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Sarah Jane Woodall: Waxing off


I was recently complaining about work, and some supercilious twat said, “Just be glad you have a job.” I hate that argument. The reality is, some jobs really do suck … and should be quit. Especially if you complain about them 24/7, yet still profess to be a badass who grabs life by the balls!

So, uncertain economy or no, I recently quit my steady job of 12 years as a souvenir photographer in the showroom at Caesars Palace. I enjoyed certain aspects of my work — meeting people from all over the world, watching many of the world’s greatest performers, a 20-hour work week — but there were many more I loathed. And one thing in particular drove me to the brink of insanity.

As you probably know, Celine Dion is the main headliner at Caesars. So the majority of my time was spent photographing Celine fans. That might sound bad enough, especially when you add in nightly subjection to the Titanic theme song (the military calls this “acoustic bombardment”). But it really wasn’t that objectionable … until the dummy arrived.

If you’ve ever been to a Celine show, you may have seen this breathtakingly hubristic wax effigy standing in the lobby — a life-size likeness of Ms. Dion, hand on heart, Heart of the Ocean (the necklace from Titanic) around her neck. We were supposed to photograph guests posing with this creepy thing: “Come take a photo with Celine!”

I was self-conscious enough about the cheesiness of my work without a life-size mannequin thrown into the mix. Now I felt stripped of all dignity. The dummy became my bête-noir, haunting my nightmares with its blankly pious expression. Even the fact that a portion of the photo sales go to a charity fund didn’t ease my humiliation. Showgoers would walk past and laugh at me outright, night after night.

The sad thing is, a good number of people actually do take and purchase photos with this dummy. So I was making decent money, but at the expense of my artistic integrity. Many in the service industry can relate — the money’s good, so the indignity of wearing a miniskirt at age 70 is tolerated by many a union cocktail waitress.

I festered in this quandary for years, until finally I had enough. I quit last week. I’d rather be broke than a shameless kitsch-monger! I feel as though an albatross — a giant wax albatross — has been lifted from my shoulders. It’s fantastic!

My one regret is that I was never able to make use of my recently acquired remote-controlled fart machine. I quit before Celine’s next engagement began, and was therefore unable to realize my dream of planting this device under the dummy’s dress while hiding behind a nearby pillar with the controls.

So my departure is tinged with sadness. I’m free — but have also deprived the world from ever hearing Celine’s greatest hit: “My Fart Will Go On.”

SARAH JANE WOODALL puts the whoopee cushion onto the chair of life. Read her blog, if you dare, at