Levon announces his big decision

Levon Johns was facing a potentially life-altering decision.

His 90-day contract as a temp doing pick-and-pack at a local warehouse was just about up. The boss said he did good work, that they’d like to have him back for another 90 days. But the economy was finally turning around, and he had these other offers to consider.

He did what any sensible 25-year-old would do in the toughest job market in a half-century. He called his friends and family to gather round, hired a reporter to ask him questions, then dramatically revealed his choice for a new job.

“This whole free agent experience, this whole process has been everything I’ve thought and more,” Johns said. “I put myself in a position to have this process where I can hear pitches and figure what was the best possible chance for me to ultimately have a job and ultimately be happy. It’s all a process.”

Johns’ contemporaries would probably consider him lucky to have any options for work at all. Most of them are riding out this recession among the unemployed — sending out resumes, cruising the internet for opportunities, and counting on their parents to support them. Johns will acknowledge his relative good fortune, though he doesn’t think too much of the choices he has.

He could stay at the warehouse where he at least knew what he was doing, though it was tough being on his feet all day, with no air conditioning and few prospects for winning an NBA championship. Or he could try out what he called the “recruiting process, the whole free agent process” and see what his talents might bring on the open market.

There was the night auditor position at the Super 8 motel, but that would mean working third shift and “they said something about occasional help in housekeeping” being part of the duties. There was the paper route, but that would mean getting up at 3 a.m. and he’d have to get his car fixed. There was the Avon position he saw advertised with “income unlimited — set your own hours,” but he wasn’t sure he had the nerve to hit up his friends at the gym to buy skincare products.

Then there was the option of collecting unemployment, and the option of faking a back injury and trying to apply for social security disability.

“It kinda felt good to be recruited, though I don’t know that visiting the website for social security really counts,” Johns said. “I’d say that I really appreciated having potential employers flying me in for interviews and that putting on all these elaborate presentations made me feel wanted. I can’t say that, however, because it didn’t happen.”

Johns said the decision-making process was “tough, you know, tough” and that he had spent many nights tossing and turning, mulling his alternatives. One morning he’d wake up thinking the Avon deal would be a good one, and that maybe he could earn himself one of them pink Cadillacs, before the cobwebs cleared from his head and he remembered that was Mary Kay, not Avon. The next day he’d be leaning toward the auditing job. At one point, he even thought of suicide, then realized you couldn’t really call that a “job.”

Finally, the moment had arrived for the big reveal. Onlookers edged forward in their seats. A nation stood transfixed in suspense.

“How many people know your decision right now?” the interviewer teased.

“Not many,” Johns said. “It’s a very, very small number. And I probably could count them on my fingers.”

“One hand or two hands?”

“Let’s say one.”

“When did you decide?”

“I think I decided this morning,” Johns said. “I mean, I wake up one morning, it’s this job. I wake up another morning, it’s this job. And it’s a process that I felt it was … I may feel like this is the best opportunity for me or not the best opportunity for me. But this morning I woke up, I had a great conversation with my mom. She told me to put my dirty dishes in the dishwasher, that she wasn’t my maid.”

“So the last time you changed your mind was yesterday?”

“The last time I changed my mind was probably in my dreams, where I got a job as an astronaut but I arrived at the launch pad in my underwear and had forgotten my homework.”

“So does the place you’re going to, that you’ll announce in a few minutes, do they know your decision?”

“Yeah.”

“What was the major factor, the major reason in your decision?”

“I think the major factor and the major reason in my decision was the best opportunity for me,” Johns said. “One thing you can’t control is you never know. You want to put yourself in the position where you feel that it’s the best opportunity. You have to put yourself in the right position.”

“Do you have any doubts about your decision?”

“No. I don’t have any doubts at all.”

“Would you like to sleep on it a little longer?”

“I’ve slept enough. Or the lack of sleep.”

“Are you still a nail biter?”

“What kind of question is that?” Johns responded. “I have many bad habits — not putting the toilet seat down when I’m done, picking my nose in the car, I like to masturbate in the men’s room at Applebee’s. But they weren’t really a part of this process.”

“Well, you’ve had everybody else biting their nails. So I guess it’s time to stop chewing. The answer to the question everybody wants to know: Levon, what’s your decision?”

“In this fall … this is very tough … in this fall I’m going to take my talents to Riverview Road and join the team at Super 8.”

The audience wasn’t surprised. News of the likely decision had leaked out several hours before, and had been reported on all the major networks and all over the internet. At the warehouse, however, where Johns had made friends over the last 85 days and they liked the way he brought donuts that one Saturday they had to work, even though there were too many plain and not enough glazed, there was disappointment.

“This is already a pretty depressed area, and now we’re a little more depressed,” said fellow picker-packer Amy Martin. “I thought he was cute, and will hate to see him go.”

Only a day before, three fellow workers had gathered in the parking lot when Johns arrived for his shift, encouraging him to stay. They held home-made signs reading “Levon — you’re OK” and “You’re the King of aisle 17, pallet 4A” and “We wish you wouldn’t leave us but at the same time we’d probably get the hell out of this dump if we could, though you might want to think twice about that paper route; I did that once and nearly wrecked the suspension on my car.” They sang a song they had written to the tune of “We Are the World.” One refrain went “We are the world/We are the warehouse/We are the ones who pick from shelves/And put stuff in envelopes.” Now, these three were home asleep, not thinking the least about their coworker.

Not far away, the general manager of the Super 8 spoke to reporters.

“I think I remember him. He was the guy with the hair and the thing, right?” said William McGrath. “I should probably call him and tell him the position’s already been filled.”

Warehouse will feel empty without Levon

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One Response to “Levon announces his big decision”

  1. Paul Dixon Says:

    Levon-Levon likes his money!

    Eeeewwwww. I could have done without the reference to Applebee’s. The food’s hard enough to take there without further embellishment.

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