Wednesday, September 17, 2008

The Adventures of Tim: Chapter 1 - The Job Interview

"Hey guys, I had a job interview the other day with this company," a friend declared to the group the other night.

A normal response to a statement like this would be, "Cool, how did it go?" Or perhaps, "Oh, what company?" or even a "what is the job?"

If the friend making the job interview announcement has been out of work for over two years, louder, more enthusiastic, and even encouraging responses may be necessary. "Awesome!!! I'm sure you’ll get it." "Way to go, this is probably the one." Even a simple, "YAY!!!" will do.

There are many acceptable replies to a statement like this, but when you’re dealing with my friend Tim (the names have been changed to protect the guilty) no response is appropriate. I'm not saying that all responses will be met with disdain and that any response is the wrong response, what I'm saying is that there should be no response. Perhaps a grunt. Maybe a nod. I'd say daring to smile is probably a very bad idea. Vocalization of any sort that recognizes that Tim has spoken, now that is ill advised.

Even Tim's own wife greets Tim related news in this manner. She knows. We follow suit. When Tim made this grand declaration the other night, she rolled her eyes and attempted to change the subject to something that would be more pleasant and less embarrassing, like serial bunny rapists or audibly farting on a train in front of a group of school children. Tim, who is far more embarrassing than audible train farts and exceeds the scary level of bunny rapers, dismissed her not-so-subtle hint that we should talk about anything, oh dear God, anything other than Tim's eternal job search.

The rest of us, having learned from Mrs. Tim's reaction, knew this wasn’t a story that would have Tim portrayed in a favorable light. (Strangely, Tim never seems to understand this about his stories). We knew that anything other than nods and grunts would be considered a follow up question. Follow up questions are strictly prohibited when conversing with Tim. You just nod, perhaps grunt, and hope that someone else can come up with a topic of conversation.

Someone always bites though. Someone always spoils it for the rest of us. Someone always feels bad for Tim, with no regard for all of us, and asks, "So Tim, how did it go?"

When this happens, the rest of us, if possible, scatter like a slo-mo bomb scene in a straight to video action movie. "Noooooooooo," being screamed in the low pitched slow motion way. In this particular instance, though, we were trapped at the table of a local restaurant. There was no where to go.

"So I took the train downtown and got off where they told me to," Tim began. "This was a small company on the North side of town, so I had to get on another train."

Switching trains is generally not Tim's strong point. He has gotten into arguments with perfect strangers on several occasions about things as simple as, "Hey, could you tell me where the Red Line Train stop is?"and, “Sir, you need to swipe your Metra Card. Sir, that’s upside down; swipe it again.”

This time, Tim got onto the next train without incident. We all breathed a sigh of relief, having expected the worst. I'm serious about this. One of these days I will get a call that says Tim was beaten to death by a stranger that was arguing over who's grocery cart was who's or that Tim was bludgeoned with a pan of green peppers after he argued with the sandwich artist that his bread was only five and a half inches long. It's that bad. This is a five foot five inch tall fella who maybe weighs 135 pounds and greatly resembles troll doll, and he has gotten into fights with...

  • A drunk girl at a college party over… a small foil star shaped sticker. This resulted in Tim rolling around on my kitchen floor getting the side of his head repeatedly punched by the drunk girl.
  • The cops at a city carnival over not being allowed to walk back through the fairgrounds after it was closed for the night so he wouldn't have to walk all the way around to get his bicycle.
  • A very large/very buff waiter at a Vegas brunch buffet over getting his money’s worth of champagne. Karl, the hulk/server, looked as if he might break Tim in two when Tim, for the eighth time, demanded that “Nazi Karl” was trying to screw him out of his fair share of bubbly.
  • A dirty looking guy with a crazy gleam in his eye at a local riverboat casino who cut in line in front of Tim. This guy looked as if he was getting ready to move to the mountains and shoot unsuspecting FBI agents as they happened past, and Tim decided to get in his face and yell, "I just want you to know that I think you're an asshole."
  • The extremely large bouncer at a nightclub over letting someone in at 11pm the night before their 21st birthday.
  • The counter girl at a McDonald's over some expired McNugget coupons.
  • The kid selling tickets at the movie theater (this one was my fault – I told Tim that we were there to see a movie called “Squanto: An American Legend,” so Tim got into a fight insisting that he wanted his Squanto tickets. The poor kid didn’t know what to do, since Squanto: An American Legend was not actually playing at that theater. I nearly peed myself when the manager had to step in and finally gave Tim a ticket to “Get Shorty,” but wrote Squanto on the front of it with a Sharpie. Strangely, while watching Get Shorty, Tim never once asked any of us why Squanto wasn’t in that movie.)
  • The DJ at my wedding, who didn't want to give him the microphone two hours after the toasts were done. Tim wrestled it away from him anyway and gave some kind of incoherent address. I have it on tape. It’s funny. My wife didn't feel that way.
  • A pair of paramedics who were tending to him after a nasty bike accident.
  • The pizza delivery guy, twice. I have no clue why.
  • The driver of a city bus who refused to take Tim a block further than the route dictated.
  • My favorite, a perfect stranger that happened to walk too close to Tim (or something) outside the hospital the day Tim’s son was born.
  • Then, finally, the reason why we all feared Tim/job interview stories, he got in a fight with a man who interviewed him for a job, but never called back. Tim called him dozens of times, telling us that employers like aggressive candidates. Eventually Tim got sick of not having his calls returned and showed up outside the guy's office to confront him. Let's just say it ended with yelling and the police (possibly the same cops Tim screamed at about his bicycle).

By now, I think it's pretty apparent why we cringed when Tim was given the greenlight to continue his story, but we were trapped, so we listened.

