Tricks of The Trade on NPR. Maybe.

If you (1) have submitted a Trick of the Trade that I’ve used (a) either in the original article or (b) on the Tricks Of The Trade website and (2) live in Seattle (or thereabouts) and (3) are interested in being interviewed for a NPR radio piece, please drop me a line.

If you (1) only meet the latter two conditions above and (2a) have a great trick that you haven’t got around to sending me but (2b) would like to do so now, here is the submit form. Please put “Seattle” in the Occupation field (e.g., “[Seattle] Skydiving Instructor”), and be sure to include your email address.

Weasel Warning: (1) assuming this actually happens (not assured) I’ll (2) only be able to interview three or four folks, but (3) that will not prevent me from using any good tricks I get sent from people hoping to be one of them, because (4) I am an opportunistic bastard.

It’s been something of an odd week here in yetilandia. That Tricks Of The Trade article I had in the Morning News went Internet Supernova, occupying the #1 spot on both Blogdex and Daypop for most of the week and receiving mention on, Metafilter, Boing Boing, Waxy and Kottke. All this for an article that I told my Morning News editor that I’d happily to scrap if he, like me, thought that “no one else would really be interested in this.”

The strangest moment came while listening to the nationally broadcast NPR program “Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me” and hearing Dr. Ruth Westheimer get quizzed on the article I wrote. (Yes, this really happened, and you can hear it on their website.) Surrealismwise, that’s gonna be a hard one to top.

Anyway, since then I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with the hundreds of great Trade Tricks I received that didn’t get used in the article. Just compiling them into a single, massive text file somewhere was an option, but I didn’t think that would really do them justice. Plus, I haven’t really had the time to edit, sort and format 300 entries in the last few days. But tackling one entry a day — ah, now that’s a project I can handle. So, I’ll be posting the remaining submissions over at, in handy blog-format.

Also, several people wrote to suggest that I turn the who kit ‘n’ caboodle into small book, and I think I might take a stab at that. So I’m now asking for more Tricks of the Trade. If you have one that you’d like to contribute, head on over here. Even better, get your spouse or partner to send one in — a lot of my visitors have similar profession, but I figure if I can get entries from folks who are one step removed from my readership, I should wind up with a huge cross-section of occupations.

Finally, foremost, and again, thanks to everyone who responded to my original call for Trade Tricks — I really appreciate it. (Also, if you submitted something for the article but object to my using it on the new website or in this we’ll-see-if-it-actually-happens book, please let me know.)

Tricks Of The Trade

The Tricks Of The Trade article is now running at The Morning News.

A huge “thank you” to the hundreds (!!) of people who responded to my call for occupational secrets. Narrowing it down to 30 was tough, and I hope to post all the suggestions here in the near future. Again, sorry about the lack of names in the piece — since 75% of the ones I chose were submitted as “Anonymous” we decided to run them all unsigned. I also shortened some, and, since they were all submitted in different tenses (past, present, subjunctive) and persons (first-, second- and third-person), I reworded most for uniformity of voice — I hope no one is irritated by my heavy editorial hand. (Is it obvious how guilty I feel for altering your submissions?)

By the by, someone started a Metafilter thread on this topic, and more great tricks are being posted over there.

Again, thanks to everyone who wrote in. I have the best readers ever.

Tricks Of The Trade

A while back I read an interview with a birthday clown — you know, one of those guys who gets hired to entertain a bunch of yard apes at a seven year-old’s shindig? And the interviewer asked, like, “What if you’re dying out there? What if the kids are hating it?” And the subject, the interviewee-guy (I honestly have no recollection who this clown was or why I was reading this interview) said, in a pinch, he could always resort to a Funny Word. When pressed for clarification, the clown revealed a fascinating (to me) trick of the birthday clown trade: apparently every year there are two or three Funny Words, which invariably crack kids up, and when things are going sour you can just blurt one out and bring the house down. But you gotta keep up-to-date, because the Funny Words mysteriously change over time, so while “booger” might have killed in 1998, 2004 demands nothing less than a “monkey.”

Anyway, this got me wondering about other professions and other sooper secret tricks of the trade, to the point where I’d like to write an article for The Morning News on the subject. Or, to be more specific, I’d like to have a bunch of other people write the article for me.

If you’d like to contribute your own Trick Of The Trade, please do so using the form below. I can’t promise I’ll use them all, but I can promise that everyone who contributes will get to see a painting of Bea Arthur fighting a velociraptor. That’s a defective yeti guarantee.


Your Trick Of The Trade:

Update: Wow, getting some great one. Two comments. First, the vast majority of the tricks are coming in unsigned (i.e., just as “Anonymous”), which is fine but means that I will probably omit names when I compile them into the article. Just a word of warning, so no one gets irked when they don’t get proper acknowledgement. Secondly, I’m getting a lot of tricks for the same 20 jobs — you know, the jobs that everyone on the Intenet has (IT, Customer Service, Developer, etc.) so you get bonus points if you work in a slightly more unusual position like, you know, astronaut or pornstar.