Thursday, June 28, 2007

All in the delivery

“Put in something about church involvement, and take out that stuff about writing poetry.”

He looked up and handed me my resume, his thick, sleek blonde hair at 45 combed directly back over the top of his head, giving him an aerodynamic look of moving through time and responsibility very rapidly.

I had no church involvement, but this did not stop him from making the suggestion.

His office had a floor-to-ceiling glass door on it, and I had showed up wearing the grey flannel suit inherited from my dad after having the waist taken in. The trousers were wearing thin on the front. He was a family friend from our beach community, but he also surfed, so that made him kind of a personal friend. A compadre of the water. He made more money than I ever would.

Approximately two weeks later I was interviewing for a job at a global publisher, once again wearing the grey flannel suit. I 86’ed the poetry reference but did not put in any church work. I got the job and started as an editorial assistant, with primary responsibilities to log in authors’ manuscripts for professional journals – The Journal of Polymer Science was a biggie, although Head & Neck Surgery was a lot more fun to look at the pictures of. I worked with a guy named Mike Ferguson. Called himself MFergu for short. He was a jazz musician on the side; seems most of the production editors, in fact, were musicians or artists of some sort or another, on the side. There was a dancer, two screenwriters, a playwright, and a gay guy who seemed artsy even though I think he had no other employable talent besides publishing. They would not have balked about my having written poetry.

One day I was walking to work; our building was on 40th and Third. I was wearing a turtleneck. I bumped into a friend of my father’s, Uncle Stu, who worked for AIG and always wore blue suits, white shirts and a red or blue tie. Had a smell of cigarette tobacco on him most of the time. He looked me up and down and smiled, shook my hand, and we talked for a few minutes. Learning I was going to work, wearing a turtleneck, he quipped, “Oh! I thought you had joined the entertainment industry!”

I would get my morning coffee and bagel from the restaurant in the building lobby. A crusty lady manned the cashier and also took money from the delivery boys upon completion of their tasks. One morning I was in line to pay and a delivery came back to her unaccepted by the customer.

“He says the toast is too dark,” the delivery boy complained.

“Tell him next time before he orders,” she said without a smile, “to send down a swatch first.”

photo: brofosifo

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