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  • (The following story follows on from "Pointy Shoes Maketh the Man" and may not make sense if you haven't read that one.)

    My wife's friend teaches English at a great school. She's going on maternity leave and kindly recommended me as her replacement. This is huge! I'm a Drama teacher, not qualified to teach English, (even though I write real good and spel awsome!) but if I got this contract I'd be much more employable.

    And, it's a job! With like, money, which has been in pretty short supply since... how long have I been an adult?

    "Come in for a chat," says the Head of Department, stressing that it is not an interview. In my wife's words, all I have to do is go in and show her that I'm not a psycho.

    Even so, I stuff my feet into the pointy shoes, but then looking down at them, they seem somehow inappropriate. I take them off and go with the Campers. You know, the round, unassertive ones.

    Later, after it's all over, my wife says, "As soon as I saw that you weren't wearing your pointy shoes, I didn't feel good."

    "Why didn't you stop me?!" I exclaim. My wife is not unknown to have premonitions. Although they are often revealed after the fact.

    But it wasn't a premonition, it was the realisation, as she saw me out the door, that I was self-sabotaging.

    And she was right. To prove it, ask me what socks I wore. I wore my wife's pink socks. Why? Because they were all I could find at the time. Really why? Because I wanted to be just that little bit more emasculated.

    I'll spare you the details of the 'chat' that ensued between my would-be bosses and me. Suffice to say, I handled myself with the opposite of aplomb, whatever that is. Plomb. I totally plombed out.

    I realise over the next few days that it is all because deep down I am afraid of teaching English. I fear I can't do it.

    I relive the conversation in my mind, cringing to recall my unsure tone, cowering posture, the doubt rising in their eyes, awkwardness thickening the atmosphere. Why? Why would they ever hire me?

    I imagine them, madly scrambling to find someone else, before the term's end. "Anyone but him!" They're screaming.

    I imagine getting the call, the apologetic let-him-down-easy tone, the clever excuse, "We're just not sure you can handle a full-time load."

    I imagine the cowbird story I will write about how, despite all I know about the power of the pointy shoes, I inexplicably defy that wisdom to my own detriment.

    I resign myself to this fate and then I get the call.

    I've got the job!

    I guess I was a shoe-in after all.
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