I’m thinking about maybe having a mid-life crisis, complete with career change. So I’m interested in this list in the January Harper’s of private-sector jobs legalized in September by the Cuban government, said legalization accompanying layoffs of some half a million state workers. Sure, that could be some fierce competition. But I’m game.
Now, and as I recently mentioned here, I do not speak Spanish. So I need a job where I will not be required to communicate with other human beings in words. That knocks from the list all the various professions involving sales: “vendor of artificial flowers,” “seller of religious articles, except those with patriotic value,” “tour guide in a colonial-style taxi,” “seller of yokes, harnesses, and ropes.”
Such careers as “documentary-film translator,” well, they are obviously out as well. “Tarot-card reader,” that I could handle, but for the language problem: I suppose I could just grunt, gesture, and Stare Meaningfully, but people having their cards read, I know from experience, usually want a little more than that.
The list also offers various manual tasks, for which, alas, I am singularly unqualified. This is because my hands, for just about any pursuit not involving typing, turning the pages of books, guiding a steering wheel, smoking cigarettes, crushing chili peppers and heaving them into various cookpots, or stroking beloved pets and persons, are pretty much, to use the rude phrase, “useless as tits on a boar hog.” So “eyeglass repairer,” “cleaner and inspector of lightbulbs,” “button sewer,” “repairer of wicker,” “restorer of dolls,” “tuner of musical instruments,” “maker of plaster figures,” and “maker of pinatas and other articles for birthday parties,” well, they’re not for me.
But I am not in despair. Oh no. Because I think I can cobble together five of the jobs on the list into a suitable new career: “clown,” “muleteer,” “pet breeder,” “zookeeper,” and “driver of animal-drawn taxis for children.” And since mules are involved, a sixth career on the list will be necessary: “magician.”