Penguin's Best Housekeeping Service, LLC

by Andrea Peyser, Columnist of the Year
New York Post, Saturday, February 5, 2005

  Martha Stewart and I have something in common.
  It seems that I suffer from severe masochistic tendencies, compounded by delusions of gross inadequacy.
  Or more likely, I'm just a bitch.
  Which means Martha and I should get along just fine.
  Yesterday, I stood on line on Wall Street. For four hours. Starting at dawn - which is like asking Star Jones to pay retail for bridesmaids' gowns.
  In the freezing rain and walloping wind, I took my place alongside several hundred of my fellow pain-seekers. We all sought one thing: A job.
  Not just any job. I was applying to work as Martha Stewart's personal slave.
  Now I'm as into honest labor as the next fool. But I want more. I want to know what it's like to feel the brunt of the diva of incarceration's spiked Manolo.
  To strengthen my soul by fetching lattes for a dame who doesn't know the meaning of "Please, "Thank you," or "Sure I'll share my soap!"
  Hey, if I have to be a bitch, let me be Martha's
  Résumé in hand, I marched into a casting call for TV's "The Apprentice: Martha Stewart."
  Now Martha is ready to leap straight from the joint into America's living rooms, setting herself up as an icon for how to succeed in business without the nuisance of following the law. I want to come with her.
  On the application, I figured I'd try the truth, even if that feat is not part of Martha's skill set.
  Under "Experience," I included: "Trashing Martha Stewart in my column."
  What else might I bring to Martha's table? To me, cooking is for people who haven't mastered ordering out. And, I figure, why clean the house when you can move?
  I can't sew. Or knit. If I need to knock in a nail, I find a man.
  And any plant that's ever summoned the courage to share my living space has died a ghastly death.   So under "Domestic Skills," I put: "Absolutely none."
  Then came the interview.
  With ice blocks for feet, I stomped inside 40 Wall St., where I was teamed with nine would-be apprentices.
  They ranged in style and fashion sense from Earth Mother to Mourner. They sat with hands folded and flatlining pulses. A perky interviewer got the earnest crowd rolling with a probing question:
  "What's the most amazing thing you've ever done?"
  Going first, I thought it best to tame my answer to a PG rating.
  "I covered the Martha Stewart trial," I said.
  "You covered Martha's trial?!" the interviewer shrieked, equal parts proud, incredulous—and freaked out. "Wow!"
  "Who's next?"
  So much for me.
  Of the eight women, all but one were dressed for a wake. A bespectacled chap I think of as "Geek Boy," who listed baking as a passion, rambled on charitably about Martha.
  "Everyone has a different value system," he said.
  Chubby Girl offered:"The process of achieving is worth taking a lot of opportunity to do that in many areas." We nodded like we knew what the hell she meant.
  Then, Nicky Tomboulides, a frisky gal in hot pink from Connecticut, piped up.
  The most amazing thing she's done—"is actually cooking a pot roast." "You think a pot roast is amazing?" the interviewer said, looking at her as if she'd sprouted additional heads.
  "Well, I can't cook," Nicky said sweetly.
  Trump swirled into the rooms, looking tanned and pleased with the size of the crowd. I advised him to hire Nicky immediately.
  Me, I'm still holding out for a job with Martha.
  C'mon, girl, it'll be fun! And I promise not to cry, whine, or turn you in to the feds.