Apparently, the new way to become a pop-culture icon is to have a humdrum vocation.

Witness the two (yes, two) movies about mall cops now playing at your local multiplex -- quite possibly at a locale where a real-life rendition is lollygagging about.

Or the fact that it's almost impossible to surf through heretofore highbrow-ish cable networks such as A&E, Discovery and the History Channel without encountering commercial fishermen, truck drivers, tree-cutters or bail-bond henchmen. As the stars of the show, no less.

This is all worthwhile work, to be sure, but even the most grandiose Joe and Josephine Lunchbucket probably never thought of what they do as TV or movie fodder.

Well, think again. With 57 channels and virtually nothing on, and with Hollywood poohbahs a lock to ape the stunning success of "Paul Blart: Mall Cop," we're guaranteed a plethora of programming about prosaic professions. A few possibilities:

"Pile Drivers": Snowplow operators, aka "The Men Behind the Blade," vie to see who can bury a parked Prius with the most speed and style. Winners get their very own Zambonis.

"Extreme Makeover: Meter Maid Edition": This groundbreaking series creates stars from several heretofore drab, women-dominated jobs besides the titular one, as cosmetologists, body-waxers, seamstresses and manicurists transform uniformed Plain Janes into Lovely Ritas.

"Clean Break": Janitors discuss the works of the masters and the back stories of artifacts as they apply special cleaning techniques to the loos at the Louvre, the galleries at the Guggenheim, etc.

"Pedicurists to the Stars": In-depth profiles of the folks who help ballet dancers, figure skaters, soccer players and the stars of sword-and-sandal epics put their best feet forward. Packaged with:

"Valets of the Dolls": An inside look at what inquiring drivers unearth in the consoles of celebrity bimbos lunching in El-Lay.

"Saul Smart: Shopping Cart Wrangler": A mild-mannered Target employee whiles away the days (highlight: multi-cart figure-eight races in the parking lot) until some crooks take all the cashiers hostage -- and he must take the law into his own hands.

"There's Nothing to See Here, Move Along, Please": Movie ushers compete to see who can nab the most under-aged patrons at an R-rated movie. Prizes include a backstage pass for an Usher concert and a cameo in the next "Jackass" movie.

Bill Ward • 612-673-7643