What Are the Odds I Get This Job? (In Jest)

To Whom It May Concern:

I am writing in regards to the Craigslist position for a Learning Annex blogger on the subject of Self-Help and Personal Development.

I certainly “have…an enthusiasm & passion for the subject” of Self-Help/Personal Development, though admittedly most of my advice will entail staying far, far away from things like books about self-help and personal development.  As Roger Ebert so eloquently twittered, “Self-help books are bullshit.  Read a good book.  That’ll help you.”  I am a budding bibliotherapist and life-long sage and can give the soundest and funniest advice on either side of the Mississippi.  Please don’t misunderstand: I can wax existential about all the self-help luminaries from Oprah to Norman Vincent Peale and Lord knows I could write a f$*ing tome on Rhonda Byrne and the socially noxious dribble contained within The Secret; I just probably won’t point readers in those directions for any reason other than to point out what’s wrong with the world and the way we think about personal development and helping The Self.  I’m more likely to look to Kant, I suppose, or The Bible (with the occasional Van Morrison reference.)  I went to Columbia.  We had to read that stuff,* and I think it helped me personally more than a decade in therapy or any misery memoir ever did.  Not to knock therapy, though, because it was immensely didactic in many ways, and I think most of the population could use such emotional exercise, but given the recession and all, probably not a realistic idea.

I know how to be nice.  No, I promise, I do.  But I don’t like to coddle.  If this position involves quandaries I am supposed to help readers navigate their way through, I’m not likely to hold their hands.  I might pat their shoulders and then give them a really detailed, logical map, some trail mix, maybe a little bourbon to take the edge off, and then send them off.  If they’re being whiny and childish, I may get stern, but I don’t yell.  I do, however, curse often.  No catalyst for self-development like a S-T-A-U-N-C-H munchkin who swears a lot.

I could go on, I suppose, and talk a bit more about my general swath of knowledge, my occasional visits to a Hindu guru who gives fantastic advice, or certain stock life advice I like to give (“Be sure to spend time with people outside your own age group” and “Never trust anyone with two first names”) but really, what the fuck do I know?  The first rule of being wise is knowing you know absolutely nothing, and anyone who pretends otherwise is a false prophet.

To close, I leave you with the lyrics to this beautiful and oh-so-true tune from Monty Python’s film The Meaning of Life:

ARTIST: Monty Python
TITLE: The Galaxy Song
Lyrics and Chords

{Spoken, loosely}
Whenever life get you down, Mrs. Brown
And things seem hard or tough
And people are stupid, obnoxious or daft
And you feel that you've had quite enu-hu-hu-huuuuff

Just remember that you're standing on a planet that's evolving

And revolving at 900 miles an hour
That's orbiting at 19 miles a second, so it's reckoned
A sun that is the source of all our power
The sun and you and me, and all the stars that we can see
Are moving at a million miles a day

In an outer spiral arm, at 40,000 miles an hour
Of the galaxy we call the Milky Way

Our galaxy itself contains 100 billion stars
It's 100,000 light-years side-to-side
It bulges in the middle, 16,000 light-years thick

But out by us it's just 3000 light-years wide
We're 30,000 light-years from galactic central point
We go round every 200 million years
And our galaxy is only one of millions of billions
In this amazing and expanding universe

The universe itself keeps on expanding and expanding
In all of the directions it can whiz
As fast as it can go, at the speed of light you know
Twelve million miles a minute and that's the fastest speed there is

So remember, when you're feeling very small and insecure
How amazingly unlikely is your birth
And pray that there's intelligent life somewhere up in space
Because there's bugger all down here on Earth

Thank you, and goodnight!

https://itinerantdaughter.wordpress.com (only about one year old)

*I am, of course, not including Van the Man when making this statement.


Thanks to Roger Ebert, http://twitter.com/ebertchicago/status/11766350431.
Also to Jivanmukta Swami Ganapati, for telling me to live my reality.

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