I've been looking for a new job for the last fifteen years.
It's possible that I job-hunt poorly.
But our students clean a software development company twice a week, and I really feel like I could make a go of it there.
They have animal crackers by the coffee maker, and motivational posters on the walls saying things like, "Containerize your system's systems!", or "Are you bottlenecking your flowthroughs?!?"
I read the posters and eat the crackers and think, yep, I could really pick up what this computery place is laying down.
Except there is a framed picture of the Big Bang Theory cast hanging near the office kitchen.
I've never seen the show, but I know a teacher with a very terrible sense of humor who adores it. This makes me worry about the character of this place I've decided should hire me.
Well, it's not so much that he has bad humor, it's that he says things like "cha-ching! ba-da-boom ba-da-bing!" and other kinds of pseudo-Italian onomatopoeia.
He also dances like this:
I dance like this:
My wife saw me run the other day, and she said I ran like this:
The more I ran to prove I run good, the more she laughed.
I said all right, let's see you do it.
She said no because she was holding a baby.
My son said his gym teacher did 37 pull-ups.
I said oh yeah? and then I did one pull-up sort of. I had to do a lot of kipping.
It's not that I feel the need to prove myself to wives and sons, it's more like I worry that everyone has forgotten what I am really capable of.
There is a whole group of pickle ball playing daddies at the YMCA. They check their kids into childwatch and then they meet up in the gym.
I bet I'm capable of pickleball, I think.
If I wandered up to the pickle ball players, looking manly, looking lost, would they extend a paddle?
And would I take it? Maybe with the thought, this pickle ball court is my new home now. And these men are my new family.
There's good ole Stuart, with his college try of a moustache.
And Cussmouth Wayne, as quick with a goddam as he is with a hard return.
I love my new family. I love grunting and hitting balls over low nets with them.
But the fantasy collapses when Rec and Ed Basketball shows up and calls dibs on the gym.
These are tall, muscular, dangerous looking people; they have no babies in childwatch.
Though they easily could. They could make a thousand babies, as effortlessly as passing gas. Even their sweat is virile.
The pickle ballers cede the floor. According to the posted schedule, they should have another ten minutes, but they don't dare cock block Rec and Ed.
One last volley, one more hoo-rah with a serve, and then the paddles are slipped into diaper bags, moustaches toweled off; sweaty knuckles give slippery fist bumps.
Suddenly, we are all just homebound dads again.
We check our watches to see if we can still make Library Storytime. We wonder if it's a good night to ask for sex.
I wipe off pretend pickleball perspiration as I lead the students through the doors of the software company.
There are several start-ups all crammed together in this here incubator; I feel like if I do amazing things, they will notice and offer me a job.
So I scrub tables with gusto, like I am really feeling the grime and the relief of its removal.
The second a programmer rises from the toilet seat, I am there. Spraying it down, wiping it smooth, suffering any stench he leaves with a smile and a thank you sir, may i have another?
They employ so many young and bearded wolves. Maybe there is room in the pack for an under qualified silver fox.
I want one of those cool software job titles like "Java Wrangler" or "Python Master".
You won't know if I'm a computer science guy or a bounty hunter.
But no one notices my way with Swiffer and Windex. My head goes unhunted.
The best I get is a young office lady, shyly coming over to me, her eyes nervously flitting to the floor. She points a pale, slim finger at a conference table nearby.
"There's donuts, over there. From yesterday. You guys can eat them if you want."
I eat a donut, sure. But it tastes bitter, like a job offer that never comes.
The next two taste pretty good though.