A serial adventure in fiction by Brad Sondahl
I wasn't always a banjo salesperson. After college, while wondering what college was supposed to do for you, I figured out that you needed lots of letters after your name to get the big bucks. While Ph.D.s were expensive, there were plenty of letters that were cheap. I learned this from the cover of a matchbook offering professional certification in almost everything, by mail. Before long I was a certified ACR (American Credenza Rater), PBC (Pre Ballistic Channeler), and BLT (Basic Law Tomographer). Unfortunately I still didn't know how to get a job.
My parents, thinking it was time for me to leave the basement, left the newspaper want ads at the top of the basement stairs for me faithfully. Eventually (after they cut the cable tv cable to my room) I figured out I could look for a job in the want ads. There I was confronted with more letters. Unfortunately, few of them matched the ones I had for myself. An ad might read:
Seeking a PLC Maintenance Technician who provides controls expertise on programmable logic controllers, operator interface devices, and loop control equipment. Must be able to communicate information to others informatively and may be required to provide low voltage electrical assistance for facility. If you do not generate electricity, do not apply. Must understand DC, AC, PVC, and UPC circuits and measuring techniques. If you cannot explain the Theory of Relativity to us in 25 words or less, please look elsewhere.
Others were not as technical, but still didn't match my letter--skill set:
ESSENTIAL DUTIES AND RESPONSIBILITIES:
• Completes 10 to 12 Environmental Site Assessments (ESA) per month to identify Recognized Environmental Conditions (RECs) and other conditions of environmental concerns as outlined in the scope of work.
• Travels by airplane to approximately 50% of on-site assessments.
That one sounded good, since I like to travel by airplane. Finally I decided to apply somewhere even though the letters didn't match up. I did well enough in the interview to get started with Vimco. The interview went something like this:HR (that's Human Resources) manager: To work with HVIC products, it's necessary to have IVBC clearance.
Of course the interview went on, but in the end, I joined the Vimco team. It turned out the guy I was sent to work under didn't want anyone capable that might take his job, so he was happy to relegate me to the outer darkness cubicle, thinking I'd weep and gnash my teeth. He gave me all the boring repetitive work, which, after he showed me how to deal with once, I was able to do well enough, even though I had no idea what I was actually doing. I'd probably still be there, but the Folk Festival rolled around and they told me I didn't have any vacation time yet, so of course I had to quit. But it gave me a few more letters after my name-- HVIC. I dropped the Vimco part--I thought it sounded silly.
|7. The Ravine Runner||8.
|11. The Secret Six||12.
|13. The Old School|
Lost in the City
The Curse of
Pirates of the Puget Sound
Building a platform, plank by plank
How I spent
Help I am trapped
in the future
Nose of Death