Fun, Follies and Loss of Innocence in Novel Land

A spy gets me in from the cold

Boss yelling at an employee

The copy desk chief was really excited about my ability to edit news stories

If you remember from I’m Tagged as a Misfit, I needed money but I was striking out in finding a job.

In my interviews, I showed up overdressed, got pegged as a troublemaker, and channeled the Cheshire Cat.

Afterward, I sat at home lamenting the year I spent writing The Not-So-Great American Novel only to follow it with Western schlock that got whipped out of town by a New York City publisher.

Great. No book. No job. No money.

What would you do next?

I decided to stop pouting and think big

So I interviewed at the daily newspaper with this killer line: “I know I don’t have any experience, but I am pregnant with potential.”

How could they say no to that?

I don’t know, but they did.

However, I had developed a spy on the inside who said they were desperate for help but under a hiring freeze.

I began calling the managing editor every week so he could pretend they were fine without me.

When the job freeze melted . . .

. . . I was hired as a copy editor because, as the boss told my spy, “He wanted it the most.”

Would you believe it? Bugging the shit out of someone actually worked.

I guess it didn’t matter that I had never edited news stories or designed any newspaper pages. You read that right: zero.

Frankly, I barely knew a font from a fart.

(Well, I really did know farts: family car farts, airplane farts, jumping jack farts and, of course, everyone’s favorite: dog farts. You probably know a bunch more.)

But ignorance is bliss . . .

. . . and I was willing to work until midnight with split days off for $3.75 and one extra half-cent an hour, which is probably the real reason I was hired.

My first night on the paper was a success: I screwed up a simple editing task because I couldn’t remember simple instructions. The copy desk chief squinted his eyes, slammed the desk hard and growled at me like an angry dog.

I knew what he was thinking because I had gained mind-reading power when a goat head-butted me in the face: “Who was the idiot who hired this idiot?”

Talk about great!

I was a real newsman, getting yelled at just like Jimmy Olsen on the Daily Planet.

Momma would have been so proud.

NEXT: “I Become a Crawling Thing”

QUESTION: What job did you get that you weren’t qualified for?


  1. Nancy Blakley Henderson

    This is so Awesome! You kept me laughing.
    God Bless you,

    • Phil Cobb

      Thank you, Nancy. Laughter is the best medicine.

  2. Lissa Johnston

    You left out yoga farts.

    • Phil Cobb

      How could I have missed those?

  3. Melanie Roussel

    Hilarious XD “Who was the idiot who hired this idiot” had me in stitches as I swear I’ve heard one of my bosses say it. Not about me, I hasten to add. Well, maybe about me – no one turns around when they hear that particular clarion call…

    Keep posting! I need the laughs these days.

    • Phil Cobb

      Definitely never turn around, because then you’re tagged as it.

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