Posted: March 22, 2011 in Chawn, Schooldays

It is December, and for the first time ever, December is comfortable with its’ identity. It’s cold. Well cold. I’m tempted to wear my Canadian ski pants, but Stourbridge is just too Gulfstreamed for -20c, and anything above that is far too hot for ski pants.

This week I have two interviews; it’s a big week, and I’m rubbish at interviews. My pastor’s given me some advice I didn’t expect. He’s told me I need a man.

And I’ve agreed. 


It is Tuesday afternoon and I am sitting in Café Nero with hairy funk and stylish beard in my jumper-over-shirt combo, saved for tone-unknown times.

I am sitting across from a man.

A built, athletic thirty-something with the natural gravitas of a cross between a Tyrannosaurus and Will Smith’s head.

I’m nervous. The man puts his phone down. It looks relieved after all but buckling under his booming vocal cords. For a moment his gaze is strictly on his coffee, which gives off more steam in his hands. This is a man that gets what he wants.

I watch helplessly as the cup lands in his saucer in the re-cup-very position. Behind the mug his eyes stare. Straight at me.

He’s eyeing me up.


“So, Dan…”

I look at the door. It’s only a couple of inches away, but this man is a vampire-angel hybrid! He would definitely get there first.

“How would you feel…”

My fight or flight settings go into a training montage.


Why on earth did I agree to this? I grit my teeth. And stroke my stylish beard. And gulp.

My gulp is gritty.

I drink some water.

“…you didn’t get this job because of your stylish beard and hairy funk?”


I am with The Don. A man deserving of the name. A fashion assassin. He glistens in a resplendently expensive jacket. He’s an expert at interview techniques. He’s a presentation powerhouse, and I’m a derelict kennel. His advice is sage, except that he’s just told me to shave off my beard and have boring hair for the next week.

I sigh. And stroke my stylish beard.

Half an hour later, my answers are transformed. He grins and lets slip the monetary value of our time together. I suddenly want to buy him a drink, but he declines, for this is pro-Bono. The Don’s a giver! A philDonthropist! A Batman’s dad for the Gaultier generation! He is a saint.

I thank him.

“No worries, mate. Sometimes you can’t make it on your own.”

St. Don walks on, and disappears into a sunlight haze. I smile. It’s a beautiful day in God’s country. My foot feels a surge of strength, and steps forward. Into my destiny.

I slip over.



It is the morning after my Don-tal work and I am at Wolverhampton Uni – in Walsall – being herded into a room with 12 ladies. It’s like the set of Loose Women as my co-herdeds chat for one high-pitched minute.

Before a deathly silence descends.

This is weird.

It’s turned into Mastermind; and Big Boots is staring at me silently, preparing to misuse the word ‘comprised’.

Silence awaiting an interview is killer, so I start conversations, but immediately become very aware that everybody’s listening. A hot girl from Doncaster joins in. She speaks and I’m entranced by her pint-and-pie accent. Mark Blake jumps into my head. It gets crowded. So I leave.

“Daniel Mohr?”

I’m called into a small room with two nurses. I sit, and spend 30 minutes moving in mysterious ways. St. Don’s spot on, and I enjoy it! They say goodbye with a smile, and prepare for a day without me.


It is Thursday and I’m up early. The smell of success has got me up, and gelling my hair into Ultra-Lack-Of-CharacterMan. I head to Smelly Oak where my challenge is to write a letter at the reception PC. I begin.

A bloke appears and asks me to photocopy some papers. I think of St. Don. “Why not, my good man!” I decide to help him out, with pride; in the name of love, and then blow away the task in an administrative electrical storm.

“Daniel Mohr?”

I am called in by Matt from the website. Matt who just won a campaign for legal change in Albania. I congratulate him. He’s surprised, and smiles. He says something like “thank you very much” but I know what he’s really saying is “I want to hire you so much.”

I walk into the interview trying to mask an “aww yeah!” face. It is bizarre. They ask about my non-worklife; what I like to do. I know the answers, and can’t wait to tell St. Don that he’s bagged me two for two.


I head home via Birmingham. A busker is playing violin. I hear him from a distance and notice him repeating one refrain. I imagine that it must be so dull, but he looks so happy!


I enjoy his contribution to the moment and pop a little 20p something-something into his hat. Which he’s not wearing. I am proud of him. A workless man making the most of tough times. I shall call him Dogmond.

I smile, and have no regrets about the 20p.


I am at home watching Frasier when the phone rings. My heart leaps forward, but does so before the rest of me and smashes into my ribcage. I fight my way through the messy myocardial milieu and pick up the phone.

“Daniel Mohr?”

I fall back in my chair and drop the phone. The words “one of the weaker candidates” run around my mind on Mark Blake’s shoulders. “All the candidates were great though. We’d have been really happy with or without you.”

I breathe. And am briefly stuck in a moment of emotional vertigo. Until a refrain pops into my head.

I smile.

And run upstairs.


Five minutes later I am sitting on the sofa before a blazing fire, wearing my Canadian ski pants and boasting to Frasier of my hairy funk and my baby stubble (or ‘bubble’).

I press play.

And stroke my bubble.

And smile.

And give myself 20p.

  1. Sarah says:

    I would’ve given you 40p Dan. At least.


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