and obtuse the coding and questions were.

Which made me especially concerned for two members of my test group who could barely speak English. I can only hope they filled in the dots on the test answer form in the shape of a Smiley Face or a skull and crossbones. The odds of this producing as many correct answers would be about equal to what they might have scored anyway, and it would have been much more fun.

But no matter. My 97 points puts me well above the required 70 needed to strap on a bag of materials, grab an I.D., and head out to pester the indolent souls who have deigned not to return their mail-in questionnaires. And though it may be a while before I learn if I’ve been hired as an “enumerator,” I thought, having taken the test, that I was fairly prepared for what might be expected of me should this come to pass.

I THOUGHT I was prepared until I came upon the vintage Tiparillo ad (above), which clearly illustrates that I am grossly off the mark. Apparently I will be required to undergo massive amounts of plastic surgery- face lift, tummy tuck, and most importantly, the insertion of very large breast implants- find an extremely low-cut polyester jumpsuit in a radically offensive shade of green, and learn how to purse my lips suggestively. I think I can muster the last of these, (I WAS young once myself, you know), but I’m seriously wondering if the $18.95 per hour that I might make will cover all of the other steps that are apparently necessary for me to pursue this career choice.

Unfortunately, the Tiparillo ad is unclear as to whether I would have to accept a smoke if a gentleman should offer me one on the job. NOTE TO SELF: Ask FOS, (that’s Field Office Supervisor for you un-census-lingo-initiated), if accepting a cigarillo is mandated census taker behavior…

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