THE AVERAGE INTERNSHIP GIVES YOU the opportunity to add a few lines to your résumé, usually something like “Responsibilities: Circulated daily planning update to senior staff. . . .” Wouldn’t it be better to be able to write something like “Drove enormous wiener across the U.S.” or “Wiped up sweat of very tall millionaires” or “Picked up supervisor’s lunch while dressed in a diaper”? We talked to a few students whose internships have enabled them to do just that.
Jonathan Rhudy, a 1995 graduate of James Madison University, is in the middle of a yearlong paid internship as a Hotdogger. He drives around the South in the Wienermobile, a 27-foot-long frankfurter-shaped car, to promote Oscar Mayer meat products. A journalism and communications major, Rhudy is a real company man who likes to sprinkle hot dog puns in his conversation.
How did you get the internship?
Well, I kind of recruited Oscar Mayer for the job. I found out they had Wienermobiles and needed drivers. I had to sing the wiener jingle and the bologna song. I cut the mustard and landed the job driving a 27-foot-long frankfurter.
What kind of qualifications do you need?
You have to learn to watch your buns in traffic and stay out of pickles.
What is your favorite event?
Children’s hospitals are always very rewarding. We wear official Hotdogger gear, which consists of the wiener jingle embroidered onto my shirt, hot dogs embroidered all over my clothes, and the wiener watch, which keeps wiener time.
Have you had any humiliating moments?
Not many. People ask, “Aren’t you embarrassed to drive a hot dog for a living?” And I just look at them and say, “This is my company car. This is the best company car ever.”
TRAINER IN TRAINING
Anthony Goenaga, a senior biology major at the State University of New York at Purchase, works three days a week with Michael Saunders, the New York Knicks’ trainer, at SUNY’s gym, where the team trains. Goenaga receives two credits.
How did you get this job?
I used to work in the gymnasium. I would see Michael Saunders around. When I realized I wanted to do physical therapy, I asked him if I could do an internship.
What do you actually do?
I’m not allowed to do any actual physical therapy work ’cause I’m a liability. But I do get to see what goes on with the trainers. Whenever they need something, I go get it done. I set up the tape trays with different kinds of tapes and keep logs. If the water in the hot packs is getting low, I fill it up.
What are the perks?
I’ve met all the players. I get to go to the games now, and I sit right by the bench. In the gymnasium, if I see them shooting alone, I offer to pass the ball to them. You know, I rebound and pass it to them, rebound and pass it to them.
What are some of the more unusual tasks?
Preparing tape cushions. Each one has to have lubrication on it. You’re there all day doing that. And every time you see a big glob of sweat on the floor, you wipe it off with a towel ’cause it can cause a major injury. When the players fall on the floor, they’re sweating so much, they leave a big, big wet mark. They go really hard, and you don’t want them to wipe out.
HOWARD’S MR. POTATO HEAD
Steve Grillo, a fifth-year senior at Hunter College, in New York, has been an unpaid intern at The Howard Stern Show since 1992. He is a communications major with a theater minor, and he hopes to finish college some day.
What kinds of things do you do for Howard?
I make sure Howard gets in the building OK. I answer the phones. I help Robin [Quivers] do the news. I take care of celebrity guests. I have to make sure Howard has his breakfast at 7:30, and I get him his lunch at 10 a.m. He says I have the most important job on that radio show, getting him his food. All he eats is turkey and a baked potato. I peel a potato for him every morning, cut it up and put it in the microwave.
What’s the most humiliating thing that’s happened?
Hands down, when I got my head shaved on the radio. Howard always makes fun of the fact that I’m losing my hair. He got everyone to put up money to dare me to shave my head. I wouldn’t do it. I’ve got, like, scars on my head. Then they upped the ante. It got to a point where I couldn’t refuse the money.
Because I get his food, Howard calls me his Gunga Din. So one day he says, “I have an outfit for you,” and made me dress up in a turban and this big diaper and sandals, and I had to go downstairs to the deli and get his food. I was in such a bad mood.
Didn’t you once get some action through the show?
Oh, that’s 1994. We were rehearsing for Howard’s New Year’s Eve pageant. I met one of the girls at the hotel bar, got really drunk. She was probably one of the prettiest girls in the pageant. We went upstairs and had sex. It was the one and only time I had sex without a condom. She was a good girl. She wasn’t one of these girls sticking maggots down her pants. Howard brought it up on the air and asked me if I used a condom. I finally said no. Top five worst moves I ever made in my life. The thing that sucked was that I had to go home to my parents. They heard it on the radio. Nothing like going home to Mom after you’ve been ostracized for having sex.