Applications are obnoxious, and my mind runs away with ideas.
I’m staring right now, glaring really, at a stack of applications that seems to be growing by the minute. Any minute now they’ll come in contact with the nuclear material I’ve been saving under my bed for future time traveling experiments and multiply until the papers join forces and become big enough to consume my home, my family, even the tractor that’s sitting outside like an angry grasshopper. We’ll have to call in the National Guard and the neighbors will uselessly shoot at it until it eats them too. It’ll spread throughout the world requiring people to redundantly repeat information, needlessly notarize documents, and to write their social security number on confetti before dropping it from tall buildings.
Unemployment is a scary monster, no matter how temporary it may be. In fact, it’s the “may be” bit that makes it so upsetting. It is the supernatural, unknowable future, I think, that reminded me of a series of spam e-mails I got a year or so ago. “Oh gracious one” “Oh beloved one” “Oh healer of worlds.” They always began with an ingratiating name, the variety that underlings use to placate angry Disney villains. In every e-mail, the anonymous sender, who never asked for money, built this picture of a reincarnated goddess, or a woman born to lead the people of India into peace, or even a great “teacher” of the people. They appealed to a sense of guilt, heaving the blame for the turmoil in India onto my laughing shoulders. They clearly had the wrong person.
As I think about these absurd e-mails right now, I picture myself in the roles they imagined for me. The deities of India are far too flexible and balanced for me. I invented and perfected the “wobbly weeble” move in my brief stint as a Yoga student. As a leader, I would be more likely to contribute to a host of new official holidays like “chicken dance day,” “tree-climbing day (the day after Arbor Day, in case you were wondering),” and “everyone-just-shut-up-and-let-me-drink-some-tea day” than I would be to create any lasting change. And although I am, on occasion, a decent teacher, I don’t think I qualify as the type of teacher they mean. I rarely say anything that would look good on a bumper sticker and I enjoy food far too much to go on hunger strikes.
My lack of qualification aside, in this time of application, I’m starting to fantasize about riding elephants and waving to crowds of people instead of trying to appease hiring committees and massaging hand cramps as I write out my references again. There’s nothing like a self-serving fantasy to reboot one’s ego after it’s been bruised and knocked over by yet another closed door. Sometimes I combine fantasy with reality, and I ride into my interviews on an elephant. I can’t imagine a school that wouldn’t hire a teacher who comes with her own pachyderm, particularly one that is painted and has a comfortable carriage seat on top. Reincarnated deity or not, I still have to deal with NCLB, but it would be easier, for I could just make the tests passable with a flourish of my four hands.
Grandiose, world-saving fantasies, however, are fun only because I can smile through them, make them as big as I like, then return to the stack of applications while briefly considering finding the e-mails, printing them, and sticking them in the application packets as references.