Saturday, June 19, 2021

The Job Interview

 My game is a bit in tatters at the moment. The putter mocking my every effort. The euphoria of a well struck drive promptly fading from memory as the succeeding iron shot forms an unintended parabola into unwelcoming flora. But I did not reveal any of these deficiencies during my interview for my summer job.

The pandemic has created havoc in every direction. The time from the earliest whispers of this coronavirus to its placement in the very heart of the very, very nervous system of this entire planet, making the definition of certainty absolutely uncertain. What once was immutable now but muted.

And as our economic universe wobbled, one of those arenas taking a direct hit was summer camps. That oasis for children, that place where parents of certain means could store their offspring for a short while, home to some of the best days for many young lives, now with a "closed until further notice" sign. There were a few exceptions, but for most of these camps, as for virtually everything else, 2020 was the summer that wasn't.

I spent my summers from ages 6 through 12 in the mountains of the Poconos. At a camp that focused on athletic endeavors, milk and cookies for an afternoon snack (I always stood in the chocolate milk line), brother and sister meetings by the campfire and Color War. And Joy Lutsky, who walked away with one of my sweaters for each of the last few summers in recognition of my ardor for her.

I was intended to spend my life in such a place. Now closing in on 70 years on this planet, I would still walk around with a baseball glove on my hand if it were even remotely socially acceptable. My greatest skill in life still making little kids crazy as they find an old person with the spirit of a six year old, willing to speak with them not at their level but at mine, which coincidentally happens to be exactly as theirs 

As the world lurched forward towards the summer of 2021, old realities returning to their rightful spot, still it was not quite what it once was. For camps in this area of the Berkshires, it was not necessarily a wariness on the part of parents to allow their little ones to leave the protective wombs, for there was an absolute hunger to allow their children to be nothing more than children again. Rather, it was an issue of finding people to oversee the well being of the assembled.

One arm of this dilemma was in not being able to freely recruit help from foreign countries. To my understanding, many summer camps rely heavily on staffing up with those who are not from here but way over there. This year, over there was too often merely out of bounds.

As the Coronavirus refused to go quietly into the night, as other countries continue to stagger under the weight of this disease, the relative ease and simplicity of coming and going is not so simple after all. And this is where I come in.

My daughter and son in law have become fast friends with the owners of one of these summer camps in the Berkshires. It being located no more than the full length of a championship golf course from where I reside. A sports camp with a small driving range, where golf is more of an asterisk, an afterthought, than a centerpiece. 

A pro golfer from England had served as master of ceremonies for the slices and hooks, the dribbles and the occasional wondrous swing. Six days each week there were skills being taught, if not always absorbed. But not this year, as he stayed on the wrong side of the Atlantic, marooned by an invisible deadly enemy.

Since Tiger was still sidelined with leg injuries and thus unable to undertake the demands of this role, the focus turned to lesser lights to fill the need.

Desperate times call for desperate measures. As my daughter and son in law extolled my virtues to their friends, and the owners undoubtedly understood that I would pay them to be allowed to be at the place on earth best aligned with my soul, my name scrolled across their ticker.

"Hello, this is Mike". He had me at hello.

I arranged to meet him at camp early the following week for my interview.

I think the first mistake I made was bringing my wife and son along with me, not only to visit the camp, but to actually be present while the owner and I spoke. I think it belied any seriousness of purpose on my part.

In retrospect, I also believe that my limiting my commitment to one day a week, rather than six, was not helpful to my cause.

Still, I held out the faintest hope that my winning personality, or maybe the urgency of their finding any solution, no matter how imperfect, might allow me to turn my fantasy into a part time reality.

Sadly, my phone has not rung since that day with a call offering employment. Maybe I merely performed poorly in my interview. Maybe the owner actually learned of my limited skill set. 

But, I will have to survive the disappointment and hope that another opportunity presents itself for me to find myself at the place on earth where I am best suited.

Until then I shall merely toil in anonymity, offering unsolicited and almost always unwanted advise to old men who have never been able to hit out of a bunker, will never be able to hit out of a bunker and would welcome nothing so much as my never considering that I have the capacity to impart any wisdom to anyone relating to the game of golf.



Anonymous said...

You can teach me.


Harvey F Leeds said...

You are only young once but can be immature 4 ever!!!

Anonymous said...

Gee. they didn't even want you as camp father. or mother, if you were willing to wear a dress..for shame.

Amy said...

If anyone has any doubt, I can verify your claim about your ability to make little kids crazy...

Anonymous said...

Loved this. I’d go back to camp tomorrow if they’d take me. I can totally identify


Anonymous said...

No doubt a missed opportunity. You should ask if you could be a camper


Anonymous said...

I would vouch for you if it were not for the fact that my very first game of golf was with you, and it didn't turn out well for me, if you recall, as I nearly decapitated the starter as he was sitting in his cart. Happy Father's Day!

Anonymous said...

Their loss for sure.


Anonymous said...

This is great. Gave me a much needed smile.