The end of World War II left thousands of German rocket scientists out of work. Many of them wanted to escape to Argentina. Unfortunately, they also wanted to bring their work with them, but few emigrants thought raining V2s on Buenos Aires would enhance their chances for asylum.
In a brilliant move, today known as the brain drain, the United States enticed Germany’s best and brightest scientists to live in our country. They were so glad they were going to California and not Nuremberg they helped us put men on the moon.
Now, apparently, those wonderful folks who brought us the Second World War want to square the deck.
A German institute is offering a job that includes a regular paycheck, medical benefits and life in a country that considers beer a food.
In return, they expect you to do absolutely nothing.
You pretty much lie in bed. The hardest thing in the job’s description is opening your pay envelope. (If you can arrange for direct deposit the job is even easier.)
Once in a while, a team of experts lifts you onto a table, wheels you over to a centrifuge and spins you around for a while. The idea is to get some blood into your feet. Apparently, doing nothing is hard on your lower extremities.
(This occupational hazard might one day qualify you for disability pay, although you’ll have to take up bowling or rock wall climbing. If the Germans catch you doing nothing losing your benefits will be the nicest thing that happens.)
Job experts predict that it’s only a matter of time before US companies hire people to do nothing, lest we watch our civic pride deteriorate as our best and brightest do-nothings put their expertise to work for a foreign power
(The wood-paneled conference room of a large, American corporation. A human resources interviewer sits on one side of a conference table. Not far from his right hand is a bell, the kind you ring for service in a dry cleaners.)
INTERVIEWER: Fred, I see you have a degree from USC.
FRED: Uh, huh.
INTERVIEWER: A little too ambitious for us. (He rings the bell. DING.) Next.
FRED: But my parents bribed the debating team coach…
INTERVIEWER: So you didn’t exactly work….
FRED: Never touched a number two pencil.
INTERVIEWER: We’ll let you know. Next. (DING)
(A young woman in her early twenties enters. Her makeup is ghastly but it makes her look good in selfies, which she takes throughout the interview.)
INTERVIEWER: What makes you think you’re good at doing nothing uh…
(He looks at her application.)
SNOWFLAKE: I spend all my time on Instagram.
INTERVIEWER: Got plenty of those. (DING.) Next.
SNOWFLAKE: No you don’t.
SNOWFLAKE: My mother says there’s no one like me in the whole world.
INTERVIEWER: (DING, DING, DING, DING, DING.)
SNOWFLAKE: Can I take a selfie with your bell?
(A tall senior citizen enters. He has all his hair, including a full beard.)
MITCHELL: I sent you my résumé.
INTERVIEWER: Initiative is hardly a trait you want to see in someone who does nothing. (DING.) Next.
MITCHELL: If you’ll only give me a chance.
INTERVIEWER: Do you realize there are thousands of people who haven’t sent me résumés that I can choose from? Why would I want you? (DING.) Next.
MITCHELL: Because I have more experience than they do.
INTERVIEWER: (sighs) That’s what they all say. I think it has to do with the internet making nothing so accessible.
MITCHELL: But do those people have references?
INTERVIEWER: If they were out collecting references they wouldn’t be doing nothing, now would they? (He raises his hand over the bell.)
(The interviewer lowers his hand.)
MITCHELL: Would it help if I told you I worked for the government?
INTERVIEWER: Ahh, now we’re getting somewhere. What did you not do?
MITCHELL: Every time you read that nothing happened in Washington…
MITCHELL: …that was me.
INTERVIEWER: Impressive. How long have you been doing nothing?
MITCHELL: Since 1985. But for the last four years I’ve been in charge of doing nothing.
INTERVIEWER: Say…do I know you?
MITCHELL: Why do you ask?
INTERVIEWER: Because your beard is coming off and now I can see that you don’t have a neck. You’re Mitch McConnell.
MITCHELL: (sings) I’ve got plenty of nothing…
McConnell remains in the interviewer’s office for six hours while reading aloud from a 1987 copy of the Manhattan telephone directory. During that time, the interviewer gets nothing done. He gets a promotion.
McConnell returns to Washington and schedules a fact-finding tour to Germany.
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