BERNARD JUPITER is having a hard time with the electronic cash register. As the machine beeps a warning, the sixtyish Jupiter, his watery blue eyes peering over half glasses, struggles to find the right key. "I'm sorry, sir," he says to the man on the other side of the counter, who appears to be waiting somewhat patiently for a burger and fries. "I just started working here."

Fortunately, "here" is only a simulated fast-food joint, not the real thing. Jupiter and 19 classmates, all of them 55 or older, are the first students in an odd if hopeful training program begun...

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