Friday, October 9, 2009

"Carol" Knowlege

It was about two weeks after my last shift as a SCAB phone operator. I opened the Times Picayune and saw the ad that changed my life.

READAK Educational Services was looking for young (hmm ... that's me), dynamic (I can fake it), bright (okay 2 out of 3 so far) educators (what's that?) that are interested in traveling (yes). Competitive salaries, expenses and bonus packages ... Woah. Money? Real money? What's a readak? Doesn't matter ... I can do this ... I just needed to find out if educators and educated meant the same thing.

Turned out that READAK was actually a developmental reading/study skills program that was sold to independent schools around the world and taught by people like me ... only smarter and reliable. Despite that, I applied and apparently fooled them into thinking I could handle the job. They hired me. Being an educator apparently wasn't as important as advertised. We were "trained" using the READAK method for one month before we were turned loose on real people. So having a teaching degree was not essential. Go and figure.

The company was headquartered in New Orleans, even though the three founders were from Boston originally. I knew next to nothing about the company ... didn't have Google back then ... so it was tougher to research outstanding arrest warrants, fraud and general bad stuff about the company or the principals ... so of course my "classmates" and I signed up without asking questions.

Training started the next week.

There were about twenty of us. We got to know each other well. I was pleasantly surprised to find that unlike the people I had worked with in my other jobs ... these folks spoke English and rarely used phrases based on sexual positions or sex with relatives. It was kind of like being back in college ... without the ivy and oaks. And if you squinted as you sat in your desk in the tiny classroom on the third floor above the florist shop ... you would swear you were in a tiny classroom.

Carol sat next to me.

I didn't know her as Carol then, because I couldn't quite make out what her name tag said. You know how it is when you meet someone and you want to know her name but you don't want to stare at their nametag because of where it's located? You start to feel like a perverted stalked if you look too long. Well ... I did a couple of quick glances from a distance and finally walked up confidently, trying to impress her with my observation skills.

" What an unusual name ... I've never met a Carnal before."

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