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Murphy's Law in Action

Like everyone these days, I carry a cell phone everywhere. My number changed when I came back from South Africa, though, and given that I'm not a particularly popular chap in the first place, hardly anyone calls me. I do most of my conversations by email and text SMS, and those are with only a few people. Of the actual phone conversations that I do have, basically all of them are with my family and girlfriend on the nights and weekends. I would honestly estimate (really, not exaggerating) that I receive incoming calls during the day about once every other month.

All of which is just a long excuse for something that's really just a bit of stupidity on my part--I didn't have my phone on silent yesterday. And when do I receive that bimonthly call, but the worst imaginable half-hour out of the roughly 1,600 half hours present in two months' worth of business time: a really important job interview yesterday. The worst part was that it felt like I was doing quite well up to that point, answering questions fluently and well (by my standards, anyway) and I was forced into one of those classic quick series of reactions--astonishment (no one ever calls me!), a violent surge of self-hatred (IDIOT!--see the sheriff's reaction at 4:04 here), quick rearguard action to cancel the call and maintain composure (shit, shit, how do I make it stop??), then a surge of agonizing self-doubt (big fuckup, moron, that might be it for you), and finally a return to concentration.

Of course, I had completely lost my train of thought and was wrong-footed for a good minute or two. I spent most of the rest of the day lambasting myself for it, and lambasting myself further for not remembering that you can make the thing go silent instantly by just pressing one of the volume keys. (I suppose if I got more than 0.5 calls per month, I would have known that offhand.) The cruelest irony of all was that it was just my sweet, blameless grandma calling to congratulate me on the magazine piece I got published.

But in the end, I don't suppose it was a huge deal. Shit happens, and I reckon things like that happen even to big-time magazine writers. Nothing I can do about it now anyways, except not do it in the future.


  1. Hey Ryan,
    Same exact same thing happened to me, in Pretoria at a conference center interviewing for the job I currently have. It was a teacher from the school we left, who we said good-bye to about 1,000 times, calling to ask where I was after the school break! I went through the same sort of emotions during my Skype call, he called twice. Well, weirder things happen...if that is all it takes to make/break the interview, something else is off. Don't let it get to ya. :)

  2. Thanks :-) Nobody ever remembers everything.

  3. Don't sweat it. You are an incredibly intelligent individual and very well spoken. A cell phone call won't make or break anything.

  4. Haha, thanks Wells. "Won't make or break" is the key phrase.


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