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The one feel-good story – Metro US

The one feel-good story

The news is pretty grim these days (that’s an understatement), but if you haven’t heard about The Best Job in The World, you’re missing the one news story on the planet guaranteed to make you feel better and get you through the rest of this #$%^&*! Winter of ’09.

Back in January, someone in the Queensland Department of Tourism had an inspired idea. What if we start a job search for the best job in the world? And so they did, and they’re not kidding. Based on all criteria and the Geneva Convention, this is the best job in the world.

It’s a six-month contract for a “caretaker” for the Islands of the Great Barrier Reef.

The successful applicant basically plays tourist on some of the world’s most beautiful tropical islands, is required to blog about their experience once a week, and gets paid the equivalent of $124,000 for the, um, task.

You’re immediately tempted to ask, “what’s the catch?” And those clever Aussies have that one listed in their website’s FAQ, under “Is this a real job?” assuring visitors that yes, it is and no, there is no catch. Just apply, mate.

Sadly, while I was dreaming about refilling the towel dispensers on Daydream Island, just one of the 900 islands in the world’s largest coral reef system, 34,684 real applicants got busy and sent in their applications, which include a one-minute video. So many people just wanted to bang on their drum all day, they crashed the site.

Tourism Queensland has just announced the top 50 applicants and the lucky 50 and their videos are posted on www.islandreefjob.com. You can vote for your favourite, and the applicant with the most votes gets an interview along with 10 others selected by Tourism Queensland. It is a “real job,” after all.

Of course, anyone can see through all this malarkey. It’s just the most clever tourism promotion ever.

And it doesn’t hurt that it’s the antidote to the worst winter in the worst economy in decades.

Maybe that’s why such a disproportionate number of the final 50 are Canadians. Desperation breeds creativity. Three are from B.C., one is from Alberta and two are from Ontario.

Anny Chih of Vancouver gets big marks for her irresistibly cute video, but Mitchell from Ontario is the Canadian to beat. He staged a musical job application on a busy downtown street with a cast of dozens that rivals the best of Broadway. Mamma Mia!

So most of us aren’t going to get the job of island caretaker, but at least we can vote for our choice.

Maybe they’ll send us a sack of sand in gratitude. We better roll up our sleeves, though, because Mitchell’s currently in second place behind Julia, the Russian Bond girl, who is way out in the lead with 4005 votes and counting.

Then again, maybe you’d consider a write-in campaign for me, your favourite columnist.

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