Smashing My Fat Skull Into a Box

 “There’s room at the top they’re telling you still, But first you must learn how to smile as you kill” – John Lennon, Working Class Hero

One of the joys of having dragged myself back across the country and started my life over again is finding a new job here in the great, somewhat economically challenged state of Maine. True, most sane people would’ve looked before they leaped and found a job BEFORE they pulled up stakes and moved to a new area. But seeing as how I’m the kind of guy whose first-ever fat bike ride on snow was 135 miles in minus 20 temperatures across Minnesota in the dead of winter (the Arrowhead 135 in 2008) that sort of logic doesn’t really enter the discussion. I like my learning curves to be steep or else I get bored.

So lately I’ve found myself sitting at job interviews across the desk from potential employers trying to sound professional. Well, I guess I should rephrase that as I’m fully capable of being professional but as I’ve gone a little feral over the past several months I feel as if I’m a poor actor playing the role of prospective engineer. The interviewer poses a question and I answer, the camera rising overhead like a vulture riding a thermal in a full out-of-body drone shot. My words echo against the harsh fluorescent-lit walls of the office like glint off ice.

Well, the main reason I left my last job and moved east was to be closer to family and escape the frenetic life I was leading in California.

I can hear the words from my lofty vantage point as the horizon opens up allowing a view to the nearby lighthouse, the one whose horn I now hear from home on foggy evenings.


I would describe myself as largely self-motivated – I’m curious by nature and always looking to learn new skills

The waves roll in and the words roll off my tongue like water off a rock. My lips may be moving but suddenly I can’t hear what I’m saying as the pull of the surf is strong today. I really need to get a sea kayak and explore more of the coast around here. Sometimes a bike just isn’t enough.

P1110977 (2)

Just who is that babbling fool in the chair talking about himself, trying to sell his wares like those annoying people at the cell phone kiosks? I think I’ll leave him behind for a bit and go for a little ride on the nearby trail system. I head into the woods to the low, metronome tone of the foghorn as it guides me through the fog that drapes the hardwood scalloped edges of the pond. Working with my bike I retreat deeper into the forest.

No, I don’t have any direct managerial experience but I do like working within a team environment. It’s a special feeling when the team comes together to complete a task.


At this point I’m unsure who that guy sitting in the chair is as he’s now so far away I can barely see him, but he seems to know what he’s talking about so I’ll leave him to his chore. There does seem to be something a little “off” about him however, something I can’t quite place my finger on. Maybe it’s the way he keeps looking out the window like he’s scanning high peaks, or how some of what he says seems a little forced. And why did he ask if the office has a shower as he sometimes rides his bike to work? That seems like an odd question to ask at an interview.

What’s my greatest weakness? Hmmm that’s a tough question to answer…


On the far side of the pond an unknown trail beckons with its ring of Autumn fire. The leaves whisper softly on the wind “Abandon all hope ye who enter here” as I ride beneath the arch losing sight of the stiff body back in the interview. You’re on your own now you babbling fool who needs to earn a living – we’re going out for a ride on this glorious day. Don’t wait up, it’s gonna be a long one.

Can I start next week? Well actually the week after next would work best. I have some business to take care of…


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2 Responses to Smashing My Fat Skull Into a Box

  1. Craig Runnalls says:

    Good luck in Maine. California is missing you already. Knowing another intelligent person has left the state is a little depressing. There aren’t many left. Keep up the blog when the winter hits back there. It was 90 degrees in Orange County today, and the water is still 73 degrees at T- Street in San Clemente. Stay tuned for the El Nino out here. It should be a whopper!

  2. Tom says:

    Thanks for the well wishes! Yes, I’ve been watching all of the strange weather in CA with interest. Hopefully the upcoming winter won’t be too damaging, but the state sure can use the water (and snow). Hopefully we have a good snow yr back east and don’t wind up with warm (relatively) weather!

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