In 1997, I really did that. I talked to the hand. Before you assume I’ve lost every grammatically correct marble in my head, let me explain.
It was April, 1997. I was looking for a summer job, and would be graduating from university with my second degree (my education degree, my first one is a degree in
useless facts that couldn’t even win me a spot as a contestant on Jeopardy history) I saw an advertisement for a camp counselor type job, except it wasn’t really a “camp”, it was more like a summer program for ESL (English second language) students who were looking to learn english. It seemed interesting. I figured I could pad my resume with it (it sort of looked like teaching) and it paid.
I got an interview. Little did I know the interview would last ALL. DAY. LONG. I was
held hostage in a ‘camp’ like atmosphere with other applicants. We were forced to endure endless get to know you games until our eyes bled participated in a day long workshop which was similar to what the students in the program go through. The experience was designed to humiliate, degrade and test how desperate we were to make minimum wage simulate an authentic ESL learning experience for us would-be instructors; allowing us a taste of hell of what the students would go through. Apparently it was supposed to make us more empathetic or something. Whatever.
So I played along. I sang the cheesy songs. I wore the funny hats. I participated in the games which murdered ethnic surnames (done on purpose to see if you’d notice, and to make you aware of how insulting it is to butcher the pronunciation of a foreign last name) All the while, we ‘applicants’ were being sized up by the powers that be. Sneaky eh? Oh yeah. They put us through our paces to see whether or not we would ‘fit’ their job description, and then, based on our ‘performance’ they would decide whether we were worthy of a position at their camp.
I played nice; which for me, the world’s biggest NON CAMPER was a stretch. I am an only child. I do not play well with others. On top of that, I am a type “A” introvert. I do not share my crayons AT ALL, nor do I find participating in camp songs, games or activities something I desire or need to do. Ask me to run my ass of in a game of Duck Duck Goose and you’d better have a cold beer and a wad of cash waiting for me at the finish line. I don’t do camp. At all.
So where was I? Oh yes, playing nicely, wearing hats, singing songs, rolling on the floor acting out charades….
Then came the actual ‘interview’ portion of the day.
All of the applicants were interviewed individually by the camp staff. Simple enough. This is where I could shine. Screw singing songs about fruit. I can perform verbal gymnastics with the best of them to sell myself. Piece of cake!
It was my turn. I brought my resume to the table, put on my best smile, and sat anticipating the first question (thinking it would be about my education or experience I could bring to the position).
And then they brought out the puppet. A puppet. I kid you not. And a video camera.
I looked around, thinking I was on some sick version of Muppet Candid Camera. Nope. I, the holder of TWO degrees (and thousands of dollars in student loans) was supposed to beg a puppet for a job.
I drew the line. All day long I sang the damn songs, wore the damn funny hats, played the damn charades and now this? I had to talk to someone’s hand shoved up a puppet’s ass to get a job? I don’t think so.
At this point, I knew I had nothing to lose.
So, I sat politely, waiting for the puppet to ask me the first question.
I don’t remember much about the actual questions (I think I blocked it out) but I do remember asking the puppet (or puppet master) if I actually had to talk to this lump of felt. And, of course, I was told yes. I don’t remember all the questions the lump of felt asked me, but I do remember there was a question about going to the moon. What the fuck? You want me to get on an imaginary rocket ship and go to the moon now? Ah. No. I may be an elementary school teacher, but my enthusiasm for the absurd ended there.
I tried to be nice to the lump of felt. I really did. But I had enough. I figured I had nothing to lose.
I. Do. Not. Talk. To. Puppets. To. Get. A Job. period. I think the expression on my face and clenched teeth said it all. I could not force myself to fake one more minute of campy enthusiasm. I decided then and there I would rather sweep a floor than talk to a fucking puppet to get a job. And I pretty much told them that. Except I didn’t use the “F” word.
And best of all- this interview was on VIDEO (which, by the way, I would PAY dearly to retrieve so I could sue someone’s ass for emotional damages).
Ironically, I got the job. Perhaps they admired my honesty. I didn’t take the job. It was all too freaky to me. I couldn’t imagine what else they would ask me to do with the puppet.
So, dear readers, the moral of this
positively absurd tale story is that I tend to be a very straight shooter, the no-nonsense captain of the common sense police, if you will. I really don’t see the value in wasting someone’s time with the redundant or asinine. If you like me, you like me. If you don’t, you don’t. I should not have to jump through ridiculous hoops to prove my worth to you.
And this is the feeling of self worth I wish to instill in my child. I hope, for his sake, it doesn’t take him as long as I did to figure out that being different is ok. Telling the truth and calling a spade a spade is ok. Be polite, but stick to your guns. THAT is what I want to impart on him.
And if anyone makes him talk to a puppet, I’ll kick their ass.