Live in your blog. Play in ours.
A couple of days ago, I had an interview. I think it went really well, and normally, except for one teensy little thing. Maybe it hurt my chances at the job, and then again, maybe it helped. I'll explain, and then you can tell me, because I can't decide.
So, in this interview, I met with a human resources woman, and then a guy, and then another woman. The guy is the leader of the group where the job is, and the last woman is the person currently doing the job.
(And she was a little bitter about the whole deal, I'm afraid.
'Humph. You wore that tie to an interview?'
'You know your resume isn't nearly as good as mine, don't you?'
'You call that ass-kissing? Come on, man, get that tongue working!'
Bitch and moan, bitch and moan. Still, I guess it would be tough to help find your own replacement for anything, really, much less a full-time job. What could be worse than that? Well, okay, maybe picking out your significant other's next partner. That would suck. I don't think I could help but be snarky and mean about that.
'Penis, shmenis, dude. What're you gonna do with that little thing? It's practically an 'innie'. Next!')
All right, what was I talking about? Oh, the interview. Right.
"You call that ass-kissing? Come on, man, get that tongue working!"
So, the bits with the ladies actually went okay, all things considered. Which is quite an accomplishment, really. When interacting with the fairer sex, I often manage to get my eyes or my mouth -- and once, rather famously, the big toe on my left foot -- stuck in places where they really shouldn't be. So it's a small miracle that I was able to talk to two women on the same day without getting so much as frowned at, not to mention slapped, kicked, shrieked at, headlocked, frisked, decked, or summarily escorted from the premises. So, yay Charlie.
But the boss-man interview was a bit... different. You see, I had the list of interviewers a couple of days before the event. Normally, this is just a good chance for me to practice saying strangers' names without stuttering or fumbling like a clueless boob. I spend a few hours each day in front of a mirror, just reciting, 'Yes, hello, I'm here to see John Smith.' or 'Hi, Ms. Jones; it's very nice to meet you.', until I can do it without sounding like a leprous schizophrenic.
(No, I don't know how leprosy fits in there, either. I'm pretty sure that it has nothing to do with how you sound or speak or anything like that. Look, it sounded good at the time, and I've really got nothing better to replace it with, okay? Just let it go. They can't all be gems, dammit.)
Anyway, that's what usually happens. But not with this guy. See, he's from another country. Which is cool -- I'm all about flitting from nation to nation until you find one you like, or that has good food or hot bods, or a drinking age of nine. Whatever you're into, that's cool with me. That's not the point here.
The point is that this guy -- my prospective new boss -- has a rather unusual name. At least for me. Maybe in his land, his name is like 'John' or 'Mary' over here, and he has to have a dozen nicknames so people can keep him straight amongst all his namesakes. Maybe. But probably not, really.
You see, he has a Godzillla name. An evil supergenius name. A cartoon nemesis name. And that name is... Zolton. Yes, Zolton. Zolton, Ruler of the Underworld. Has a nice ring to it, no?
And that's the problem, of course. Look, I had two whole days to chew on this guy's name, and to practice saying it, and to run it past the smartass little men who live in my brain. And so, by the time I showed up at this interview, ready to respectfully genuflect my way to a job, it was impossible to say, hear, or think of this man's name without adding an imaginary title. In my head, at the least, but far preferably, out loud. I'm sure you can see where this is heading.
So, I managed to make it through the first interview, with the HR lady, without peeing myself or blurting anything out. She almost got me a couple of times, though.
Me: (Just ask me a damned question... ask me a question... don't say his name... ask me a question...)
Me: Yes, ma'am?
Her: It looks like you'll be meeting with Zolton next.
Me: (Zolton! Zolton, Defender of Darkness! Zolton will see you now! Aaaiiieeeeee!!)
Me: Hee hee -- um, I mean, He. He... he's meeting with me next? Good, good. I look forward to that.
Her: Yes, you'll like him. Zolton's very nice.
Me: (Zolton not nice! Zolton drink the blood of Zolton's enemies! All hail, mighty Zolton, Destroyer of Men! Wooooot!)
Me: Ha hah! Uh, that is, 'ha'. Ha... hou... how long has he been at the company?
Her: Who, Zolton?
Me: (Do you mock Zolton, Render of Souls? Zolton will crush thee like an insect! Insolence!)
Me: Mmppht! Mmrrr... Um, mmm-hmm. How long?
Her: Well, several years now. He was one of our first employees, as a matter of fact. Um, are you okay? Can I get you some water or something?
