Hire a Hag

I just booked a hairdressing appointment and bought a pair of shoes in anticipation of my job interview next week.

After I get my hair cut, I’ll dye it a more youthful shade of brown. Then, I’ll tweeze my Frida Kahlo eyebrows, replenish my supply of blusher and lipstick, and see whether I can  still apply eyeliner and mascara without gouging my eyes out.

Tonight, I will launder my clothing, and choose from a fine selection of fat lady knits, all purchased within the past year or two from the Sam Walton Collection. I will decide upon tasteful items in dark gray and black… not because they are such flattering shades (they are), but because they are the only ones I trust myself to wear in case I sneeze and pee a little.

Maybe I should bring a hankie.

Does anyone still carry a hankie?

I haven’t seen one since I lived with my grandmother.

And I will certainly wear Emeraude, my grandmother’s perfume, as a token of good luck. But I’ll have to be careful when I put it on. Within the first ten or fifteen minutes, it’s as strong as an angry Matelot, and just as redolent of alcohol; after a half hour or so, it’s barely discernible.

Well, maybe it’s discernible to others. I live with cats, so my sense of smell is deficient, to say the least.

I would carry a little roller to effect a last-minute removal of cat hairs, but I’ve found that the adhesive which pulls up the cat hairs stays on your clothes and attracts dust, mites, and tiny scraps of shredded paper. I simply have to hope that the person I’ll be speaking with is also enamored of felines, and will not judge me if my clothes are a tabby bit fuzzy.

Not that any of this should matter at all.

In a different world, a job applicant would not be judged by her hair color, her couture, her scent, or any of these externals. She would be judged simply by her qualifications, experience, work samples, and reputation.

I don’t worry about any of those.

But do you think I’m worried primarily about my shoes, my clothes, my makeup or my perfume? I’m not. I’m only concentrating on those things because they are the ones on which I can exert some control.

I’ll tell you what I’m really worried about.

My age.

My back, which is likely to start hurting somewhere between my car and the employers’ front door.

My lungs, which will have me huffing and puffing if I’m asked to walk for more than a minute or two… especially if I encounter an incline.

My digestive system, which needs to roar and toot at the most inappropriate occasions, and must make its presence known every time I rise from a deep chair or couch.

My urinary tract, which appears to consist of holey pipes and leaky spigots.

My dignity…which would be shredded so easily if my body attempted to assert its weaknesses, and thereby overshadow the sharpness of my mind.

I can still write like a twenty-year-old… in fact,  much better. My vocabulary is bigger, my grasp of grammar is surer, and my need to impress the reader with an exhaustive array of buzzwords has all but disappeared.

I am, surprisingly enough, in what seems to be the prime of my professional powers.

But I look like a feeble old woman… not someone you can depend on, but a person who wears Depends.

And I’m not too sure that’s a person anyone would want to hire.

Maybe I’m wrong, and that’s why I’ll be there next Tuesday.

Well, at least there’s one benefit I can guarantee: six weeks after I’m hired, I won’t come and tell them I’m pregnant.


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