By Justin Clark
Everybody loves Mario. He's everybody's favorite, adventurous Italian plumber, and he's been running around saving princesses for a tiny shade under 30 years now. Contrary to popular belief, Princess Peach isn't being held hostage by fire breathing turtles all the time, and a full-time freelancer like Mario has to do some thing to fill the time.
A career stretching over 30 years is going to have a few things Big M can't be too proud of, though, and we've managed to cull together a fascinating list of which for your perusal and for the benefit of any job recruiters who should get a visit and a resume from any red-clad, mustachioed plumbers in the future.
Demolitions Expert (Wrecking Crew, 1985, NES)
Not exactly a big leap for a professional plumber, and surely, his future stint as running, jumping savior of Mushroom Kingdom had to prep him for random bursts of fire and upright-walking snakes just chilling on a construction site he's trying to tear down single-handedly with a hammer, but surely, the moonlighting had to cause some issues with Mario's teamster union.
Typing Instructor (Mario Teaches Typing, 1992, PC)
Through what can only be assumed to be court-ordered community service, Mario had an educational phase back in the early-to-mid '90s, and one of his stints to give back to the people from whom he had taken so, so much in coins was to teach typing on PCs the world over. It mostly involved Mario telling you how to use home row by hitting his head on bricks that had the right key press labeled on it. It'd be a teaching method worth looking into if that wasn't Mario's solution to all of his problems.
Animal Trapper (Donkey Kong Jr., 1982, Arcade/NES)
Yes, kids, the Donkey Kong story had kind of a terrifying post-script where Mario crates up the big ape, and tries to escape the jungle. Kong's outraged, t-shirt wearing spawn tracks him down, and Mario unleashes a surprisingly advanced collection of free-roaming trapping devices to put Junior back in his place. Not exactly Mario's proudest moment, but to be fair, dudes from Brooklyn in the '80s didn't mess around when someone made a move on their girl, let alone dragged her to the top of a construction site and tried to kill her boyfriend with a barrel.
Boxing Referee (Punch-Out!!, 1987, NES)
Who even knows how he ended up here, or when in 1987 he even found the time to go through the certification process, but sure enough, there's Mario, officiating boxing matches like it's no big deal. Then again, this is a boxing league where weight classes are just a suggestion, Indian Teleportation Magic is legal and refs don't stop the fight the first time you hit a fat dude in the mouth so hard his pants fall down. Clearly, standards are different.
Carnie (Mario The Juggler, 1991, Game & Watch)
Yeah, remember that whole thing about downtime in the Mushroom Kingdom? Well, hard times apparently fall on everybody, and at some point before Super Mario World, Mario was reduced to juggling for change and stars on the streets for the amusement and derision of all. Seriously, look at Toad, laughing his smug ass off down there. This is Mario's darkest timeline.
General Medical Practitioner (Dr. Mario, 1990, NES)
We're just gonna go ahead and assume some sort of "Catch Me If You Can" scenario happened here where Mario managed to steal a white coat and hide out from the still-miffed Koopa family at a hospital for a while. Because as terrifying as it may be for a patient to find out the guy writing his antiviral scripts spends his weekends unclogging toilets and jumping on turtles, somehow it's less terrifying than the idea that Mario went to four years of Mushroom Kingdom Med School, passed boards, spent two years in rotations getting bitched out by attendings, lost a patient then spent an entire weekend getting wasted on shrooms, screaming in vain about how he just "wanted one more life," got clean, finished his doctorate and now throws giant pills directly at malignant diseases to make them go away. On weekends, he goes on adventures for gold coins to pay back his loan debt.