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Welcome to the new Stream of Consciousness fiction blog.

A serial adventure in fiction by Brad Sondahl

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16 What's in a name?
fiction, this is fiction

       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.
Me: Well, that's true, except that my DVR1 certification exceeds the H201 standards, so the IVBC doesn't apply in that instance.
(At this point I've trumped the guy, as he's unwilling to admit he's never heard of the H201 standards and DVR1.  Curiously, neither had I...  So he tried another ploy:)
HR manager: It says here you're a certified PBC.  I'm not sure that we need someone with that skillset.
Me:  They made that same mistake over at URT Data.  Have you ever heard of URT Data?
HR manager:  It doesn't sound familiar...
Me: That's my point. Pfftt!  They didn't hire a PBC.  PBC enables a company to be a household name with or without a product.  Uh,  what product does Vimco actually make?
HR manager: As it says on the sign, products for the HVIC industry.
Me:  Real products--that's good.  PBC only facilitates incrementally if there's no real product to promote, but if you've got product, PBC has solutions.  But it can't be a part of the solution if  you don't have a PBC cert tech on the team.  Which is why I'm here.

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.



Use this chart to find the next of the cartoons (first 47  entries) or the stories (starting with  1 A River Too Far 5 rows below week 8)
Cartoon:
Week 1
Week 2
Week 3
Week 4
Week5 
Week 6
Week 7
Week 8
Week 9
Week 10
Week 11
Week 12
Week 13
Week 14
Week 15
Week 16
Week 17
Week 18
Week 19
Week 20
Week 21
 Week 22
Week 23
Week 24
Week 25
Week 26
Week 27
Week 28
Week 29
Week 30
Week 31
Week 32
Week 33
Week 34
Week 35
Week 36
Week 37
Week 38
Week 39
Week 40
Week 41
Week 42
Week 43
Week 44
Week 45
Week 46
Week 47
(cartoon ends)
1. A River Too Far
2.The Reunion
3.The Daily Grind
4 The New Car and Treasure
5. The Big 
Bambootees
6. The old
Switcheroo
7. The Ravine Runner 8. The Fabulous
Folk Festival
9. Druid
Fluid
10. Goats of
Christmas Past
11. The Secret Six 12. The Great
White Hunters
13. The Old School
14
Lost in the City
15
Schlemiel
Possession

16
What's in
a name?
17
The Curse of
Bently Manor
18
Shortbottom Possessed
19
The Lost
Treasure
of Iraq
20
Phil Steen
for President!
21
Phil Steen
for Rehab
22
The Adventures
of Handiman
and Fiberwoman
23
Quantum
Uncertainty
revealed
24
Pirates of the Puget Sound
 25
Building a platform, plank by plank
26
The Quest
for meaning
27
Larry and
Phil to
The Rescue
28
Hurrah for
the Reds,
Whites, and
Blues
29
Phil
loses
his
mind
30
Earth
Strikes
Back
31
Harry
the
Potter
32
How I spent
my summer
vacation
33
Help
I am
trapped in
the Present
!
34
Help I am trapped
in the future
35
The
Nose of Death
36
Infectious
Laughter
37
Election
Update

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