"I got off the train and found the right street. I had the address written on a piece of paper in my brief case, but I remembered what it was, so I walked down the road looking for it."

So far, so good. No one injured yet.

"This neighborhood was a dump. There were all these people outside and they kept looking at me funny. I didn't know why, but I think it was because I was wearing a suit. I don't think people in that neighborhood like suits."

This is where we braced ourselves for the inevitable fight over a local because they looked at Tim's suit funny. Surprisingly it didn’t happen.

"I must have walked five blocks and I couldn't find the place. The addresses kept going up and down and starting and stopping, I was getting really angry."

Ooooo, here it comes, I thought. Here's the part where Tim turns green, his clothes rip off, and he screams, "TIM SMASH."

Nope. He remained calm.

"I figured I should check my brief case to make sure I had the right address, so I sat down in one of those little bus stop thingies and spread out my papers on the bench. This little old lady came in there to wait for the bus and she kept staring at me. I thought at first that I must know her or something, the way she was staring at me, so I stared back."

"Oh no, Tim," one of our friends interrupted, "don't tell me you punched the old lady at the bus stop."

"No, of course not."

Collective "Whew!!!"

"She did piss me off though."

Collective "oh crap."

"She kept staring at me. It was really obnoxious. It was raining a little and I was just trying to stay dry while I called the company to get better directions. I called again and again and kept getting the voice mail. I don't know why they don't have someone answering the damn phones. So, after about ten minutes of calling the voice mail over and over and having the old woman stare at me, I packed up my stuff and started to leave the bus stop."

We all silently thanked a higher being for letting the old lady escape Tim’s wrath.

"Then I figured that the old woman lived nearby, she might know where this company is, so I went back and asked her."

Another collective, "oh crap."

"She told me I was a very rude young man, having my stuff spread allover like that, taking up the whole bench. I told her that I was just trying to get to an interview I was already late for. She said that was no excuse for taking a seat from an old woman. She called me a jerk."

"Don't say you hit her. Please, even if you did hit her, lie to me Tim," my brother-in-law requested.

"No, I didn't hit her, I just shouted at her that she was an old bitch and to mind her business. Can you believe she wouldn't tell me if she knew where the office was?"

"Yes, Tim, I can believe that." This comment was disregarded.

"So I went back out in the rain and looked for someone who would help me, but no one would. Can you believe people?"

"So all the people on the sidewalk who just witnessed you screaming cuss words at an old woman waiting for the bus wouldn't help you?"

"Yeah. People now a days are so rude."

"Yup. It's unbelievable."

"So I kept walking, hoping to find a McDonald's or a gas station or somewhere where they'd help me find directions. Eventually, after a few blocks I found a social security office. I went in there to see if anyone would help me. I just stood there, saying 'excuse me' over and over, but no one would talk to me. I couldn't believe it. They all acted like I was invisible."

"Are you sure you didn't wander into the window display at Macy's and were asking mannequins for directions?" I asked. This comment too was disregarded.

"Did they eventually give you directions?" someone asked.

"No. They kept ignoring me. So I yelled to get their attention. 'Hey guys, I need some help. Can't anyone tell me where the offices of this company are?' and they just kept going about their businesslike I wasn't there."

"So, did you leave?" one of our friends inquired.

"No way, they'd pissed me off now, so I kept yelling at them. 'Hey. I'd like to talk to someone. Can't you people help a guy out? Am I invisible?"

All I could do at this point was try to imagine an office full of government employees going about their daily routines when a red-faced, soaking wet, man in a suit from the 80's (yeah, I didn’t mention that Tim hasn't really updated his wardrobe since high school) comes in and starts shouting at the entire office. Normal people would be surprised by this. Not me. Not my friends. Not even my wife, who has grown accustomed to Tim. We all knew him. This was normal. This was expected.

"So, did you ever get to the interview," someone asked, hoping it would end the story before someone got hurt.

"Yeah, they finally called my cell phone back while I was in the social security office."

"Did you excuse yourself from your conversation with the social security people before you took the call?" I asked.

"No," Tim shouted, looking at me like my head was on fire, "They were assholes. In fact, I just shouted, 'thanks a lot assholes,' and left."

"Did you shout that while you had the company you were interviewing with on the phone?"

"I don't remember," Tim screeched in a shocked way that let us know he felt that was the most ridiculous question he'd ever heard. "I finally got to the interview two hours late. I think I have a pretty good chance, but I'm not sure I'll take the job. It's too hard to get to."

Just as Tim finished, the waiter brought our food. Tim order fajitas, but a steak had just been set down in front of him. He started to eat the wrong meal, when someone pointed that out to him. “Why don't you send it back and get what you ordered, Tim?"

"Oh, it's no big deal. I don't want to cause a scene."

If you appreciate the mystery that is Tim, vote for me at


eve cleveland said...

Hey, I think I was married to Tim at some point! You are very funny and I look forward to reading more. Don't feel dumb about the widgets and gadgets and stuff. I wring my brain out trying to understand it. Oome see me at my blog or at humorbloggers.

kathcom said...

Great story. I felt like I was there cringing with you at every detail. And you are so right, there's always someone who'll ask a question and get that kind of guy rolling.

I'd ask you why you're friends with Tim, but I know there are some people who will always be part of the group. Besides, he's giving you great material.

PS- I can't stand grumpy old ladies, either. Is that wrong?

Kirsten said...

"...employers like aggressive candidates..."
was my favorite part. Tim is a genius. I don't know why he can't get a job!

Bee said...

!!! Why can't I have cool friends like that?? All mine are boring. You know what they say, if you can't find the crazy person in your group- oh wait...