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12/17/03

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"Little Person" Unemployment Falls Below 1 Percent


LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (DPI) - Midgets, dwarfs and other height-challenged individuals who are typically discriminated against in the workplace and "looked over" for promotions are enjoying a productive November and December as TV specials, malls, stage productions and advertisers scramble to hire them to play elves.

Local talent agencies are searching to find new talent among their ranks, according to Cal Whirther of the Short & Sweet Employment Group. "Little people are in big demand," said Whirther. "To fill such tall orders, we have even had to use international agencies such as Le Petit in Canada and the Mexican firm Los Peque˜os. The last thing an employer wants is to have to resort to using an uncooperative child to play an elf in a commercial, or even worse, using someone who is just a bit smaller than normal. A 5-foot, 3-inch guy in an elf costume just looks stupid and isn't fooling anyone."

Little-people unemployment has its cyclical highs and lows dependent on carnival and circus season and the frequency of movies produced with psychedelic dream sequences and Wizard of Oz-themed scenes. But this year's job numbers dwarf those of previous years. "I can finally get out of fetish videos and into work I can be proud of," said 4-foot, 2-inch Sally Clayton. "I'm finally someone you can look up to. Gosh, it makes me feel 5 feet tall!"

Many of the wee workers have not thought past the holidays and to what January might mean to job security. Once the curly-toed shoes and felt hats have been sent to storage, demand for the diminutive tends to shrink. "Sure, it's something that looms over our heads like a pull-string on a closet light," said 4-foot, 5-inch Chester Owens. "But I already have gigs set up in the coming months as Baby New Year, Cupid, and a leprechaun for St. Patrick's Day. I figure I'll be working more steadily than that drifter they have playing Santa at the mall. The day after Christmas, no one will want their kid taking candy from a fat bearded guy who likes to make children sit on his lap."


(Reported by Buddy Fisher)




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