Tuesday, May 4, 2010

False Alarm

I got all excited because I received an email, "Are you still looking for work." that was for a freelance copywriter resume I posted on craigslist.
"That's right," I thought. "I wrote a good piece of salesmanship and I'm getting leads. That's what I'm talking about."
So I write back and received the following email:

"Sorry, I was tired last night and responded to the wrong listing. I'm looking for a receptionist for my dental office. Please accept my apology."

And my self esteem plummeted to record lows.

Nevertheless, I am devoting time to Nat King Cole this week with two box sets of his music and his biography. I will know as much as I'll ever know about him when I finish listening to all his music and reading about his life. He was a pro pianist by 16 years old and fought tooth and nail to become a success, even putting his own money into the production of his television show. He had the skill and the ambition and not too many personal demons but he was trying to make a name for himself during Jim Crow era America. He would've been better off going to France, but he loved the States so he stayed.
He smoked like crazy and when they took a lung out of him in Santa Monica that was the end. He was about 5 years older than me when he died, which is 45 years younger than Martin. So he was exactly half as old as Martin. Isn't that crazy? I asked Martin about Nat King Cole and he'd lived through his entire career, knew every song.


When I first met Martin I thought he was Irish, like from long ago and his accent had been sucked into the downeaster dropped Rs of Kittery. But I wasn't sure. Today I played Martin in tennis again learned more about him. It was a second date kind of meeting where the generalities are dispensed and we discussed our families.

Martin is not 80 years old, as I suspected. No, I was off by a decade. He was born in 1920. 90 fucking years old! 90! He was in shorts and he said he could play only as long as the cortisone shot in his knee was working. His tale is one for the ages and I've definitely got to interview him. In another twist of fate he was born in Newfoundland, which is part of Labrador. And that explains his accent. His father and three other brothers went into the British Navy in 1940 and only his father didn't come back; torpedoed in the Atlantic. I forgot to ask what ship it was that went down. His four sisters were all nurses. He ended up in Kittery after trips to Europe and Australia.

But for him to be from the very province I'm trying to get to is amazing serendipity. And he wants to go back to newfoundland this year so I'm thinking I'll be the one to drive.

And even though my job hunt has left me cold and hungry I feel things are moving in the right direction. The sky might be falling but it's always been falling. It's 90 degrees today, sunny, my moped is working and my tennis game is improving. People are buying houses and having babies and kids are in the park. The bombs are falling on Kabul, not Portsmouth. If I play my cards right I can play tennis for another 50 years. All I need to do is write my Santa Cruz book.
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Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.