Shortly after the election Art Letscher, assistant dean at the Wharton Business School, received a plea for help from a Wharton alumnus, Hugh Carter, the assistant to the president. Carter wanted to know if Letscher would be able to set up counseling sessions for White House staffers. Letscher quickly rounded up some associates from his school, Boston College and private consulting firms to give members of the ousted White House corps a quickie lesson in job-hunting. "It's not usual," White House staff director Alonzo McDonald said. "But it just seemed like a humanitarian thing to do." -- States News Service, Nov. 26
"Who needs whiz kids?" L.L. (Lotsa Luck) Stumbo said, flicking a cigar ash the size of a beetle onto the floor. "I already got the contract on The Lost Tribes of Carter, and if they want jobs I'll get 'em jobs."
Stumbo is founder and president of Skwatz, Inc., an employment agency that specializes in finding jobs for the hopeless. By submitting the lowest bid to the Office of Economic Opportunity, Stumbo's company -- "When your luck's so bad you think you're gonna plotz, You need us 'cause you got Skwatz" -- got the contract to relocate all those Democrats facing unemployment in the wake of the Republican landslide.
Stumbo's bid -- "I told 'em I'd do it for 20 bucks a pop, but they had to give me an unlimited supply of dimes so I could Xerox the resumes at the machine at the 7-Eleven" -- was by far the lowest received by the OEO, and since Election Day he has been hard at work in his Adams Morgan office, the former site of C'monamyhouse, the national airline of Paraguay.
Stumbo's desk, in fact, is hardly visible under the piles of resumes he has received from displaced Democrats. "I'm up to my keester in qualifications," Stumbo said recently. "This isn't my normal kind of clientele. My usual people get stuck on questions, like 'Name' and 'Country of Citizenship.' These Democrats want to know how come my employment form doesn't ask for 'Chairmanships of Charitable Organizations.' They don't know that Skwatz, Inc. usually deals with people who think the Fortune 500 is a car race in Palermo.
"I'll tell ya, these guys they come in here in their fancy suits with their fancy resumes and they want these fancy jobs. Like jobs at 60K, ya know? 60K? If I could get anyone a job at 60K, it would be me and then you could take Skwatz and file it in the Potomac. I'm sorry I even made a bid on this job; the only reason I did it was because I thought it would make Skwatz a high-class act, give me something to stall the creditors with. But these Democrats are driving me crazy. I mean if they're so damned special, what are they doing here, right? What do I know from fancy degrees?I don't know Celsius.
"They come in here, all dolled up, calling me, 'Hey, Stumbo' like I'm some sort of canned spam, and the first thing I do is, I say, 'The name's L.L., as in Lotsa Luck, which is what you're gonna need, Mr. Big Shot. Now you get the hell out of here until I buzz for you.' I don't mind telling you that this may be my toughest gig ever. I got jobs. I got lots of jobs. But they're not the kinds of jobs with what these guys call 'perks.' Like the jobs I'm talking about, the only kind of accident coverage you get is a sheet over your face if you can't leave the scene of the accident."
Stumbo then went on to list some of the jobs he had available. After removing some of the least attactive from the list -- jobs like dressing up like a monkey for nearsighted kids at a petting zoo -- he finally came up with his Top 10, the best career opportunities available for people with indeterminate skill and no time to train.
Growth Industries. "Specialized farming, like growing naugas for hides, growing polyester, growing American cheese so we don't have to depend on foreign imports like Swiss. I'm looking for that day when we can not only grow our own cheese, but we can grow it already individually wrapped in paper, so you can pop it straight from the ground into your mouth."
Animal Husbandry. "Look, we gotta do something about the divorce rate among animals. I can understand a bull wanting to play the field, but seriously, it's gotta be the loneliest thing in the world, being a bachelor old goat."
Military Service. "All these guys come in here talking about getting jobs in the private sector. Finally, it hits me. They can enlist in the Army and in no time at all they'll make private, maybe even private first class."
Sell Blood. "Most of these guys are your basic bleeding-heart liberals anyway, so they oughta be happy with a chance to do their thing and get paid for it. For years these Democrats have been take-take-take. Now they can give a little. From what I've heard, that guy Brzezinski can make a fortune. They don't even have to freeze-dry his blood, because it'll come right out of his veins like ice."
Condominium Development. "Let's face it, the whole world's going condo. I see this as a fancy research job. You go into some lab, throw some stuff in a test tube and see if you can develop a condominium. But a really class one, with carpet on the walls, a Chinese restaurant downstairs and lots of Pan Am stewardesses."
Sports. "You see the kind of money athletes are making lately? I think surfing is gonna make a big comeback, especially here in the East. Now you may think that because there's no water in Washington it wouldn't have a chance, but I'm talking about Surfing for the '80s -- technological surfing. I think all you have to do is produce a bunch of giant radar ranges, and then you could get the thrill of hanging 10 and riding the perfect microwave all the way through a meat loaf."
Collection. "I know what's happening. I know all about 'collectables.' I say collection is where it's at. But you gotta collect things that nobody's been collecting before. Collect Velcro. It's perfect. You can store it anywhere, even on your ceiling, and if you Velcrotize your whole house you'll never have to worry about your kids running through the rooms like a bunch of crazies. First wall they hit -- boom, they stick like glue. Sure, you say, what kind of market is there for Velcro? Look, they laughed at Hector Schmidlap when he set out to invent the portable elevator, and nobody's laughing now, are they?"
Industrial Plants. "Everywhere I go everybody's talking up industrial plants. Well, let's go for it. Let's do some research and come up with some industrial-strength ferns and geranimums."
Body Building. "Another thing you hear about since Reagan got elected is an arms buildup. Well, where's a guy supposed to go to build up his arms if not to a gym? And all this talk led me to think about my constitutional right to bear arms. Well, what about the right to arm bears? I tell you a person could make a fortune selling arms to bears."
Cabinets. "You heard right, cabinets. Reagan is appointing all these guys to cabinet-level positions -- who's making the cabinets? Democrats are artsy. They can make cabinets. And speaking of artsy, artsy is in now with Reagan's kid being a dancer. In fact, I think art is gonna be boffo biz soon, and if you want a tip from Lotsa Luck -- I'm talking gratis here -- you ought to start getting into functional sculpture, like wax paper sculpture. It's along the same theoretical lines as collecting Velcro. You build this giant wax paper sculpture, and then if you run out of Glad bags, you can rip a little off to wrap a sandwich."
"So, what I'm telling you is that there are jobs out there. I know. It's my business to know these things. You don't get in now, sooner or later you're gonna have Skwatz."