Sometimes a little extra cash isn't worth it - not when it requires you to sniff armpit sweat.
In one of the latest scientific discoveries using human guinea pigs, researchers have determined that close romantic partners unknowingly smell each other's emotions.
Why this is important, I don't know. Generally, I haven't had to sniff the air to know whether I'm in trouble.
Researchers from Houston's Rice University presented their findings a couple weeks back at the Association for Psychological Science's annual convention.
Twenty couples who lived together watched videos that evoked fear, unhappiness, arousal or neutral feelings. Underarm pads soaked up their sweat.
Then the soppy pads were plopped into jars. Participants inhaled the stink from four jars, one being their spouse's and the rest belonging to strangers of the opposite sex. The goal - try to identify which came from a person experiencing a particular feeling, such as happiness.
The results: Participants nailed specific emotions from their partner's body odor nearly two-thirds of the time, and about 50 percent of the time for opposite-sex strangers.
I don't know what kind of stipend these sniffers received. Personally, as far as side jobs go, I'll pass rather than pass out.
Probably the most common human guinea pig job is participating in medical studies. You know those warnings that this drug could cause ''fever, chills, sneezing, rashes, drowsiness, restlessness, double vision, death or even the propensity to dance polkas on Main Street'' - it's the human guinea pig's job to find out the symptoms.
I met a guy who makes a good living off this. Drug companies put him up in a luxury hotel for three months or so, all expenses paid. All he has to do is pop the pills - which might turn out to be the sugar blot placebo - and allow researchers to take blood samples and record his vital signs several times a day. Then he pockets a wad of cash and goes on an exotic trip until the next drug test.
There's barely any work involved and he's almost used to having the extra eye in his forehead and the six or seven toes on each foot. But he's happy.
I'd rather skip the medical field.
College classmate Carolyn was on tap to earn 40 bucks or so from the psychology department just to go to a grocery store and intentionally annoy people so researchers could observe their reactions.
Fortunately for the good name of our university, the study was squelched. My research concluded that this annoyed Carolyn. Never had she looked forward to a job with such enthusiasm.
The Consol Energy Center, the new home for the Pittsburgh Penguins, collected 250 students to simultaneously flush all the toilets in the arena to make sure the system could handle it.
I'm holding out for furniture tester. Some manufacturers actually hire people to take their mattresses and recliners for test drives. Now that's a side job that perfectly fits my natural talents.
What does my wife think about this plan? I'm not sure. Does anyone know exactly what ''happy'' smells like?
----- There's something in Cole's desk that smells rather emotional. We recommend holding your breath when you write him at firstname.lastname@example.org.