“When life gives you lemons, make lemonade.” The witty Erma Bombeck or the perky Edith Bunker or the CEO of ReaLemon may have coined that adage, but if you do so you are missing a prime opportunity of getting even with life.
The recommended behavior of juicing those lemons is too passive for me. Lemons, firm and the size of your fist, make lethal missiles when aimed accurately. Use a few to blacken Bad Luck’s eye or raise a welt on Misfortune.
Life handed me a crate of lemons last week.
I applied for a library job. In my opinion I was as perfect for it as it was for me. Twenty hours a week at a decent hourly wage organizing story times and riding herd on the children’s section. A form rejection letter documented that my interviewers hadn’t shared my vision.
How could they not have hired me? With a background in education, experience in the school’s library and a strong collaborative spirit, surely I was the obvious choice. I mentally tossed a lemon searching for a target. In replaying the interview, a few blips appeared.
“Do you speak any other languages?” I was asked.
“No, but I used Google Translate to order a taxi in Barcelona once.”
“Do you have experience with multiline phones?” was another question.
“Yes, I do. It’s a lot harder than it looks.” I thought about my short stint as a hair salon receptionist. I had been fired after three months.
“What would you do if a child has a tantrum in the library and the mother is standing by doing nothing?” I was queried.
“Haven’t we all had those days?” A memory of my son, crabby due to a skipped naptime in order for me to complete one last errand, flitted across my brain.
Then I regaled the interviewers with humorous tales of Kindergarteners persuading me that blue leaves really existed so they could use the blueberry-scented markers when coloring a tree. I ended with anecdotes from vodka tasting events that I conducted as a consumer educator. I didn’t gain any points when I asked the head librarian if she drank. I believe she flinched.
In retrospect the interviewing librarians may have had a vision of their own- me disconnecting callers while using an iPhone app to help bilingual patrons. In the background exhausted children beating the floor to get their way while I attempt to appease them with blueberry-scented markers.
Of course they didn’t hire me. I wasn’t interviewing. I was performing – only I had the wrong audience.
When I thought about it what I really wanted to do was write and to write funny. I hurled a lemon at Procrastination by registering for a Steve Martin Master Class. I flung a lemon at Inexperience by researching the best humor Blogs. I lobbed a lemon at Fear by launching “A Few Choice Words.” Maybe one day the librarian technician that was hired in my place might be shelving my book.
The library will be quieter and more organized without me . . . but it won’t be as much fun.