MAD DOG: Hey Kids, Want to be a Virgin Goddess?

WANTED: Goddess deserving of fully furnished palace, round-the-clock servants, and public adoration. Applicants must be a virgin, 5 years old or younger, able to supply peace and prosperity, and willing to relocate to Nepal. No experience necessary.
It's never too soon to start thinking about a career for your child. Well, as long as he or she's past the zygote stage. After all, even though Grandma Moses, Colonel Sanders, and Santa Claus all blossomed late in life, it's sad to think that they wasted all those years from preschool on when they could have been contributing to their parents' vacation and retirement funds.

That's why it's good to discover a new career option, especially one for young girls, who are generally limited to selling lemonade in front of the house, being rented out to childless couples so they can get extra food stamps, or being Britney Spears. It's called kumari, and they're looking for one in Nepal right now.

A kumari is a goddess who the Nepalese believe blesses the country with good times. Kind of like what George Bush thinks he's going to do for the United States except a kumari doesn't have to worry about strong-arming Congress, whether the vice-president will spend more time in the hospital than his office, or how to string three words in a row without screwing up two of them. She just needs to hang around, let her goddess luck rub off on everyone, and give a queenly wave when she rides in the annual Yeti-Fest parade in Katmandu.

In case you think five years old is too young to put your child to work, don't forget that parents have been pushing their kids into careers since Salome's mother sent her to dance school . And it's a good thing too or we wouldn't have had Shirley Temple, Tiger Woods, Michael Jackson, and Jon Benet Ramsey.

The problem is, these careers take way too much work. There's endless hours of practice, day after day, with no time for friends, family, or putting fireflies in the garden hose and watching the light loop around when you turn the water on.

Being a goddess, on the other hand, doesn't take all that much preparation. It's a natural born gift -- you either have it or you don't. There's no need to take tap dance lessons, go to the Barbizon School of Goddessing, have expensive head shots taken, or hire a sadistic Hungarian trainer who's going to make you sweat, ache, and puke forever at the mere mention of goulash.

Even so, for some reason they're not getting a lot of applicants. It might be that the essay question on the application is too difficult. After all, how many four-year-olds are prepared to explain how they'd "maintain peace and prosperity in a country with an average per capita income of $220 and a capital whose name people know only because of a lame Bob Seger song?" Or it might be that Nepalese families have a much stronger sense of tradition than we do ("But Pumpkin, no one in our family's ever been a goddess. Why don't you become a yak milker like the rest of us?").

But I suspect the main reason is job security. After all, the moment a kumari begins to menstruate she's tossed out on her erstwhile goddess butt with nary a thank you, a home edition of "Wheel of Misfortune", or a T-shirt which says, "My daughter was a goddess for seven years and all I got was this lousy T-shirt."

There's no outplacement service, no preparation for life in the real world, and no 401-K plan. Sure they can reapply in the next life, but that doesn't help them now. Thus prospective goddesses can look forward to a short-lived career with very little hope for the future, putting them in the company of Pauley Shore, Serious Yahoo, and Anna Nicole Smith unless she gives a whole lot of her inheritance to Jenny Craig. Is it any wonder parents are pushing their daughters to get an education instead of becoming a goddess?

Peaking at such a young age is difficult, but nothing new. Look at Nadia Comaneci, the Taco Bell Chihuahua, and the Olsen twins. The truth is, this is the natural order of life. By design, humans have their physical peak at about age 20. While this is particularly depressing news for anyone who's over the age of, say, 20, it's not much better for anyone who's old enough to be reading this. While some of us (who shall remain unnamed) may be over this physical hill, others (you know who you are) only have a few more good years left before starting to fall apart.

That will teach you to laugh before you finish reading a paragraph.

In spite of all this, I expect that once word gets around parents all over the globe will start preening their young ones to be a Nepalese goddess. It would be a great experience, will look terrific on a resume, and best of all, what better way is there to make sure your daughter's virginity stays intact until puberty than round-the-clock body guards?

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