The Alternate Universe of the 99 Percent


I am a member of the 99-percent club, a part-time worker, poverty wage earner, with more time than money to spend.

On my never-ending search for more part-time work, yesterday rubber met the road when Gladys GPS and I followed Google’s convoluted directions to a 2 p.m. interview in a different state – of confusion.

The road on which I traveled was a long, winding route, smothered with traffic jam, not unlike a root canal. The road ended at a funeral home. Gladys assured me the address was correct.

I called the receptionist, my conduit to the interview. “I’m at a funeral home,” I said.  “Is that right?”

“Yes. Just head down to the center of the parking lot and open the glass door by the bicycle shop. We’re on the second floor.”

Now I had to find the bicycle shop and mysterious glass door. The bicycle rack out front provided a clue.

So, I opened the glass door and trudged up the steps, as an older gentleman in a rumpled suit squeezed past me on his way down and out.

When I entered the offices of Marketing Is Us, I looked for a boiler in the room and found nothing, so I said “hello.”

Immediately, Darla, the twenty-something receptionist, handed me a one-page employment form to fill out, which pleased me. Handwriting didn’t come easily to me.  I think I’m Dysgraphic, a distant relative of Hypochondriac.

While I waited for my turn to be grilled and flambéed, I chatted with Darla, who was a great conversationalist and I think part of the interview process. She told me about Marketing Is Us’ combative relationship with the funeral home on the other side.

“After we first moved in, the funeral home sent a note asking our employees not be too cheery when entering the building, and to act solemn in fact.”

“For real,” I asked, loving the life stranger than fiction part of the interview.

“When they realized their funeral faux pas, they sent us a bouquet of flowers.” She pointed to a glass vase tied with a somber maroon bow then added, “The flowers smell like a funeral.”

“Maybe they were on a dead body?” I said, probably not the words she wanted to hear.

She turned to watch the TV.

By that time, Goth Girl, the pubescent applicant who preceded me, said goodbye with a stud piercing in her lip and a dagger look in her eye.

My turn on the roaster spit.

“Spanky will see you now,” Darla announced. “Just go through the glass doors.”


There was a large desk in the center of the room with a man-child seated behind it. He looked like a 12-year-old in a suit and tie.

“Hello,” he said, then jumped up with his hand extended. “I’m glad you could make it,” then gestured. “Please take a seat. We are the result of corporate outsourcing, although we’re in New York, not India”

I didn’t see any cows.

“We handle marketing and sales for Yakety Yak Communications. Tell me what you can you bring to the table?”

Milk and cookies. Or is your mother bringing snacks?

“Where do you see yourself in five years?”


I didn’t say that but wish I did.

When the interview ended, I waived goodbye to Spanky, Darla and the gang, such incorrigible rascals.

On my way down and out, I passed a rumpled baby boomer, struggling for breath, hiking up the stairs. She could have been me.

Back in the car, “Home Gladys,” I ordered. Then, we snaked our way toward the Connecticut border where time, not money, was spent in the alternate universe of the 99 percent.

I hope Operation Wall Street Rocks the Top One Percent’s Rafters.

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31 Comments The Alternate Universe of the 99 Percent

  1. Pingback: Lauren Salkin

  2. ReformingGeek

    Funeral faux pox…..pas.  Hee Hee.  Please act solemn.  Love it.

    Perhaps you are really in the state of delusion?

    I see lots of children in leadership roles.  Wow.  Crazy world.

    1. Lauren

      The funeral stuff really happened! Although, it might not be a stretch to say that I’m in a state of delusion. Definitely confusion.

      Plus the kid was bankrolling the company. That question clearly caught him off guard.

  3. Juneohara65

    Oh Lauren, how I loved this. To look solemn going in. Maybe the flowers were on a body. Where do you expect to be in five years? Dead. I cracked up through it all, even read it out loud  it to my boyfriend. So glad I’m an active subscriber again!

    1. Lauren

      Thanks June!!!!!

      The shit that goes on is amazing. I had to pinch myself several times to make sure I was awake. I forgot that I bruise easily.

      I also suggested that the receptionist remove the maroon ribbon, which she did. I told her it looked morose.

  4. Pingback: June O'Hara

  5. Pingback: June O'Hara


    Oh how I relate! What does that say about me? Oh yeah….unemployed mom, over-educated, with difficulties interfacing with the job gatekeepers. Oh how you make me giggle Lauren!!!!

  7. Linda Medrano

    That sounds like a lot of interviews I’ve gone through.  The thing is, when a job or an atmosphere hits me wrong it’s like that pair of shoes that hurts.  You think you can break them in, but they will never be comfortable or “for you”.  The funeral home attached would make me not want to meet clients there.  Sorry, this is funny but I hope you didn’t want this job.  You are not the kind of girl to hang out at the funeral home.

    When I left my last job, I did contact some of my former clients and did some free lance for them.   In some cases, the money wasn’t that great ($25 to $30 an hour), but in some cases it was good ($60 an hour).  I got by with it, but finally ended up realizing I didn’t want to write proposals for architects and engineers anymore.  I also did some resume writing for people.  Then I got tired of that too.

    If I was younger, I’d sell my ass.  But I’m too old, plus I’m really not in the mood.

    1. Lauren

      Hi Nancy.

      Thanks!!!! It’s great to see you.

      Nope. Didn’t get the job. Next time, to prepare for an interview, I’ll die my hair pink and pierce my nose.

    1. Lauren

      Thank you!!! I’d love to post more. Thanks for connecting at I’ve been working on a book. That’s why I haven’t been posting much lately. I might start posting excerpts from it.

  8. Jayne

    It’s pretty demoralizing when the person you’ll be working for looks like “Alex P. Keaton” or worse, “Doogie Houser.”   That’s kind of how I was aged out of TV writing.   I used to have good lucky signing up with temp agencies.  They kept me as busy as I wanted and if the job sucked you didn’t have to go back.   

    Keep working on that book, my talented friend.

      1. Jayne

        Nooooooooooooooooooooooo!     No grave talk.    I’m still trying to delude myself with the “we’re not getting older, we’re getting better” bullshit.

  9. Pingback: Lauren Salkin

  10. Greg Weber

    What I love about this story is that you can’t make stuff like this up. Only in real life could you have a job interview with a marketing firm called
    Yakety Yak next door to a room full of dead people who aren’t all that yakety anymore. At least you experienced the full spectrum of the human experience: a 12 year old businessman in a suit on one hand, and a bunch of cadavers in suits on the other.

    1. Lauren

      Thanks Greg.

      Yes, both live ones and dead ones in a suit. LOL!

      I hate to break it to you. But I changed the name of the company to reflect the type of business it represented. I couldn’t use the real name.

      Other than that, the interview happened just like that, though with various embellishments. The funeral home really did ask the company to have their employees restrain their enthusiasm when entering the building in the morning. They sent a bouquet of flowers (with a maroon bow) afterwards as an apology. The interview was surreal, especially when being grilled by a man child in a suit.


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