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Head Over Heels
an SAT/ACT vocabulary novel

January 8: Go Get a Job Day

I went out and procured a job today, right after I used fourteen of my last sixteen bucks on gas. Indigence can be frightening, the way it constricts your freedom and makes you obsess about what you haven’t got. You don’t have to endure being a pauper very long before work starts to look appealing.

Instead of just driving around to restaurants asking for applications and looking for POSITIONS AVAILABLE signs, I figured it made more sense to just pick the optimal place to work and drive right over and tell it to them straight. The place I came up with was Viewpoint Books, my favorite place to be frivolous with my time and money. It’s a small, locally owned bookstore located in the Commons Mall. The Commons is this Star-Trek-looking cube of brown glass panels. It was designed by Cesar Pelli, some Italian guy who’s famous for, as far as I know, designing freaky looking malls.

I walked right up to the counter at Viewpoint Books. The face above it was a familiar one—Agatha Renshaw, a girl from my school who’s known for being a hippie type with strong opinions on stuff. I wasn’t sure whether this was a good thing or a bad thing.

“Welcome to Viewpoint. Can I help you?” she asked in that hurried, blasé way that makes sales clerks sound like automatons.

“Hey, Agatha,” I said.

“Hey,” she said. “What do you need?”

“Well, I kind of need a job, and this is the only place I want to work.”

“Um, I don’t know if they’re hiring. But you can fill out an application.”

“All right,” I said. “May as well.”

She gave me an application and I sat down to fill it out. In the experience category, I put my two waiting jobs. In the special honors category, I wrote Soccer Captain and Junior Class Vice President. It was weird to see yourself defined as an accruement of accomplishments. While I was filling it out, Agatha went and talked to the owner of the store. He came and shook my hand. He said he didn’t really need much help, but that he recognized me as a recurrent customer and liked that I said I only wanted to work there. So he hired me, right on the spot! Just for a few hours a week, but still—it seemed like it all came out perfectly. I took it as a sign that everything was getting back on track.

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