sometimes bold is best

In 1969 I got a job as a chemist testing paint formulas at Glidden Durkee in Baltimore. After I was hired, my boss came up to me and said the US Naval Academy would not release why I’d left without written permission from me. I’d left because they kicked me out after almost 3 years for smoking grass. I told him, “No problem, I’d be glad to grant permission.” And he said, “Well in that case, we don’t need to ask” and dropped the matter. Here’s a foto of my 10 classmates who were kicked out with me for drugs. Wonder how many of them had to deal with it in civilian life.

Edna’s Employment Agency by Wred Fright

I wrote a short review of Wred Fright’s new comic novel “Edna’s Employment Agency” cuz he seems like a nice guy.

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I stopped by Edna’s Employment Agency.

Meeting their misfit employees and questionable clientele, I wondered how they all survived, what with the staff spending more time getting through their damaged lives than finding jobs for others, while the job seekers drag out the process as long as possible to collect unemployment – all this drenched in TV sit-comish humor (a lot of it rude and crude).

Wasn’t sure I wanted to spend time with these folk, but kept reading, and I’m glad because beneath this chaos lies a sweetness… by the time I was done, they were my misfits, whom I actually cared about.

At first the employees seem inept, shallow, selfish (and they are), but page by page their humanity surfaces, revealing an office family sort of looking after each other and their clients. Their often surreal and slapstick office adventures are interspersed with outside slices of the customers’ lives, so the job seekers slowly become someone to care about as well, rather than something to gawk at like cultural roadkill.

This comedic novel captures the acerbic humor that dominates most places I’ve been employed, as well as the tenuous friendships developed with co-workers you may not even like.

One blurb likensĀ Edna’s Employment Agency to “The Office” and “Parks and Recreation” (which I’ve not seen, but feels right from what I’ve read).

The book is short, humane, gentle, absurd, and should put a smile on your face. By the end you might even like Edna.

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He blogged it with some nice words about me: