Like most people in these clinically depressed economic times, I’m willing to do pretty much anything for a buck, as long as I get to keep 78% of my clothes on and there is nothing illegal about it. Shame? Shame has no place when you’re managing a double-digit bank account and kids with a fancy-macaroni-and-cheese habit to support. As a consequence, I work not only for the fire department, I work in a (very legal, thankyouverymuch) moonshine and spirits plant, I pick up handyman gigs despite not being THAT handy and other assorted odd jobs.

One such gig I came across as a result of filming PSA’s for breast cancer awareness was more odd than most. I was asked if I wanted to be a “fire service professional” in locally produced infomercials on occasion. Seemed less than freaky, albeit cheesy, but hey, a paycheck is a paycheck and it’s not as if I’m exactly threatening my non-existent brand by doing some low-rent acting. So, last summer we made a spot out in the middle of nowhere, trying to convince people that a certain kitchen safety device would, indeed, be a useful tool, since according to the National Fire Protection Association, “cooking is the leading cause of home structure fires and home fire injuries.” Trying so hard NOT to look like a Will Ferrell spoof, I did what they asked me and got a handy little check for a few hours work.

This is probably how hookers feel, at first.

Fast forward to now, where the specter of my “acting work” is limited to late night viewings in Germany, where I like to picture I am kind of like the Hasselhoff of early morning infomercials. Without hearing from the production company for a while, it seemed like that may have been a one-time thing; that’s probably for the best. If my co-workers get wind of this, I’ll never hear the end of it. And then, I get a random call informing me that there is another need for a firefighter in an infomercial, it’s easy work, are you interested? Of course I am, I respond, as I run the coffee maker through the beans a second time to economically wring out another cup.

“Ok”, they say, “this one is going to get a little weird.”

And THIS is is how it must feel when hookers make the transition from streetwalking to making porn.

“Yeah, I’m not into weird stuff”, I reply, leery of what that might entail.

“No, no, nothing like that. This is a foot care product that we’re shooting and we need someone like a firefighter who works on their feet to endorse the product. It’s simple. We’ll just take some video of you cleaning your feet, we’ll send you off to get a professional pedicure and then take some after-shots as well as some B-roll of you in uniform and a testimonial.”

And THIS is how it must feel when porn stars are told they’re going to be in foot-fetish movies.

I glance at my utility bill, then to my bare feet, and then to my bank statement and take all of 3.5 seconds to reply, with an an ever-increasing lack of shame…

“Sure. When do you want to do this thing?”

And THAT is how I found the lengths to which I’ll go for fancy macaroni and cheese for my kids.