Tuesday, December 21, 2010

The Interview

I have had the luxury of not being a part of corporate America this past year. But as with all luxuries, they wear out and need replacing.

My wife, who has been patient with me, is beginning to show signs of her tolerance wearing out. She's risk adverse and would like to see me become a worthwhile, measurable economic producer to the household again.

That's not to say I haven't contributed anything this past year.  I've been close to home to avert any logistical disasters with the kids - a.k.a chauffeur. I've been pursuing personal projects that are personally enriching (if not financially), and thus I have been a happier person which spills into a happier household (there's no money in that).

Thankfully, we are not facing dire financial consequences any time soon, but I have to agree that it would be good to replenish the pot before the flames start licking at my heels. I just don't want to do it the old-fashioned way - by working for corporate America.

Unfortunately, the easiest way to make money is to do the bidding for someone else. And while it goes against my grain, I have been quietly applying to jobs that match my past work history - marketing positions within financial services companies.

To my surprise, I have been getting responses from my submissions. In fact, several interviews have been scheduled.

My immediate reaction was to throw caution to the wind and tell my wife that I may soon be a productive member of society again. But the word, "may", stuck in my head. What if I didn't get the job? Or worse, what if I did and didn't want to take it? And doubly worse, what if my wife tracked my job progress like a bloodhound looking for an escaped prisoner? As a friend once said, "Honesty has no place in a relationship."

I decided to keep the prospects under wraps. And if a job offer presented itself, that would be my little selfless gift back to the family. 

So there I was, at home in the middle of the day, getting ready for my big interview that afternoon. I was putting on the suit and tie when all of a sudden my wife walked in.

"What are you doing?" she asked the startled dresser (me).

"What are you doing home?" I asked hoping to divert the matter.

"I told you I was taking a vacation day. You forgot? And what are you doing in a suit?" (the bloodhound hunts)

"Getting dressed."

"For what?" (the bloodhound cornered me)

"An interview," I hushed.

"A what?" (the bloodhound barked)


"When were you going to tell me?"


(The bloodhound growled)

Sunday, December 19, 2010

New Decade, New Drills

I just learned that our school system has instituted new safety drills for the high school students. The typical fire drill that I practiced as a kid, I have been told, is quite passe. You almost have to wonder why they even have these drills. I mean how many school fires do you recall - not counting the little mishaps in chemistry class?

Of course, the town is required to have fire drills and I believe they even have them once a month.  From what my son told me, the kids just stand outside the building near the exits for a few minutes until they're let back in. And now, with the cold weather, they barely make it out the door.

While those safety lapses may seem unsettling, what I find more disturbing are the two additional drills now being rehearsed on a regular basis.

One is the evacuation drill. According to my son, this is similar to the fire drill with the only difference being that the students are required to walk further from the building. I guess they are practicing the evacuation in case there is a bomb. I'm not sure how far or in which direction they are required to walk, but I'm guessing there's not much they'll be able to do if a bomb actually did detonate. Perhaps, the clever terrorist will fool everyone and place the bomb on the school grounds or in the parking lot where the kids are told to go for their safe place. 

But the other drill I just heard about, I found to be the most unnerving. This is the shooter drill. 

Students now practice what to do if a psychotic introvert who was mercilessly harassed by other students over the years to the point of mental breakdown goes out and gets an easily obtainable AK-47 and enters the school to seek revenge on the cool kids who ruined his life. When the alarm goes off, the students are required to huddle in a corner of their classroom that best represents a position where a shooter who peers through the classroom door window would have the most obscured view of the class. By cleverly hiding, the shooter will be fooled into believing that no one is in the room and will continue on to the next class, and the next class and the next. This will keep happening until the shooter wonders if he totally screwed up his doomsday plan by entering the school on a weekend since no students are present. Once realizing his error of stupidity he will understand why he was hazed all those years and called little Johnny dum-dum and then turn the gun on himself thus ending the drama.

I told my son that if he and his fellow classmates have to huddle in a corner of a room like trapped mice, he needed to make sure he buffered himself with other students in front of him (like the smug George Landau who keeps telling everyone he's going to Yale because he's a legacy, or the overweight Margie Halpin who tells everyone she's not fat it's just a thyroid problem) in case the shooter actually goes off plan and opens the door.

And, if that doesn't work, please head to the nearest window and jump out. The building is only two-stories high.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Eyes Wide Shut

A close friend of mine is getting divorced. It kind of sucks.

Kind of, because he's got young children. Kind of, because he's a good guy who tried to make it work. And kind of, because it costs money to get divorced.

On the other hand, I get to live vicariously through him as he enters a new stage in his life - the dating market.

He says the last time he was with a 26-year old girl was the day he got married. Me, too! He says he's gonna go on a tear and make up for lost time. I'm right behind you - figuratively speaking!

I'm not glamorizing divorce but I do have to say the signs that things were not going to work for him were always there.

Me: How's the family?

Friend: Good, good. [pause] I just need to get my youngest to high school. After that, I'll figure out if my wife and I can tolerate each other.

Me: That's 10 years away. Are there problems?

Friend: [shocked] No, no. She's great. A wonderful mother.

Sometimes you have to convince yourself that everything is good because it's such a long haul to the finish line. Knowing that each day sucks is not the way to get through it.

Friend: [on phone] Hey honey, how are you? Uh-huh. Yeah. Oh, great. Really? Oh, I'm sorry. I'm so glad you worked it out. Uh-huh. Yes, I'll be home by six. Bye.

Me: Your wife?

Friend: Uh-huh.

Me: You're so nice and patient.

Friend: She just chewed me out for leaving the web browser open on the kitchen computer.

Me: But you were so nice and patient.

Sometimes you have to just let it blurt out. Bottling it up inside can kill you - or fuck with your digestive tract.

But sometimes, you should be caned across the ass for being such a fuck-wit to the whole situation.

Me: [standing in the hallway of my friend's home] Who put this artwork on the wall?

Friend: That? My wife. She's supporting some local artist.

Me: Did you ever look at?

Friend: Not really.

Me: You should've.

On the wall were four separate, same-sized, glass frames of "art". Underneath the glass were embroidered linens with simple stitched illustrations and text. I've included two of them here:

These happened to be sitting outside his former marital bedroom. They'd been hanging for a couple of months prior to his wife asking for a divorce. Hello, McFly?