The Man That Time Forgot

This week’s Friday Fictioneers prompt, courtesy of Roger Bultot, reminded me of a wonderful old song called “Walk Him Up The Stairs” from the Broadway musical, Purlie. “Walk Him Up The Stairs” was a favorite of the band director at a high school I once attended.

(Go Yellow Jackets)

My short happy life as a member of the woodwind section gave me the chance to play, and fall in love with, many timeless classics. This particular song, though, struck a chord that resonates with me even today. If you check out the performance preserved for posterity here on YouTube, you may understand why.

It’s been a long time since the days of band camp. It has been a long time, too, since I participated in Friday Fictioneers. Thanks to Rochelle for leaving a light on for me.

Copyright Roger Bultot

The Man That Time Forgot

“Grandma, have you ever known anyone so in love with the sound of their own voice as that Mr. Donaldson?  I mean, seriously, I thought he’d never stop talking and let you get in the car!”

“He’s lonely, Dear. He doesn’t have any friends. Never has, come to think of it.”

“No wonder. All he ever does is brag about what he owns, where he’s been, how important he used to be when he owned that real estate business.”

“He’s like that American man who made everybody so miserable.”

“What man, Grandma? What was his name?”

“Oh, Dear, who remembers?”



Footnote: There’s something interesting about footnotes, they become meaningless when no one pays attention to them.


She is the same old girl she used to be. Her smile, once a thin disguise for turmoil going on beneath the surface, no longer feels awkward from the inside out. She liberated herself from the private hell we all find ourselves when a fumbled attempt to put our best foot forward results in putting the other foot right in our mouth. An event usually intensified when alcohol is involved.

Business functions are not the place to get your drink on, but they almost always include adult beverages for those who choose to imbibe. Many’s the rubber chicken dinner she has endured with a glass, or three, of something from the bar. She dreads the social function season that begins with Labor Day and doesn’t let up until “Auld Lang Syne” becomes a chorus of “never again.” She is not alone.

Over the years she learned to not roll her eyes while pretentious small talk buzzed in her ears. She mastered the art of walking in her business appropriate footwear, lest she stumble and snag her hosiery. She now manages to hold back the avalanche of rebuttals to bloated bloviators’ sexist remarks because she knows that they are feeling the heat of their own personal hell. She is far, far from where she began with miles to go before she’s done. She won’t let anything or anyone stand in her way. 

Yes, she is the same old girl she used to be, only better.



Rejection: Bring It On!

Somewhere in the millions of words, yes millions, I have read on the subjects of service, sales, leadership, organizational culture, volunteer management, philanthropy, fundraising, corporate responsibility, civic engagement, dispute resolution, emergency planning, disaster response, business continuity, slavery, organic gardening, poverty, crime, education, public affairs, and all other manner of animal, vegetable, or mineral I recall a piece of wisdom that we have to hear NO ten times before we get a single YES.

This is strangely comforting as I embark on my search for what’s next for me in the world of the gainfully employed. However, my qualifications notwithstanding, the keyword firewall seems to be preventing my résumé from getting an actual human rejection. This has left me wondering if in addition to ten post-interview rejections, I must also get ten automated rejections. If that’s the case, I only need seven more before the certainty of an interview. Then the real rejections can begin.

It’s all a numbers game, right? There can only be so many computer generated rejections. Here are the ones I’ve received so far.

Subject Line: Thank you for your interest

Greeting: Dear Stephanie

Message: For each open position, we receive interest from many talented candidates. A team of professionals reviews each and every submission received. Unfortunately, you have not been selected to continue in our process. We wish you the best in your future career.

Salutation: Sincerely, Human Resources

No organization anywhere on the planet has an entire team of professionals who review each and every submission received. Liars! Whew, good thing I found that out up front. It would be really bad if I got the job only to discover at my retirement party that I had been working for liars.

This second rejection message was short and sweet.

Subject Line: Applicant

Greeting: S. Briggs

Message: After thorough consideration by the hiring team, other candidates whose credentials and qualifications are a closer match to the needs of this position have been identified. We wish you every success in your future endeavors.

Salutation: Sincerely, Staffing

They might as well have said, “We are awesome. It’s too bad for you that your skills and experience are of ZERO interest to us. We will fill the position with anyone who isn’t you.”

This next one is my favorite.

Subject Line: Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That!

Greeting: Dear Over-Qualified Job Seeker

Message: This email is to inform you that at the present time we we (this almost seemed like a yes in French until I read the rest of the sentence) will not be moving forward with your application. We (only one “we” this time) encourage you to continue to review available openings on our website.

Salutation: Sincerely, we we don’t really hate you. HR

P.S. Best Wishes

As you can see, the news isn’t all bad. Human resource departments all over the world have invested in the most up-to-date candidate screening technology. That is a big improvement from the years when my résumé went directly into the trash, bypassing the well-wishing process altogether. That doesn’t still happen, does it?

These next few months should be exciting. There is hope. Always hope. Come on rejection; let’s get to the good part!


I’m ready.

Morning Has Broken


Pale light drips down the curtain and stirs the stale air slouching against the baseboards. A draft from the hallway drags the odor of old paint across the floor. Dust rises above threadbare cushions where empty hours pass. A window must be open somewhere. Faded injury meets fresh insult. Hope, long hidden behind closed doors, sags under the weight of another day that has only just begun.