I wanted to write a satire tonight. I’ve been on a satirical streak as of late: I’ve read a lot The Onion and tons of David Foster Wallace essays too. I like satire and I think I’m good at it— I am debilitatingly sarcastic, and a bit of a smart-ass. I wanted to write a satire tonight, and this morning gave me the perfect opportunity to do just that.
This morning I attended a class called “Self Awareness– Exploring Personal Values and Building Self Esteem”, which was funded by Service Canada. Everything was perfect. As I walked into the Service Canada building, I was greeted by an over-caffeinated receptionist with salt and pepper hair who knew me by name.
“Good morning, Nick! How are ya? Have you ‘fobbed in’ yet? Good! Workshopping it today are we? Good! Good luck”
I walked into the Workshop Room, and was immediately greeted by a bright eyed career counsellor, who started our conversation off with a “hidden job market” joke. I was soon joined by seven or eight other job seekers who were every bit as desperate as I am and slightly less clean.
I started writing notes, not about the content of the class, but about the facilitator’s clothing, the room’s irritating fan and the grooming habits of my fellow students. Everything was perfect, until a single action broke my heart and effectively shattered my ironic distance.
The morning began with an ice-breaking exercise. We went around the circle, each sharing our desired field of work as well as an “interesting, non-job related fact” about ourselves. I learned a lot about my fellow students, and wrote little har-hars in my notes.
One girl revealed that she really loved beads. She showed the class a necklace she made last night, and we all feigned interest accordingly. The discussion then turned to Johari’s Window and its relevance to our respective job searches.
About an hour into the class, we paused for a ten minute coffee/cigarette break. I stayed in the classroom to further evaluate my fellow students. Then, the bead girl got up and took her prized necklace off her neck. She strode across the room and presented the necklace to Laurie, a middle-aged woman whose feigned “wow” was especially loud.
“I’d like you to have this necklace.” She said. “You seemed to like it and I think it suits you. You don’t have to take it, of course, but if you want it… here you go.”
The entire room fell silent. Laurie teared up as she thanked the girl for her humble gift. And tonight, I write a sentimental piece instead of a satire. I’m better for it: I think you are too.