Wednesday, October 31, 2001

I'm still without anything I'd like to call a real job, but I did start a temp job that features tedium of mind-crushing caliber today. I'm sure that will give me fodder in the future.

So now for the story.

This past Sunday, Lee, Jasper and I went to dinner at my Mom's. It was nice - she made chili, the baby did all his cute baby stuff, etc. etc. After dinner, though, my sister had some bad news.

"Oh, Jaeson, I forgot to tell you. I have some bad news. Mr. Frackenthrass passed away."

So, Mr Frackenthrass (not his real name) was my senior year high school English teacher, and my absolute favorite teacher from my whole pre-college education (he's in a three-way tie with two of my English professors after that). This made me really sad. I actually briefly considered attending my 10 year reunion just on the off chance he might be there, which if you know me says a lot. Being in his class changed the course of my education, and very likely my life.

In fact, right now, I feel bad about giving him such a silly fictional name for this piece. He deserves better. Oh well, too late now.

Too late now is also what I was thinking on the drive home as I remembered running into him about 5 years ago in a Barnes & Nobel in Oakland, when I told him I'd like to go have coffee with him sometime, and got his phone number, which I never quite got around to dialing, being too busy investing my time in a career that was destined to implode in 5 years anyway, albeit unbeknownst to me.

I thought about the guy for the rest of the night. Stuff he'd said, things I'd learned in his class about literature and the appreciation thereof, as well as the appreciation of what drives the creation of literature, namely, life and the experience of it. It was depressing. I really wished I had given him a call.

So today I started that temp job. They took us on a tour of the office, and described the mental gymnastics we'd be expected to perform in our duties as UC Application Processors. As we were shown the employee lounge, I found myself looking at the back of this guy's head at the coffee machine. He turns around, and HOLY SHIT!

"Mr. Frackenthrass!"

He now works at the place where I'm temping.

"Hey, Jaeson! How are you? Are you going to be working here?"

"Um, yeah, for a little while...hey, you might want to know little sister..."

"Amber, right?"

"...yeah, well, she told me you had passed away..."

"Really? I don't seem to remember doing that."

"...yeah, clearly...Hey, it's a relief to see that those reports were exaggerated."

"Yeah - well, I'll see you around the office, then!"

"Yeah...See you."

Sometimes, the Universe comes up with plot twists that no novelist would ever be able to get away with. Such license is enviable.