Certainly, I can!

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

6 thoughts on “Certainly, I can!

  1. Mikie I am glad that you are attempting to look for a job, especially at places you frequent and enjoy. I hope you find one that fits you well. Oh and I triple dog dare you to send that letter to borders! If you get a job at B&N I will visit often…for books and coffee of course…meanwhile you could read to your future niece/nephew in the children’s section! Good luck on the job hunt…if you can’t find anything you can fall back on your lumberjack and woodchipping skills. Or become a Manny.

  2. I love your style – I wonder what would happen if you sent something like the above to a bookstore. You might just catch their attention… especially at one of the big ones, what have you got to lose?

  3. I can’t believe it! That’s me you are talking about. The geeky-book lover :)) the only difference is that I’m a girl and quite gorgeous :))))))
    In search for a job, I even contemplate at the thought of opening my own library. Did you think of that? Just throw some pillows and lamps around your basement, and let the people pay to read your books 🙂

  4. It’s both wonderful and frightening to know that others exist like me. Actually my room already serves as the library for the entire household, which in itself is a small community of like-minded individuals. Regrettably most of the population agrees that reading is boring, something to be endured only for either school or weapon: hardbacks are frequently hurled when I tease Kevin. Seriously the boy is a thin Odd Job, ready to decapitate you at the slightest insult with Bolt’s Man for All Seasons. The irony sadly only causes me to laugh.

  5. I recently moved to Germany, so my entire library remained home. There was no way I could have moved about 700 books by plane. I need to plan a trip and rent a truck just so I can take them with me.
    In the meantime, I keep going to all those flea-markets in the region, in search for cheap English books.
    My last raid, provided me with the following (and feel free to laugh):
    -The Partner by John Grisham
    -Unnatural Exposure by Patricia Cornwell
    -Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
    – The Second Saladin by Stephen Hunter
    and Star wars: The Planet of Twilight

    Currently I am finishing the last batch, with Robert Ludlum’s Icarus Agenda.

    If it’s written, I will read it :))

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