not genius

so this morning i decided to drop-off a resume at a cool-looking used book store on valencia. i’ve always believed that if i am selling things, i should be selling books. not that anyone else agrees with me: i can get hired to sell burritos and picture frames but even with my glasses, no one has ever hired me to sell books.

anyway, i figured maybe my luck was changing. now i have a DEGREE in english and i am pursuing another in fiction writing. plus i’m available on the weekends. and the manager of the store is in my program.

i should have known: my luck likes to hold steady with a b average. or maybe that’s not luck. that could be my level of participation in life. it could have something to do with an undiagnosed learning disorder.


i turned in my resume and the guy at the desk handed me a “book quiz.” i realized i probably should have eaten breakfast. it was 4 pages long. on the first page i was asked to list the works of various authors. i got lemony snicket. i forgot plato. and i know that i spent two months studying the republic at lewis & clark, I EVEN REMEMBER READING IT TO FRESHMAN BOYS AS SOME SORT OF “STUDY GROUP” IN MY BUNK, but i didn’t eat breakfast and i don’t always do well with low blood-sugar.

page 2 was much crueler, i thought. on page 2 i had to write the authors of various works. is it my fault that i can remember that the same guy wrote infinite jest and one of my favorite short stories, forever overhead, but i can’t remember his name? even if that name starts with the name of the guy who took me to shari’s before winter formal when i was 15? DAVID FOSTER. DAVID FOSTER WALLACE. is that that hard?

also i could remember that gabriel garcia marquez wrote magical realism and he wrote in spanish. but i couldn’t remember his name.

the most embarrassing one? not being able to retrieve the name of the author of the harry potter series from my brain.

at least i remembered that herman melville wrote moby dick. so maybe my english degree isn’t completely worthless.

the 3rd page was easier because it asked where i would file different authors and i made up the section of “awesome fiction” for kurt vonnegut.

the last page was more personal. i think it said, “tell us what makes you fabulous?” of course, after my pathetic performance on the earlier sections of the “book quiz,” i wasn’t feeling all the that fabulous. in fact, i toyed with idea of saying lucy maud montgomery was my favorite author but then i remembered that i would probably misspell “montgomery” and it wouldn’t have the same impact misspelled. so i went with kurt vonnegut since the spelling was on page 3.

i thought about running out of the store when i was done and pretending like i had never been there. but i handed the desk person my quiz and walked out slowly like a human adult.

so, there you go. one more place i can never ever go back into. one more guy in my program i can’t ever look in the eye ever again. not that he’ll want to look at me when he reads my notes in the margins about how i am very familiar with harry potter and the goblet of fire, i just can’t remember the author now because i didn’t eat breakfast.

whatever. i have to narrow the city down somehow. why not through humiliating experiences?

that’s how i usually do it anyway. i have to maintain my b at life somehow.