Friday, March 31, 2006

A Funny Story and a Totally Meaningless Analogy

So Wednesday I had a spur-of-the-moment job interview. I hadn't really planned on going, but it was one of those things where the confluence of word of mouth and email led to me showing up at the Career Center at the ungodly hour of 8:30am. The night before I had made myself a mental list of things I would have to bring to the interview: transcript, resume, and tissues for my minor but incredibly annoying Californian rhinovirus. I puzzled over which outfit to wear for a while (my normal interview shirt is, como decimos en español, reeky) and went to bed early.

I started out the morning in rare form. I realized only after I had arrived at the West bus stop ten minutes before the interview was to begin that I'd left my transcript on my desk. I didn't have enough time to go back and get it without being late, so I resolved to explain jokingly that I was so! excited! to get here! that I had left it, and would come bring it by later. Then I stopped by ePrint to print out my resume, and accidentally selected the terminal with the paper jam, losing my job in the queue and leaving me without a resume. Ok, I told myself. This is explicable. Just bring it by later with the transcript.

I went into the interview and sat talking to the head honcho, the principal of the school I'd be applying to. It was going all right - she was a little deadpan, but I was answering the questions with a lot of references to PASSION AND CARING ABOUT THE KIDS AND UNDERSTANDING AND RIGOROUS STANDARDS! ala TFA, and I think she was appreciative. Then, all of a sudden, it came upon me - a huge, embarrassing, unstoppable sneeze. I rared up to release it, and here's how that went:


So now I'm sitting in a room with the woman who will ultimately decide my employment, my head hidden behind my hand, a monster drip of goo hanging out of my nose, and nothing to wipe it on.

I deadpanned it.

"Excuse me - SNOOOOOORK. So how did you decide you wanted to open a school in the Dominican Republic?"

She spent the rest of the interview staring at me. I can't decide whether it was because she was impressed with the way I handled it or because I had something hanging out of my left nostril. I'm guessing choice b.


I have used my extensive 21 years of life experience to form an overarching philosophy about the kinds of people in the world:


The vast majority of people on the planet are, I think, pineapples. They have a hard outer surface, which can prick you if you approach it the wrong way, so you have to use some caution when you go about handling them for the first time. However, when you get to know them, you are granted access to the tasty, tasty interior - and, though the skin is thick, it's really not that difficult to get inside it (a sharp knife helps). Some of this interior is sweet tastiness - goals, plans, inside jokes. Some of it is squishy, sticky juice - fears, insecurities, tiny unpleasantnesses like their penchant to steal all the jelly packets from the restaurant to take them home. Sometimes the juice can be overwhelming, and it makes you all sticky and gross, and you begin to wonder why you even bothered to open the pineapple in the first place.

But even further within the pineapple is the core. The core is a place of inner toughness - it supports the pineapple structurally. So (to go back to the person part of this analogy) after you've gotten to know the person, you can go through some difficulties with them and get juice all over your hands, but you know that even within that juice there is a kind of support that keeps you wanting to know them. It's the thing that makes that person able to crack jokes about themselves even when they're really upset, for instance, or bring you chocolate when you have a bad day even though theirs might have been even worse. This is the essence of that person.

Coconuts are kind of the opposite. The outer shell of a coconut is incredibly hard. You can smack it, punch it, throw it to the ground, hit it with a hammer, drive over it with your car, and there's still no guarantee you'll ever get it open. Sometimes you get discouraged and go back to eating pineapples, because you know they're good and they're not giving you half so much trouble. But sometimes you persevere with the coconut, because you think that if the fruit's this hard to get open there must be something worthwhile inside it.

But when you crack open a coconut, all there is inside is the juice, and it runs all over your hands and clothes, and you're left with nothing at all of substance besides the shell you've already cracked. And you drove over that with your car, so you don't want to eat it now.

I don't really know what I mean to say by making this analogy, but it was just occurring to me that I need more piña in my life and less colada, if you know what I mean. I hate coconuts.**

*Feel free to replace this with PREDATOR vs. ALIEN, if that speaks to you more. ROCHER vs. CADBURY CREME EGG also works.
**I mean, I like REAL coconuts. I just don't like the coconuts in this analogy, which are actually people who use arrogance and unpleasantness to cover their own insecurities. I hope you'd figured that out already.


Blogger belledame222 said...

I like that analogy. Except now I'm all hungry.

4/05/2006 11:22 PM  
Anonymous J said...

I think this description works well (coconuts and pineapples), one of those nice little ways of putting things.
Pity about the job interview, one of those days aye?

4/28/2006 2:58 AM  

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