Based on looks, what would they do if they didn't do what they do?

It's a horrible thing to judge people by their appearance, and that's why I try real hard not to do it. Sometimes, the best you can do is give people the benefit of the doubt. Like when I see a 120-pound white kid wearing a Notorious BIG T-shirt, two gold chains and a pink baseball cap cocked exactly 27 degrees off center, I'm not thinking "valedictorian." But I give him the benefit of the doubt and think, "Maybe charter school." If I see a fortysomething guy driving a Corvette, I don't automatically think, "dentist." Well, actually I do; there are some things you just can't help. (I actually saw that kid the other day and was proud of myself for being able to mentally offer that charter-school safety net.) I read recently that, despite advances in the area, people's appearances still have something to do with how much money they make and how far they advance in a hierarchy.

That's understandable, I suppose, what with our society's fascination with youth and beauty. It's a good thing, then, that Abraham Lincoln came along when he did. If he were alive today, the best he could hope for is portraying a Bond villain or maybe bit parts on TV as a biker dude named "'Ludes."

I think about stuff like that all the time. I assume it's because I don't have a real job that I have lots of time to think like that. However, a good case could probably be made for it being the other way around.

Anyway, I was watching the news the other night, and I started wondering what occupations (outside of entertainment or the media) the various people inside the electronic box would have, based on their appearance. For example, Guy Atchley of Channel 9 looks like he would be the manager of a furniture store. He would know all there is to know about synthetic fabrics, and he would say stuff like, "These end tables sell themselves."

Here are some of the others:

· Jimmy Stewart, the weather guy on Channel 4, looks like a high school geography teacher. He would know that Bolivia has two capitals (La Paz and Sucre) and would be able to explain why it's already tomorrow in some places. The kids would vote him one of their favorites in the yearbook, and the young female teachers would find themselves strangely attracted to him, despite (or perhaps because of) the mustard stains on his sport coat.

· Assistant UA men's basketball coach Josh Pastner would work at Best Buy. He'd have the national record for sales, and in his spare time (what the rest of us call "sleep"), he'd learn to speak lots of different languages so he could help all those people on the day after Thanksgiving. He'd also teach himself how to repair all that stuff and sell extra service contracts on the side.

· Channel 9's Destry Jetton, who recently had a National Enquirer-sized baby, has always looked like a cheerleading coach. You know, the kind who takes that stuff really seriously and claps with precision.

· Channel 13's Kris Pickel looks like she'd be Destry Jetton's regional supervisor.

· U.S. Senator John McCain looks like he'd own a roadside bar where Patrick Swayze is the bouncer and the Jeff Healey Band performs behind a fence of chicken wire.

· Patty Weiss looks like she'd be a city councilwoman, and Kathleen Dunbar looks like she'd be a TV newscaster.

· Lute Olson would be the most successful male model of all time. He would crush that J. Peterman guy from Seinfeld, and he also would have won the Dancing With the Stars championship, not that I actually watched any of that show.

· City Councilman Steve Leal looks like he would own his own restaurant. And he'd make the chips extra salty so people would buy more drinks.

As for the TV sports guys:

· Dave Silver would be a dentist.

· Scott Kilbury looks like a lawyer. But he's got a sense of humor, so he wouldn't be a really successful one.

· Dan Ryan has "coach" written all over him. He'd be the kind who did things exactly the way his coaches did them 30 years ago, and they would work just as well. Plus, he'd be able to sit around with the other coaches at Bob Dobbs and tell stories long into the night.


· UA women's basketball coach Joan Bonvicini looks like ... well, we all know who she looks like. But if that other person didn't exist, then Coach B looks like she would be a doctor. She'd be like House, a real good doctor with the bedside manner of a Republican strategist.

· Tucson Archdiocese Bishop Gerald Kicanas looks like he'd own an olive oil-importing business, except that he would actually import olive oil.

· Stidham murder case star Lourdes Lopez looks like she'd be a dancer. But not with the stars.

And yes, before you e-mail me to tell me what I look like, I already know. That's why I write and have a radio show.

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