Since we last met up here, I've had occasion to compile a résumé-like document. I won't go into why, because it's a story that, as Grandpa Simpson says, isn't so much interesting as it is long.
To understand the following saga, all we need to know about the résumé is that it ended, under the heading "Other Skills and Accomplishments," with "am able to sing lyrics to the theme song of any TV western ever aired" and "can work crossword puzzles faster than Bill Clinton. (This last hasn't been documented, but I'm willing to take him on any time, any place.)"
Having spent a good 45 minutes putting the thing together, I couldn't let it just founder in a file cabinet. So I decided to apply for a few jobs and see what the market is for a geezer with no particular talent other than those just mentioned.
The jobs I really wanted - general manager of the Braves, groupie tester for Led Zepplin - obviously required "skills and accomplishments" outside my poor résumé, so I decided to buffer my ego by starting with a job for which the qualifications were patently low.
I applied for director of F.E.M.A.
I put my résumé and cover letter in the mail addressed to "His Excellency, George W. Bush" and waited. (I was pretty sure "His Excellency" wasn't the proper form of address, but, figuring he wouldn't know either, I didn't go to the trouble of looking it up.)
One's zeal for such schemes often pales in the hangover-piercing light of day, and I'd almost forgotten about my résumé when my secretary buzzed me one morning a few weeks later. "There's a guy on the phone who says he's the president of the United States. He sounds retarded."
My secretary types fast but doesn't watch much news.
"Put him through," I say.
"Mr. President, it's good to hear from you. You must be calling about my job application."
"Job application? Naw, I'm callin' to see if you kin loan me a coupla hunerd bucks...Nah! Just messin' widjeu; I'm richer'n Oprahy. I like 'at resume ye sent."
Well, thank you, Mr. President. I spent some time on it."
"I particularly like the part about workin' crossword puzzles faster 'n Slick Willie. That there's what interests me. I don't know if you've heard, but they's some folks sayin' I've hired folks based on their loyalty and politics 'stead of their qualifications."
"I believe I did run across that in some godless rag, sir."
"Well, I'm looking to preserve my legacy here. Hire me some smart folks down the home stretch, ones they cain't accuse me of hirein' just 'cause we're oil bidness buddies. You say in your cover letter that ye don't even like me. Ain't that right?"
"Well, what I actually said, sir - with all due respect - is that I didn't vote for you, but don't take it personal. There were millions of people I didn't vote for."
"Well, ye kinda implied ye don't like me, but I like 'at. Shoot from the hip. Stick to yer guns right or wrong. I think we might have a job for ye. We just need to set up that puzzle workin' contest with Bill Clinton."
"Do you know President Clinton?"
"No, but my diddy does. I'll have one a my people git back widjeu when I get this set up. Heck Fire! I'll just get Willie to call ye hisself."
We said our goodbyes and then he hung up, somebody else hung up and I hung up.
This began a chapter in my life that would lead me to travel in Air Force One; bone up on etuis, arêtes, epees and Uri; and meet presidents past, present and possible future, as well as a really hot-looking white-trash woman from the Ozarks.
Next week - J.E.M. vs W.J.C.