by Zoltan James, March 9, 2010 — Officially, you could say I no longer exist, on my resume, that is. Of course I have a long work record, but you wouldn’t know it, not today especially if you relied on a written work history. I started to fill out my work profile on Facebook and realized that most of the companies for which I toiled all those years, are no longer to be found. Oh, sure the buildings are still there and if I could re-enter them I could walk you right to where my office(s) used to be, show you where I hung my coat, and the desk over which I clumsily spilled coffee on the new navy blue dress my secretary wore to work her first day. But, sadly those companies have disappeared, or the names have been changed.
Take for example, how my former employer, St. Joseph and Mary’s Hospital in Kansas City, has morphed into the Dipplesworth Medical Center for Mascara Injuries. Another victim of specialization. Then there are the two hip advertising agencies for which I gave my soul and some of my best creative thinking. One, The Thinkbigger Agency, was swallowed by a bigger fish from the West Coast, while the other, PMS, Inc., dissolved after a long, angry court battle because the five partners couldn’t agree on how to equitably split their share of profits. And, lastly, there’s the coal and uranium mining company for which I once worked and boasted how I was one of the privileged managers to fly in the corporate jet to meetings in other states. Well, that little Fortune 500 division company, got moved by the parent company to Oklahoma, and had a name change from the bland, but stable Colorado Mining Company to Oklahoma Drill and Dredge, Inc.; and then a year later it was gobbled up by the Texas Energy Consortium and finally, when the oil and gas boom, went ka-boom and busted, the company was sold off to Kalamazoo Office Liquidators, one vacant cubicle at a time.
So you can imagine my shock when I realized I had nothing to add to my work history. On paper, or screen, I no longer existed, nor could I prove it. I felt empty and dead kind of like George Bailey in the movie, It’s a Wonderful Life. As I stared at my empty Facebook profile, I noticed that my past had past away. In a panic I dropped to the floor and let our eager puppy lick my face. I soaked up the sensation of her wet tongue and sticky slobber. It felt good in a strange way. Then, I raced to the bathroom and stared into the mirror. I saw a grayer more wrinkled version of me blinking back. Frankly, it creeped me out, but the vision aped my movements which I welcomed as a good sign. I laughed at the sight and heard my voice, and to my great surprise found a little wax in my right ear.
I performed these desperate acts just to prove to myself that I was still around. That I occupied space. My wife confirmed that I was, indeed, alive, for she unceremoniously pointed out the little wedge of lettuce still stuck in my upper teeth from earlier lunch. Then, the puppy threw up on my shoes, the ugly green ones with the fashionable holes in them; so that I couldn’t but help feel the warmth of her production seep into my socks. Ah, to be alive.
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