Working Stiffs

Summer jobs that aren't (quite) a drag

Summertime, and the living is easy … unless you're consumed with making a living, in which case summer can suck. Mightily. Most of you know the pain of which we speak: It's 95 degrees and you're stuck in a suit and tie, or a dress and hose (the horror!). Or worse, you're sporting jeans, a safety helmet and a wife-beater while holding a "SLOW" sign or shoveling steaming asphalt onto one of the dozens of Bay-area roads that have mysteriously been under construction since the Reagan era.

But work we must — if we want to eat, anyway — and the best we can hope for is (a) a job that keeps us cool, and (b) one that doesn't demand a lot of physical exertion. And with those goals in mind, we of the nicely air-conditioned cubicle club offer some suggestions for Florida summer (read: year-round) employment that, while perhaps not ideal, are at least better than mowing and trimming 5,000 acres of lawn under the scorching sun.

ICE CREAM TRUCK DRIVER: You don't have to shave or wash your clothes. The trashiest vehicle you can find will do. And you're driving in air-conditioned comfort at 15 mph all day. But I think you can get fined by the ice cream police if the rendition of "Turkey in the Straw" blasting from your speakers isn't sufficiently warbled.

MEATPACKING PLANT: You'll stink forever, but nary a bead of sweat will escape your pores, and you'll end up with some beefy (no pun intended) arm and leg muscles after a few weeks. And hey, free steaks.

ICE-SKATING PAVILLION: The music's up, the temps are down, and if you're really, really lucky, you'll get to drive the Zamboni.

ANYTHING YOU CAN DO AT HOME: Data entry, telemarketing, freelance writing, phone sex … anything that allows you to wake up late and never have to remove your PJs.

MOVIE THEATER/VIDEO STORE: There's the danger of death by popcorn grease, but it's slim. Otherwise, free movies and great new friends/significant other potential.

RETAIL ON MACKINAC ISLAND, MICH. (or similar Northern tourist town): You're on your feet all day and the tourists (aka "fudgies") are pains in the ass, but it's all worth it come winter, when you're drawing unemployment. Some places supply free room and board, and it's one big party when the sun goes down. Great for college students.

LIFEGUARD: It's hot, but you're dressed in as little as possible, you get to sit in those cool stands, and your tan will be killer (possibly literally). If you can find an indoor pool over which to reign, so much the better. Down side: People's lives are in your hands. Not such a bad thing for those with a hero complex.

ALTERNATIVE NEWSPAPER EMPLOYEE: We're a happily opinionated bunch who arrive late, wear what we want and do fun stuff like drink on the company's tab. WARNING: You could get stuck in the sales department, which means one thing — business casual (shudder!).

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