The goal is live with as few regrets as possible, as few situations where, thinking, “I wished I’d done that, instead….”

Passing through Dallas (Texas) with my new then-newly minted literature degree, thinking how life was open to possibilities, I applied to work at a bookstore, a large, independent bookstore. Instead of an application, I submitted a short letter, read something like, “I don’t want your job, I don’t want to move up in management, I want to shelves books, sell books, and talk about books.”

I got the job, lasted three weeks, maybe a little longer. High holiday season, think retail when we didn’t wear masks, or worry so much about political correctness. Didn’t enjoy it; don’t enjoy retail from the business end; and I didn’t enjoy listening to people buy books because the books looked good on their shelves.

The letters turns out, my application letter, was passed around the break room as humor. Serious intent, but just humor. Think the application must’ve had that, “Tell us why you want to work at our bookstore,” in it.

While it wasn’t the first time a letter I’d written got passed around? The humor was intended for the guy who was supposed to hire me, he did hire me, and he was tickled enough to share it. It’s not the first time I learned that anything said or published, is subject to treatment as if it were part of the public domain.

At the time, unbeknownst to me, I was humorous in print. Turn of phrase with a lacy undertone of sarcasm, be about right, still youthful and filled with that righteous indignation.

Think the job lasted three weeks. Retail. At this time of the year, a full-on Xmas season in Dallas. I departed for Austin a few days later, never looked back.


The regret? I don’t have that letter I wrote. I know it was saved on a “hard drive” that lived in Austin, and the data was transferred to another machine, all the while living in a cold-water, student-barrio, bed-sit.

Back in the old days when Austin was cool.


The regret? I don’t have a copy of the text of that application letter.

Apparently, it was funny.

Draft Cover

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