(taut jeans dancing)

An Anthology of Poetry about Being Young and Growing Up
Table Of Contents
Acknowledgments & Links



Tom Wayman

Everybody was very nice. Each place Wayman went the receptionist said: "Certainly we are hiring. Just fill out one of these forms." Then, silence. Wayman would call back each plant and corporation and his telephone would explain: "Well, you see, we do our hiring pretty much at random. Our interviewers draw someone out of the stack of applications we have on file. There's no telling when you might be notified: could be next week or the week after that. Or, you might never hear from us at all." One Thursday afternoon, Wayman's luck ran out. He had just completed a form for a motor truck manufacturing establishment, handed it in to the switchboard operator and was headed happily out. "Just a minute, sir," the girl said. "Please take a seat over there. Someone will see you about this." Wayman's heart sank. He heard her dialing Personnel. "There's a guy here willing to work full time and he says he'll do anything," she said excitedly. Around the corner strode a man in a suit. "Want a job, eh?" he said. He initialed one corner of the application and left. Then a man in a white coat appeared. "I'm Gerry," the newcomer said. "This way." And he was gone through a doorway into the plant. "We make seven trucks a day," Gerry shouted standing sure-footedly amid a clanking, howling, bustling din. "Over here is the cab shop, where you'll work. I'll be your foreman. And here is the chassis assembly . . ." a speeding forklift narrowly missed them ". . . and this is where we make the parts." "Wait a minute," Wayman protested, his voice barely audible above the roar of hammers, drills, and the rivet guns. "I'm pretty green at this sort of thing." "Nothing to worry about," Gerry said. "Can you start tomorrow? Monday? Okay, you enter through this door. I'll meet you here." They were standing near an office marked First Aid. "We have to do a minor physical on you now," Gerry said. "Just step inside. I'll see you Monday." Wayman went shakily in through the First Aid office doors. "I need your medical history," the attendant said as Wayman explained who he was. "Stand over here. Thank you. Now drop your pants." Wayman did as he was told. "You seem sort of nervous to me," the aid man said, as he wrote down notes to himself. "Me, I'm a bit of an amateur psychologist. There are five hundred men in this plant, and I know 'em all. Got to, in my job. You shouldn't be nervous. Remember when you apply for work you're really selling yourself. Be bold. Where are you placed? Cab shop? Nothing to worry about working there: monkey see, monkey do." Then Wayman was pronounced fit, and the aid man escorted him back through the roaring maze into the calm offices of Personnel. There Wayman had to sign for time cards, employee number, health scheme and only just managed to decline company credit union, company insurance plan, and a company social club. At last he was released, and found himself back on the street clutching his new company parking lot sticker in a light rain. Even in his slightly dazed condition, a weekend away from actually starting work, Wayman could tell he had just been hired.

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