The Great Career Switch
by: David Leonhardt
"Hello. Is the doctor in?"
"I'll be with you as soon as I finish filling in these forms."
"But I really need to see a doctor."
"There, now what can I do fo – EEEEEK! You...you....you're a grizzly bear."
"Yes, ma'am. Can I see the doctor, please?
"Wh...why would you want to see the doctor? He doesn't usually see grizzly bears, you know."
"Some movie actor thought he'd be a real smarty and kiss me."
"Oh, oh, I saw that on TV. That was Brad Pitt. You're the Brad Pitt Bear."
"That's what I've been trying to tell you."
"Ooooh, you lucky bear. How did it feel?"
"Look, miss. This actor comes up and slops one on me. Now I have icky human germs. It's given me a rash. How would you like it if Brad Pitt just walked up to you and kissed you?"
"And to add insult to injury, he recorded it on national television. How would you like that?"
"And instead of giving me antibiotics, Jennifer Aniston starts pawing me."
"I feel so used."
"Wow, for a bear, you sure lead an exciting life. Kissed by Brad Pitt. Pawed by Jennifer Aniston. National television. Ooh, how thrilling."
"I wouldn't call such abuse 'thrilling'. It's not like I have an exciting job...not like yours."
"What, this? I spend all day filling in forms."
"Wow. I've never filled in forms before."
"And I have to book appointments for sick people all day long. And people who think they are sick. And people who don't know if they are sick. And sick people who think they are not sick but don't know if they are sick. And people who are sick but think they are not sick and wonder if that means they might be sick."
"Wow. I've never helped sick people before."
"And I have to keep explaining why the doctor can't see them yet, because he is busy tending to another patient. Have you any idea how it feels to have to keep explaining that over and over, day after day, week after week?"
"Pure happiness. You must have the doctor's excuses memorized by now"
"And I am stuck here under these flood lights, force-fed muzak that sounds like somebody grabbed a CD player and stuffed it with pancake mix and maple syrop until all that is left are the beatless, rythmless memory of a pre-civilization melody."
"I love muzak. Big Griz is my favorite muzak composer."
"You like that drivel? Hmph. You would probably love this job."
"You bet! Filling in forms. Talking to people. Making appointments. Basking in glorious musak – what could be better?"
"Well, you can have it then."
"Really? But, then who will kiss Brad Pitt. It's a dirty job, but somebody has to do it."
"Hey. How about me?"
"You? You want to kiss Brad Pitt?"
"Sure, since you do need somebody to do it."
"That is so kind of you. You would sacrifice yourself for me."
"Yeah. Yeah. Move over. I've got to get puckering."
"And so, children, that's how the lady found herself stuck in the grizzly bear cage over there."
"Wow, Uncle Jimmy. You sure teach us a lot of great stuff every time we come to the zoo. I thought she was just a zookeeper cleaning the cage."
"Ah, yes, but she no longer has to listen to muzak, so she is happy. Different people like different things. What brings this lady happiness are not the same things as make a grizzly bear happy, for example. Understand?"
"I sure do, Uncle Jimmy. It also explains how come Dr. Block has such a grizzly receptionist."
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