By Randy Cohen
Fill in the blank.
The pay is bad, the hours are irregular, and there's that nettlesome FBI background check. Small wonder Shirley Phillips says, "Being a ___________ makes one feel subhuman and as low on the totem pole as one can get."
by noon ET Tuesday to e-mail your answer to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Responses to Wednesday's question (No. 148)--"Season's Grating":
A family photo, the single word "Noel," a naked babe draped in colored lights sipping champagne--there are many styles of holiday card, and now's the time to mail them. You were invited to describe the Christmas card sure to be sent by a corporation, world leader, or other personage.
"Cover: 'With best wishes for the holy season from the missionaries to the pre-born.' Inside: 'You've just been exposed to anthrax!' "--Katha Pollitt
"Picture: A still from Beloved. Message: 'For your consider ... I mean, Happy Holidays. Love, Oprah.' "--Daniel Radosh
"From the Philip Morris Co. Outside Santa's workshop, in subzero temperatures, the elves hang out during their cigarette break."--Danny Spiegel
"From Lewis Lapham. No illustration, just text. Its tone somehow both baleful and bemused, wistful yet wan. It starts with a quote from either Henry Adams or Alexis de Tocqueville, and I stop reading it about a quarter of the way through."--Chris Kelly
"A damp, illegible Easter card signed by Boris Yeltsin."--Tim Carvell
Click for more responses.
A slightly Lenovian question, perhaps--it's easy to picture him holding up the komedy kards, then rushing out to buy another kollectible kar--but it was redeemed by some deft responses. I can only plead holiday malaise. Or seasonal affective disorder. (It gets dark so early when you lie in bed brooding until 2 in the afternoon.) Oh, wait, I know what it was--overwork. And then that rush, rush to get away for the holiday weekend, bustling off to catch the high-speed maglev train that would whisk me swiftly and economically to the countryside, where, refreshed by the more historically nuanced brooding of my jolly Chekhovian family, I'd wander the woods and fields, dodging bullets from hunters too groggy on turkey tryptophans to distinguish between a deer and a Jew. Or maybe just groggy enough. Boy could I use a drink purchased at a cash bar.
Home for the Holidays Extra
Some activities from the most recent "Weekend" guide in the Reading, Pa., Eagle.
"Grill Fire Company Bingo. Free! Coffee, doughnuts, candy, hot chocolate, tea, and dappers to New-comers." (I'm so full after the coffee, doughnuts, candy, hot chocolate, and tea, I can't eat a single dapper. Assuming it is something you eat.)
"Hog Butchering. Landis Valley Museum will present volunteers for the Landis Valley Cookbook Committee, in traditional dress, demonstrating the various steps to preparing a hog for consumption. Skills on display will be: scalding, sausage stuffing, lard rendering, scrapple making, and much more." (Like after a scalding demo, I'd even think about more.)
"Virginville Hotel All-U-Can-Eat Shepherd's Pie, Pork 'n' Sauerkraut." (It's a heck of a bargain, but after the scalding and the lard rendering, I've pretty much had a full evening's porkertainment.)
"The Reading Comedy Outlet at the Sheraton Berkshire presents 'Giggles & Ribs,' a comedy Dinner Package." (I like giggles, and I love ribs, and yet ...)
"2nd Story Lounge Exotic Night Club. 2-for-1 private dances. Closed Thanksgiving. Happy Thanksgiving!" (So you're saying if I want an inexpensive private dance on Thanksgiving, too bad for me???)
"The Deer Chaser Native American-Lakota Dance Troupe will perform Saturday at noon at the Narvon Valley Bison Farm, in Lancaster County." (No doubt fascinating, but is it two for one?)
"Experience the magic of Christmas at the Appalachian Pet Farm. Cougars. Bear. Monkey and Reptile room open." (Christmas isn't Christmas without monkeys and reptiles.)
Not really a weekend entertainment but a holiday bargain: The Beer Mart on Morgantown Road announces, "Beer Makes a Great Gift. Gift Certificates and Variety Packs." (It's like the gift of the drunken, bloated Magi.)
Disclaimer: All submissions will become the property of Slate and will be published at Slate's discretion. Slate may publish your name on its site in connection with your submission.