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You can't keep a good Shredder down


I was thinking of throwing my hat in the ring to become Cuesta College's next president. After all, I've got the necessary qualifications, and I'm remarkably diverse to boot. My mother was a quarter Nigerian, a quarter Nicaraguan, a quarter Antarctican, and a quarter Antediluvian. My father was a quarter Irish, a quarter Welsh, a quarter British, and a quarter horse. You should see our family reunions.

Diversity has been a big part of the discussion in searching for someone to be less interim than Cuesta's current interim president Ed Maduli. Some trustee or other has taken some flak recently for making a comment that's been perceived as--how shall I put this?--less than culturally sensitive in discussing what sort of person might fill the top spot at the school, but I don't mind. I can work in all sorts of situations, even ones that have people wondering whether a particular minority or other would be able to fit comfortably in the position or the school or the town or whatever.

So, armed with a can-do spirit and go-get-'em attitude, I searched the college's website for a job application. I even updated my resume. It looks like this now:

Shredder: 1992-present.

I was sure I was a shoe-in, until I couldn't find the job application on the employment page. I found plenty that I could do if only I knew how to teach physical education or was qualified to staff the "Class-B Driver's Part-time Pool," or knew what a payroll technician was, but none of that was what I was looking for.

My mother always used to tell me (in her native Creole) that I would be president someday. She never specified what sort of president though, an omission that gives me a lot of leeway. I don't think I could hack the whole commander-in-chief gig, but a stint as college president certainly falls under the president umbrella, and would technically let me still obey my Mama's wishes.

Or it would, if the people making the decision weren't already narrowing down their choices. I may have missed my window of opportunity here. Ah, well. I might just wait until Cal Poly President Warren Baker steps down in another century or so and line myself up for that job. If I could convince some anonymous donor to give $60 million nah, it's been done. If I could convince some anonymous donor to give $60.1 million, maybe I could take the helm there. A Shredder can dream, can't a Shredder?

I was all ready to polish my resume a little more, you know, maybe add a little bit about my hobbies to make the Cal Poly folks sit up and notice, when my life flashed before my eyes. It looked something like this:

Shredder: 1992-present.

My life-flashing came courtesy of a near-death experience I had a few days before I wrote this. I got word that there was a fire at 505 Higuera--the building that New Times called home for the last half-dozen years or so. Maybe more. I never really spent much time actually in the office, so it's not like I have any fond memories of the place, but I did set foot in the building just enough to be able to call it my base of operations.

When I heard that my old stomping grounds were burning, I panicked. Did someone I pissed off over the years finally flare up and decide to take me out? And if so, who could it be? I started running an alphabetical mental checklist, but gave up before I even got out of the A's three days later.

It was easier to look back over these columns from years past and just find the names in bold. I still gave up three days later, only a few columns into my writing history. I'm a slow reader, and there are so many people who'd have reason to see me go up in smoke. I'd name them all here, but there's no reason to make them angry all over again. If you throw rocks at a different hornet's nest each week, you don't need to go back and shake them all at once. Come to think of it, I don't either. Here I was giving you specific advice, and it turns out my words of wisdom apply to me. Metaphorically speaking. They still apply to you practically, so don't discount them outright.

Plus, all of my worrying was for naught--or not, or however it's spelled. I've only ever heard it spoken. Turns out the burn started because of some electrical shortage, not because some enemy of mine wanted revenge. Boy, what a relief! Here I was feeling a little paranoid--which is an admitted improvement over the seriously paranoid feeling I usually have--and it turns out that there was never any danger to me at all. Of course, even if the fire had been an intentional attempt at immolating me, it would have been too late.

New Times moved, remember? But just in case anyone out there really does have my number, I'm not going to repeat the new address here. Anyone who wants to take me out just has to show a little enterprise.

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