Whenever you are asked if you can do a job, tell ’em, ‘Certainly I can!’ Then get busy and find out how to do it. — Theodore Roosevelt
As a long-time patron of bookstores, I possess a passion for books, authors, and reading in general, and thus the ideal qualifications for this position and any other at your stores . . .
Crap. Another hour wasted writing cover letters to local bookstores. My recent attempts at schools and libraries have failed; desperation has driven me to scan ads for sales clerks or coffee barristas. Yet even these opportunities are not without their challenges in today’s economy. For example, Borders and Barnes & Nobel both require resume and cover letters, not to mention forms and questionnaires. Most employers require your life story before even considering hiring. And mine at the moment is not exactly a contender for the Pulitzer.
Moreover, my ability to pen a decent respectful letter to potential employers has waned in the past years. Everything I write upon a second or third reading comes across as fake or unnatural, like wedding vows in soap operas: I am quite eager to work at your store. Reading has been a passion of mine since before elementary school, and I cannot wait to spread the joy of literature to your customers.
Ugh . . . the words leave a bad taste in your mouth, don’t they? If I tempered my resolve, a little bit of honesty might shine through into my letter. Yet that also might prove . . . regrettable:
Dear Mr. Bookseller,
Hello my name is Michael Murphey. Give me a job please. I need money. If I had money, I would buy books, books from your store. Perhaps magazines as well. And iced tea . . . the occasional coffee too. Really, the skies the limit here, sir. If you sell it at your bookstore, there’s a good possibility that I will buy it with the money I earn working for you and your company.
Seriously if you doubt my dedication to your bookstore, rest assured. I am a reader. Do not misunderstand this as mere literacy. I read to live and will hyperventilate if not within ten feet of a book, periodical, or cereal box. Further separation results in coma and death (I assume that last bit). In fact, I’m reading right now while writing this cover letter and wonder absently if an allusion to Kafka’s ‘Metamorphosis’ might impress upon you my dedication:
As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic insect.
I just read that. For fun. Clearly I am perfect for this job.
Although I realize that bibliophilia may appear unhealthy, you should not worry. With the extra money I get from working in your bookstore, I’ll buy food, which will keep me healthy so I can buy more books . . . again from your store. Thus, in the end with the exception of food and perhaps clothing (New clothes are optional in a large family. Hand-me-downs will suffice until I win the lotto.), most of my paycheck will return to you in exchange for books . . . if I work here. It’s like buying a lifetime volunteer, a slave or an indentured servant – if you’re politically correct. So please give me a job.
Other potential employees may not be as obsessed as me. These normal mentally-stable individuals, driven to live quiet lives in apartments too small to house even a mediocre bookcase, spend their money on useless things like rent, dog leashes, and wedding rings. I live in my parents’ basement, hate animals, and – for the previously mentioned reasons – will never mate. BUT I do buy books from your store, where I hope to work.
I have memorized the floor plans to twelve major booksellers in the state of Maryland, three in Florida, two in Illinois, and one near Anaheim, CA, which after much begging served me a delicious raspberry iced tea just before closing. My eyes can immediately recognize major subject areas and even direct the rare customer to the psychiatry, autobiography, and poetry sections – those shelves hidden in the darkest corners of the store. Do you know where Seth Grahame-Smith’s Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter might be kept? Young adult, middle aisle, third row from the bottom, gray cover. If you enjoy that, I recommend Pride, Prejudice, and Zombies by the same author. Great stocking stuffer during the holidays.
Look, I’m not asking for much. Merely a job and employee discount. That’s all. Pay me in cheap novels, dirty romances or Clive Cussler westerns. Those stacked on the bargain shelves with the red stickers, chronicling Irish castles, views of Ecuador, or Doonesbury Anthology, I’ll take them all. If you allow me sleep overnight in the manga section, I’ll work for free.
Please, I’m on my third reading of Death on the Nile. I need more money and stories. Now. Before I begin to hyperventilate. T-t-thank you-u-u.
All paid jobs absorb and degrade the mind — Aristotle