Raise your hand if you have lost your job, know someone who has, or know someone who is worried about losing their job.

Wow. That's a lot of hands. My hand is raised, too (things aren't exactly rosy in the newspaper business).

It's all kind of depressing andndash; my eyes grow moist at the thought of so many people struggling to survive andndash; but when things get bad, I have this annoying habit of pointing out the bright side. So here it goes ...

The FBI is hiring!

That's right. The Federal Bureau of Investigation is looking for a few good G-men and G-women.

According to the FBI's Web site (www.fbi.gov,) the agency recently posted openings for 850 special agents and more than 2,100 professional support personnel. Officials say it's the largest FBI job posting since immediately after the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

The reason? Well, according to a report from CNN, a wave of unexpected retirements.

I'm thinking of applying to the FBI. Mainly because special agents get to wear black trenchcoat, sunglasses and drive sports cars with the latest in missile-guided technology. I may even get to chase flesh-eating mutants and space aliens, and use one of those cool do-dads that erases the memories of innocent bystanders.

Okay, perhaps I've watched one too many Hollywood movies, but how cool would it be to have "FBI agent" on my resume? Or show up at my high school reunion, flash my gun and badge and say "I'm Special Agent Scott Graves."

Instead of writing stories, editorials and column such as this, I could be out chasing down terrorists and bank robbers, or tracking down missing people. Or, when the weather's bad, I could use my computer skills to solve cybercrimes.

Upon capturing a suspect, I could haul him off to some deep, dark empty room with a single, bare lightbulb swinging from the ceiling. I would sit him on a hard metal chair and read aloud my past columns until he confess.


Not just anybody can be a celebrated G-man. A four-year college degree is required and all agents undergo a 16-week training course at the FBI academy.

Preference goes to people with a background in:

andbull;Computers (I'm an expert in Google!);

andbull;Foreign languages (I understand my wife sometimes);

andbull;Physical sciences (I once carried a girlfriend's biology book to class for her);

andbull;Engineering (I love playing with Legos);

andbull;Law enforcement (some of my best friends are cops!).

Starting pay for FBI agents is $47,000 to $52,000. Not a lot for someone who puts their life on the line, but I'll take it!

Applicants must be between 23 and 36 years old. Oh. That may be a deal-breaker. Perhaps I can sweet-talk my way past the FBI recruiter.

I may be 41 but I'm still young at heart. Plus, my wife says I'm immature.

Come on, give me the trenchcoat. And the dark sunglasses, too.

Or else I'll keep writing columns like this one.