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Tuesday, July 3, 2007 11:30 am

Resumé padding

Or the man who understood George W. Bush

Untitled Document It’s a beautiful day, normal people are doing normal things, and I’ve just finished a three-hour online debate with five twentysomething college-student slackers in their seventh year of undergraduate study. I’m 66 years old, and I’m basking in the glory of victory. I won the day with my answer: “The funniest thing on TV is the Burger King commercials.”
I could go out into the real world now, but I need to do some research on tomorrow’s question: “What is the biggest possible roadkill?” It’ll take us an hour to define “road.”
I’m 66 years old, and I’m the only non-student-slacker allowed in the chat room. All the regular members have titles — we’re all “dudes.” I am “The Dude of Ancient Doggerel.”
Not good! I need to be with “standard” people. Maybe I could get one of those old-retired-guy jobs where you don’t have to know or remember anything. Maybe I could be a delivery boy — on Tuesdays. Or maybe I could volunteer somewhere again.

I recently volunteered for two days a week at a social-service agency, helping people with their résumés. All of the clients had checkered employment histories, and I took some pride in getting those whom I assisted at least to the interview stage. Easy enough: Truth can be said in “a different way.”
My question: “When you worked at Hardee’s, before you went to jail for burning the joint to the ground, did you ever show a new hire how to work the cash register?”
The answer: “Once.”
Résumé entry: “Job duties: point-of-sale systems training. Reason for leaving: The business downsized.”
Larry Oliver Perkins was my 13th client. He believed in, and understood, George W. Bush, president of the United States of America. After the commander in chief said, “If the terriers are torn down, this economy will grow,” Larry Oliver Perkins shot his dog. After W. said “I know how hard it is to put food on your family,” Larry divorced his wife of 19 years because she refused to wear mayonnaise pants. After the Decider said, “I think we agree, the past is over,” Larry packed up all his yesterdays and set ’em on fire. When George II said, “The only way we can win is leave before the job is done,” Larry quit his job. I needed to know more about Larry Oliver Perkins before I could manufacture his résumé, so we talked. Larry didn’t walk until he was 4 years old, and it was only then that his father, Big Ollie, bonded with little Larry by putting the lad in a cardboard box. Larry’s head stuck out from a small hole in the top. Larry’s old man was a stay-at-home-father with duties eventually refined to (1) drinking beer, (2) watching afternoon Cubs games, and (3) drinking beer — a fine routine when little Larry couldn’t walk, but now, at 4, Larry was into everything, so Big Ollie put Larry Oliver in the box and trained him to get him a beer whenever Big Ollie hit Larry in the head with a baseball autographed by Ernie Banks. In other words, there was nothing in Larry’s childhood much different than anything in the childhoods of other children with Cubs-fan parents — nothing to explain his later Bush affliction. Larry had worked only one job — he was the accountant-in-the-last-cubicle-before-the-exit-sign. He was a marginal employee, but they needed someone to make simple journal entries, so they kept him on, and then George II told him to quit. Other than a marriage to someone who would not wear salad dressing, nothing whatsoever except simple journal entries happened in Larry Oliver Perkins’ life between the last time his old man hit him in the head with Ernie Banks and now. I had both résumé problems and interview problems. Larry wouldn’t plan and wouldn’t make decisions, because George II had said, “We don’t believe in planners and deciders making decisions on behalf of Americans.”
He gave up having even low expectations when the president said, “I am the master of low expectations.”
I couldn’t budge Larry, nothing worked, and my failure absorbed me. I stopped helping other folks, paid no attention to other business needing my attention. I was bogged down in a confrontation I could not win, and I could not admit my mistake and still save face, and then — the epiphany! — I, too, came to understand George W. Bush. I declared “Mission Accomplished” — and, using my new found Bushspeak, I “disvolunteered.”


Today’s chat-room topic is: “Best cartoon boy — Butters from South Park or Stewie from Family Guy?”
I gotta get out of here and maybe get one of those old-retired-guy jobs where you don’t have to know or remember anything. Maybe, now that I understand the president, I can be the attorney general — on Tuesdays. I’ll work on my résumé. I’ve been arrested a few times — I can use that as “legal experience.”

Contact Doug Bybee Sr. at dougbybee@sbcglobal.net.
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