Me: Ah, no thanks. I think liquid in my mouth would actually be a really bad idea right now.
Her: Oh. I...um, see.
Okay, I said I 'made it through' the thing, all right? I never claimed that I managed to make a good impression or anything useful like that. One small miracle at a time, you know.
So, anyway, we finished up and it was finally time to meet Zolton in the flesh. Or cape, or scales, or chain mail, or whatever the hell a 'Zolton' would be wearing. I half-expected him to sidle through the door, leering about and twirling a greasy moustache between his fingers.
(Not necessarily his own moustache, mind you; I couldn't decide which would be more evil.)
On the other hand, I wouldn't have been terribly surprised if he'd been nine feet tall and green and wearing animal skins of some kind, with some sort of death-dealy sword at his side. Oh, I'd have wet my pants; don't get me wrong. But I'm not sure that I'd have been 'surprised', per se. Just so we're clear on that point.
Anyway, he was a pretty normal-looking guy. Slacks, a button-down shirt, loafers. Short brown hair, average height, forties-ish. Nothing out of the ordinary, really. Which turned out to be the worst thing of all, because that lulled me into a false sense of control over my asinine reflexes. I actually thought that because he looked normal, my brain would forget all that other crap and settle down to the business of landing me this job.
No such luck. Stupid brain.
So, when he introduced himself, I -- with my guard down -- let loose with that teensy weensy embarrassing thing that I mentioned above. It went hauntingly like this:
Him: Hello. Charlie?
Me: Yes, sir, that's right.
Him: Good to meet you. I'm Zolton.
Me: Zolton! MASTER OF THE UNIVERSE!!
Me: It's -- ahem -- nice to meet you, too. Um, sir.
Amazingly, the rest of the interview with him went pretty smoothly. He gave me a very odd look after my little outburst, of course, but we settled down to business rather quickly. I even managed to piece together a few reasonable answers to his questions. Luckily, my brain was in 'recharge' mode after turning me into its temporary Tourette bitch, and I was left to concentrate on the actual interview. Of course, if he'd chosen to refer to himself in the third person ('Zolton wants to know about your work experience.'), I'm pretty sure Mr. Brain would have been back at the plate, ready to swing for the fences again. Thankfully, it didn't come to that.
In the end, he never mentioned my little faux pas, and I sure as hell wasn't about to bring it up, even to apologize. So who knows what he thought? Perhaps he didn't register it at all -- maybe it was so strange and foreign to him that it passed through his mind without generating any memory whatsoever. Maybe? Nah. I could never be that lucky.
But maybe he didn't know what I was talking about, so he cut me some slack. Hell, maybe he really thinks I have Tourette Syndrome, which could work in my favor. For one thing, he can't reject me from consideration based on a medical condition.
(Or in this case, behavior bizarre enough to seem to warrant a clinical explanation, even if it's not the case.)
More importantly, if I get the job, I can say anything the hell I want, and curse anywhere, any time, and at anybody I feel like, just so long as I look sheepish and innocent afterwards. Just like the interview, keeping a straight face may be the hardest part of the job.
Of course, it's overwhelmingly likely that he did hear me, has some clue where the hell it came from, and he shit-canned my resume the moment I stepped out the door. It wouldn't be the first time, nor the last. Still, that seems like a pretty harsh sentence to me. Think about it -- who wouldn't dig being the 'Master of the Universe'? Or even called that by a relative stranger? I mean, look, there are 'mad props', and then there are 'mad props!', and then there's being called master of the freakin' universe by some toady-wannabe begging for a job. C'mon, how could you possibly take that the wrong way?
So, maybe -- just maybe -- my brain's little stunt helped me. In a few days, as Zolton ('Conjurer of Unholy Spirits') looks through his stack of resumes, perhaps he'll remember me. I'll be the one who threw out the ultimate compliment, even before we'd sat down to chat. And Zolton ('Prince of Shadows') will see my name, and realize that I'm the one for the job. I'm the one who'll do the work, and do it fast and do it right, and never complain, and still pledge allegiance to His Excellence at the end of the day without reservation or complaint. Not everyone is cut out to serve Zolton ('Lord of the Furies'), you see. But Zolton ('Bringer of Pestilence') knows a true disciple when he sees one, and I am that disciple. The Chosen One. So maybe blurting out one of the many titles held by Zolton ('Punisher of Mortals') will get me that job, after all. Right? Um, right? Yeah?
Oh, I am so screwed.