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James Madison. Miniature portrait by Charles Willson Peale, 1783

In The Bargain Bin At The Job Market
6.14.2001 by Zebulon

Well, now it’s time for another riveting installment in the "Zebulon Looks For A Job" saga.

I know what you’re thinking. "But with Zebulon’s high levels of celebrity and obscene royalties from his screenplay rolling in, what one earth would he need with a job?"

Well, to tell the truth, it’s because Tangmonkey’s stock options suck.

I’ve always hated the job hunt, as I’m sure all you out there do as well. Be it asking the spaced-out zombie at the customer service desk for an application or mass-mailing resumes, it’s an ego-battering experience.

But fear not! There’s a way to tell if a company is interested in you, as shown in this handy reference list:

Great: A company representative calls you.

Good: You are told upon your call that the personnel director will see you Monday morning.

Not-So-Good: "The personnel manager just left the office, and won’t be back until a week from Wednesday."

Bad: "The personnel manager just left the office, and won’t be back until October."

Keep Looking: "The personnel manager just died in a freak accident involving radon gas, and he was the only person who could hire a replacement for himself."

So I was a bit uncertain when my friend, Moammar Zatooie, called my attention to an ad in the classified section of the area newspaper, soliciting computer-savvy people to attend a "job fair" to find work as technical support staff. And for once, I wasn’t nervous just because Moammar is a borderline sociopath whose idea of a good time is to rent a large U-Haul truck and then race into oncoming traffic.

"Come on, it’ll be fun!" he urged.

"I don’t even know how to get to this town!" I said.

"MapQuest!" he replied.

So, because I am a stupid idiot, I listened to the sociopath and printed out a map. It was a map the size of a postage stamp, with the route we were to take highlighted, and written out directions with such commands as "hard right." It was also decided that I would drive, as the FBI had confiscated Moammar’s car again. And off we went.

The map had been pretty accurate for most of the drive, only mislabeling two roads, misdirecting us onto the interstate, and attempting to send us on a detour that would have taken us through Scotland.

It was then that we discovered the fatal flaw in the map: the end of our traced route was just a big dot over the city name.

"So what do we do once we get to the city?" I asked. The answer? We get lost.

We passed at least three different McDonald’s restaurants, a nuclear research facility (this is true), and a small African tribal village where the friendly natives fed us and taught us their ways. I can now make a spear out of anything. By my estimate, we circled the city at least three times by the time we gave up and stopped at a pizza delivery place to get directions.

The job fair had been over for five minutes when we arrived. "The fair ended at six!" was all the harpy at the front desk would tell me. By looking over her shoulder, I could see a huge cubicle farm, filled with wage slaves talking into headset phones while up in the bow, a huge fat bald guy pounded rhythmically on a drum, keeping the slaves rowing in sync. A guy with a whip tried to make me join the rowers, but I was able to slay him with a spear I had fashioned out of a notepad and a PC speaker.

It was about then that I decided I was tired and needed to go home. Grabbing Moammar from an empty cubicle, where he was using one of the headsets to advise a customer that her hard disk was full of "data scunge" and needed to be run through a dishwasher, I took my leave.

"Well, this trip was a total bust." I griped as Moammar and I drove off.

"Not totally," Moammar replied. "I got an application to be the third shift drummer. Lemme find something to write on…" He trailed off as he reached into his duffel bag and pulled out a 2001 Rand McNally Road Atlas. "This should be big enough."

I don’t think anyone would fault me for shoving him out the door and speeding away.

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