Thursday, November 13, 2008


It's been a banner week for nostalgia.

Sunday night found me in a small music hall listening to a former student's band, a two-piece outfit that owes a debt to vintage country, calliope music, murder ballads, and Southern blues, but mostly has its own thing going on. You can take a listen below to my favorite song from my favorite of their records (and as anyone knows who lives routinely with boom boxes and early-morning car horns, it's nice to have something that comes to your ears pretty). That's my student on the left in glasses; he's clearly not so much a kid anymore. I taught him about 14 years ago in a fiction-writing intro, and he was my only student in 10 years of teaching who never missed a class.

Then on Monday I met up with my old college friend Andy. Connecting with him required a 3-mile bike ride to the train station, followed by a 45-minute commuter train, followed by a $12 cab ride. But this was nothing compared to the 20 years it took for us to track each other down. Our last contact was in 1988, and though we've become very different people on the surface, nothing has really changed at the core. In an alternate universe we probably could have stayed up till 3 and ordered a pizza, like we used to do as untethered college kids in Bloomington, Indiana.

Now this next part is going to read like a non sequitur, but bear with me. I've noticed that every time I go to a job interview--and believe me, I've had way too many these last few months--someone always remarks how my resumé is all over the map. This always irks me a little, because I figure when you boil 20 years of professional experience down to a single page, it's probably (maybe even preferably) going to seem less than homogenous.

I've decided, in fact, that resumés don't go far enough to show what's really of value in a life, what truly defines a candidate's character. And shouldn't that be part of what's being sussed out by potential employers?

Resumés should be constantly reformed and reinvented, with placeholders for the experiences that define a person the most, which, for many of us, is superfluous to our professional histories.

So in addition to the many years of teaching; the hopeful but ultimately dashed forays into publishing; the awkward, ill-fitting position in a medical association; and the futile but defining years of community organizing; I'd argue for the following additions to my resumé:

1986-2000: hypochondriac

1980-present: insomniac

1989-present: reluctant jogger

2005-present: dogwalker

1995: teacher of Jeff

1984-1988; 2008- : friend to Andy

1 comment:

Rose said...

I love that resume! You could almost start an internet meme with that...I'm tempted to put together my own such list.