Due to some verbal confusion, 18-year-old Marshall Finkelstein of Hackensack, New Jersey, who had always dreamed of becoming an accountant so that, like his dad, he could help people with their taxes, wound up applying - and being accepted - to taxidermy school.
"It seemed to make sense - ha, 'cents,' get it? - at the time I was applying," said the pun-loving Marshall, who's got a side interest in etymology. "The word tax, plus 'derm,' as in having skin in the game - what else could it mean but accounting?"
Marshall says he first got a glimmer that he wasn't where he'd expected to be, when he walked into a classroom only to see a pile of wild animal corpses.
"It was wild, ha, get it?" he said. "But then I thought, hey, maybe we're inventorying a fur farm or something. Hands-on valuation stuff."
Needless to say, it wasn't a class in valuation, but in stuffing animals - and to his immense surprise, Marshall found that he not only loved it, but seems to have a natural aptitude for the craft. He's now abandoned his accounting aims in favor of finishing his taxidermy certification, much to his parents' dismay.
"Yeah, they pretty much want to skewer me," said Marshall. He grinned. "But they don't know who they're dealing with. I got skills now, you know?"