I’ve been playing a video game called Oblivion. It’s the predecessor to Skyrim- you wear armor and cast spells and fight skeletons in caves and shit. The point of these games is they are “sandboxes,” meaning: there’s a story to the game, but you don’t have to follow it. You can wander around the wilderness picking flowers and just chatting with the townsfolk if you want. It’s liberating, or it’s supposed to be– most video games constrain you to solving puzzles to get to the next cutscene. Nothing has changed since 8 bit Nintendo. Not so with this shit– you can be whoever you want, do whatever you want.
Except I’d get drunk and start obsessing over my stats. Whether I’d built my character wrong. What the fuck was I thinking not taking any kind of weapons skill– you knew the spells were soft and you only have fire spells and of course every motherfucking creature you encounter is resistant to fire. Should I go back ten hours of play and load an old save. Rebuild. What if I level up wrong and my character is gimped for the whole rest of the fucking game. Should I give the magic book Fingers of the Mountain to Teekeeus, the Argonian master of the Chorrol mages guild, or to his bitchy Elven rival Earana? Better look on the internet and spoil the quest to find out. Which one gives you a better reward.
The whole game is made so you can avoid that kind of shit. Just play whatever you think your character would do. Earana seems like a cunt; Teekeeus seems like a nice guy. Why not give it to him. But it turns out she gives you a better spell. An ice spell. Those fire resistant demons could suck it. I was having no fun whatsoever. Wasting time in order to be miserable. There is a difficulty slider. You can just switch it to “easy.” Same game, but shit stops killing you so fast. But that would have wounded my pride.
If there’s an X checked off on your biweekly unemployment form, you have to give them 10 places you applied for a job. There’s never an X.
But Nikol scared me. Told me she would get an X on every one, and it was only a matter of time before that started happening to me too. Fuck, I better apply for some fake jobs. I don’t want to work. Not yet. But I better cover my ass.
So I got on craigslist and started looking for shit. And a funny thing happened. I had no intention of working at any of these jobs, ever. But I started filtering them out anyway. That one, not enough pay. That one, commute’s too long. That one requires three years experience working with a Board Certified Dentist. Dude, who gives a shit. You just need the name of the firm so some state clerk who could not give less of a fuck can rubber stamp your meager check. But still. I kept looking until I found ten jobs that are close to my place, or at least against traffic, and for which I am so supremely motherfucking qualified that these people would be idiots not to hire me.
Secretarial shit. I was a glorified secretary in Hollywood for 8 years. You have no idea the strains and pressures that come along with that gig. Everything has to be perfect, from the color coordination of the Post-its in the supply closet to cajoling some nutty director over stars falling off a project– outside of the White House, there is no “admin” gig on Earth where the stakes are as high. I was applying for gigs at bullshit companies. Little finance places, construction places. Personal Assistant to a guy whose one man company installs solar panels out of Van Nuys. I tailored my resume. Customized my cover letter. The professional version of look, I’m the god damn He Man of secretaries and further I have X customized experience in your company’s field. By what miracle is such a nineteen inch dick of candidates available. Set the rest of the resume pile on fire.
I couldn’t just send out ten resumes to ten random bullshit jobs and call it a day. I had to optimize my build and really try. I could have sent them a resume in crayon and a drawing of my dick and they still should have hired me. But it was the Stanford Prison Experiment, and my role was “Job Seeker,” and god damn if I’m not gonna be the best Job Seeker on the face of the motherfucking planet.
I didn’t get a single response. That kind of shit, they’re only gonna hire a chick.