Getting hired is an artform and to get good at it, it helps to be a horrible employee. That wasn’t me.
The interview panel was asking me questions. “Have you ever had a problem with someone at work?” It was a trick. If I said “no,” they’d think I was lying. If I said “yes,” they’d want me to elaborate. I wasn’t going to tell them about my worst day on the job, so I pretended to think long and hard. I sat there for over 30 seconds.
“Can I come back to the question?”
“Sure… What qualifies you for this position?”
“I have a degree in psychology. If I know one thing, trauma leads to pathology.” They liked fancy words. The skinny teacher kept nodding every time I spoke. She had a grin on her face. I might’ve thought she ate children, if it wasn’t for the fact that she was so skinny, but I knew I was making a favorable impression.
“I know the answer to your first question,” I said. “Would you like me to answer it?”
“I recycled someone’s beer and they got angry.”
“That won’t be a problem here; beer is not permitted on the premises.”
“Okay, we’ll let you know.”
I got hired the next day.
Miss Helfrich pulled me aside. “I just want to let you know; you may have to restrain some kids today. I’ll show you how it’s done. In 20 minutes, I was holding on to them while they threatened to kill me. By the time the school bell rang, I felt like I’d wrestled in the WWE.
“Mr. Johnson, you need to ride the bus today.”
“What?” I asked.
“Yes; I’ll show you how to strap in Nicholas.” She pulled out a harness that looked fitting for Hannibal Lecter.
“If he bites, we have a mask he can wear. Don’t ever let him out of the harness until his stop,” she warned.
Nicholas got onto the bus and followed his routine while I talked to the bus driver. “Back in the 1800s, I’d be nobody,” he said. “No, you wouldn’t; you’d be the stagecoach driver.” That cheered him up a bit.
“You know, I have this girlfriend,” I said.
Do you know a good place where I can take her?
“Yeah, there’s a great Vietnamese spot on 4th.” He deviated from his route so he could show me the restaurant. Then he got lost. Nicholas started complaining and he weaseled out of his restraints.
“I’m going to kill you, you bitch!” He screamed. Nicholas had a pencil in his right hand and he tried to stab me with it. I leapt out of the way, while the bus driver tackled him. We got him into his restraints and found the bus stop before anybody got too worried.
“Maybe that wasn’t such a good idea,” the bus driver said.
“Well… I have a story to tell my date, anyway.” I replied.