Overqualified: All these scraps with no signatures.


To: Sales, Polar Star Expeditions
Re: Reservations/Sales Service

I am writing to apply for the position you've advertised in your reservations department, and I am including my resume for your review. I feel that my years of travel agent experience will make me a valuable addition to your company, and I hope that you will give me the chance to explain my perhaps dubious past.

It seems like every time I meet someone new, my body breaks down. Unrequited love makes me someone else, a plant reaching for light that isn't there, trying a new direction with each failure, leaving me bent and twisted. I don't want you to look at my mandatory statement of criminal history and see the convictions, the results. I want to help you understand the reasons, the causes. I want to take you by the hand and show you how this can help us both, how it has made me into a better travel agent. I was convicted on sixteen counts of bombings and arson, across five provinces and three states. I feel badly about that, but I'm reformed, and it serves to illustrate a point that I want to make.

Every company is built on the individual, succeeds or fails with each employee. And while I may have acted more directly in setting those fires than this metaphor implies, I ask that you stay with me. Every company is its employees. Similarly, every employee is his own company. Every person is that complex network of responsibilities and interdependencies. Every man, woman, child, succeeds or fails with each and every constituent part.

Imagine me as a fast paced international travel company like yours. Imagine that somewhere in the chain of command a vice-president discovers invoices, stacks upon stacks of paper detailing these furtive glances, these hickies I leave on my arms, writing her name with a ballpoint pen, imagining the broken blood vessels are the result of her passion, that these fingers running through my hair are hers and not mine.

In an abandoned desk, all these scraps with no signatures, charges for shortness of breath, for sitting by the phone and pretending to read, remembering each digit of her phone number with a phonetic clarity, hearing it out loud in my head, her voice whispering them to me from the pillow, her lips inches from mine, knowing she doesn't need to write them down, knowing I will remember.

Hundreds of invoices for bus rides into a neighbourhood that I already feel is ours, and not just hers, every face on the bus familiar and wonderful.

These expenses were never authorized. This is fraud, and as much as the VP wants to just close that drawer for someone else to stumble across, it's impossible. These charges are coming out of an expense account that has been set aside for remembering to eat, for sleeping properly. These charges are draining the account. These charges are undermining the entire company's stability. They've been affecting the big picture.

Sexual Harassment is such a vague concept, don't you think? If someone loves you and you love them, it's nothing to reach out and stroke their hair, to tell them that they look lovely today. You can keep their picture on your desk, in your locker. You can keep their eyelashes in a locket around your neck. These are little bits of love, but only if you sit down and say "Well, just for the record, we are in love, okay?"

They're beautiful gestures of affection, if you've shaken hands on the whole love thing. They're proof. But without that oral contract every lock of hair loses its magic, and proof becomes "evidence" It's a sick distinction, as though love only becomes valid when someone else agrees that you can love them. Whole companies can back this philosophy up, memos coming from all over. Five states of warnings, reprimands and chastising. Three states of the modern death of love, faxes as death sentences.

If every company is its employees and every employee is a company, I've found new investors. I've hired consultants to get me back on track. I'm moving into the future with a definite goal and with a plan to achieve it. We're trying to rebuild customer faith.

"Love is a disorder," the consultant says. He pulls in his collar. "It doesn't matter whether it is born of our bodies, of our sex drives, of our need to be physically intimate with some other being, or if it's entirely a product of sitcoms and romantic feature films. Love is a disease that you need to purge if you want to remain competitive. It is a condition that you can work on through weekly sessions with a reputable therapist, which you can get medication for now."

So, unrequited love can help me become a travel agent again. It took away my career in a string of news reports and a long jail sentence, but it has come back whispering a new way. Customer satisfaction can be her satisfaction, can be my successes. Profits can be our children, bright and handsome, in need of love, nurture. And nobody will take me aside and say "dude, people are talking." No, not for this love. With this love, I could be employee of the year. I could be everything you want.

Yours,

Joseph Comeau