My dreadful career as a street performer.

Humiliating myself for fun and profit.
Oct. 30 2003 8:32 AM

Mime Is Money

My dreadful career as a street performer.

(Continued from Page 2)

Then a huge bus slowly pulled up in front of the museum. I got so excited—I could harass each tourist into dropping money into my hat as they disembarked. I started jumping up and down and waving wildly at the bus. It stopped in front of me, the doors opened, and the bus driver gave me a long look. Then she leaned toward me and said, with a note of panic in her voice, "Are you our tour guide?"

I sadly shook my head. I realized at that moment that I was not a true performer. A true performer would have nodded yes and led the crowd into the museum. Now, that would have been art.

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In Human Guinea Pig, I take strange jobs, sample peculiar therapies, pick up odd hobbies, and generally try the activities that my colleagues have always wondered about but don't have the guts to do themselves. (Can you make money on an Internet get-rich scheme? What would a plastic surgeon do to your face? Can anyone be a telephone psychic?)

Is there something you've always wanted to do but were too scared or embarrassed to try? Ask the Human Guinea Pig to do it for you. E-mail me your ideas at guineapig@slate.com.Thanks to reader Dustin Dopps for suggesting this assignment.

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