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He Thought He Was Over the Hump and Then . . .


Ever since the Federal Trade Commission announced plans to bounce Joe Camel from cigarette ads, the tobacco spokesdromedary has been busting his hump looking for new work.

So far, he's still unemployed, but we can think of some choice prospects for the Humped One.

* July: In recognition of his ability to influence impressionable youths, Camel is named "official baby sitter recruitment agent" for the Kennedy clan. He also moonlights as a "talent scout" for Michael Jackson.

* August: The Defense Department nominates Camel to head the Joint Chiefs of Staff, but the bid runs into trouble when a supermarket tabloid publishes photos of the dromedary having an affair with Frank Gifford.

* September: Madonna asks the controversial camel to father her next child.

* October: Facing a huge cash shortfall from repaying illegal campaign contributions, the Democratic Party invites Camel to be its celebrity spokesman, hoping he can persuade kids to donate their allowance money.

* November: Camel is named interim LAPD chief. In an effort to rehabilitate his public image, he orders all cigarettes sold in the city to be equipped with miniature catalytic converters to reduce secondhand smoke. The cost of a pack of cigarettes rises to $7,000.

* December: Camel is fired as police chief after posing in a Calvin Klein underwear ad.

* January: Despondent over the latest uproar, Camel goes into seclusion with longtime friends Mr. Ed, Francis the Talking Mule, Spuds McKenzie and Barney the Dinosaur (who, incidentally, smokes four packs a day).

* February: Camel emerges from hiding with an emotional appearance on "Oprah." He tells the audience he has "come to terms with who I am, a merchant of death."

* March: Camel is hired as image consultant for ValuJet and Jack Kevorkian.

* April: Found to have a rare form of hump cancer, Camel sues former employer R.J. Reynolds.

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