Honolulu Lite


This job’s bark is
worse than its bite

Working at home is apparently a big deal, judging from the number of e-mail messages offering "Work At Home!" opportunities. Everybody wants to work at home. Nobody wants to do the vacuuming.

Let me tell you something. I work at home and it's not all soap operas and bonbons. When you work at home, you're expected to do the vacuuming. Not to mention the dishes, the laundry and the windows. Because the big suspicion is that people who work at home aren't actually working. At least not as hard as people who work in an office. And that means you have plenty of time to do the cooking, the shopping and, while you're at it, fix the roof, clean out the garage and feed the dog. Working at home is great. Your spouse or partner thinks you're retired, your colleagues hate your guts and your dog ... well, your dog thinks you're very cool because you don't give him a bath every day.

After knowing all of the above, if you'd still like to work at home, I've got the job for you. And it pays at least $80,000 a year.

You might remember that the Hawaiian Humane Society, which has a $1.6 million animal control contract with the city, has stopped handling barking dog complaints. It wanted an additional $80,000 to handle those complaints and the city didn't fork it over. Instead, the police have to deal with barking dogs, which isn't exactly why they were extensively trained in how to shoot guns, handcuff drunks, drive real fast and direct traffic around water-main breaks.

Cops are busy people with serious cop stuff to do. They are supposed to "serve and protect" not "appease and nursemaid." Having a cop handle barking dog complaints is like having astronauts take tickets at Space Mountain.

THIS IS WHERE your dream "work at home" job comes in. Eventually, the City Council is going to see the light and pay the 80 grand. But why give the money to the Humane Society?

Some enterprising citizen ought to make a pitch to become the official Dog Bark Complaint Officer. About 200 barking- or animal-nuisance complaints come in per month. At $80,000 a year, that means you get paid about $33 per complaint. And you get to work at home.

Granted, sometimes you'll have to leave your house to go see why a dog is barking. But usually all you'll have to do is call the owner of the offending dog, impress him with the powers of your office (i.e. threaten to have the dog's larynx removed and his, too, if he gives you any guff) and collect your $33. Piece a cake!

The upside is you'll make more money than you've ever made, you get to be a tough guy (or gal), you get to work with animals and you get to work at home. Downside is, if you don't have the laundry folded by the time your partner gets home, you're toast.

Charles Memminger, winner of National Society of Newspaper Columnists awards, appears Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays. E-mail

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