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Dead car equals job search

I've been on a downward financial spiral for several years now -- in fact, at one point I was desperate enough to (unsuccessfully) ask Congress for a personal bailout, thinking myself more deserving than some corrupt car company. But I didn't actually hit rock bottom, truly dire straits, until a recent event in my life I now refer to as The Epiphany.

It was the dead of night. I was standing outside on the curb, wishing I'd brought a jacket and furiously kicking my Mazda's front passenger door, addressing it in language that would make grown men cry. My Mazda had just broken down. Completely inoperable.

For the several weeks previous to this, I had subconsciously feared it would end like this. The signs were all there: difficulty in turning the motor over, a persistent shaking in the underbody and a horrible, shrieking whine the engine made when I approached 60 mph, that can only be described as the sound of puppies dying.

But I had never told my parents about the problems my car was having, much less brought it into the shop myself. I guess I kept figuring my trusty old Mazda 626 would survive one more day. And finally, my luck just ran out.

My dad would later tell me this very thing, yet I knew even then, standing there with my hands stuffed in my jeans on Central Avenue on that harsh December night, waiting for my parents to come pick me up, that I needed to get a job if I ever wanted to drive again.

Not another newspaper column, not another neighbor to rake the leaves and shovel the walk for, but a good, honest, paying job. My time had come to join the working class.

Months previously, in an isolated moment of motivation, I picked up three job applications -- for three different pizza joints in town -- but had never before felt any real reason to fill them out. Now, I had a reason. So, when I was finally home, I walked inside the house, headed straight for my room and started filling in the blanks.

Name: Kitzmann, Nathan Paul.

Phone Number: easy enough.

Address: I knew that, too.

Social Security Number: . . . I'd come back to that one later.

Grade Completed in High School: 10.

This wasn't turning out to be too bad . . . not too bad at all.

Any special skills? I wrote writing, assuming that whoever would be evaluating my application had never read my column.

What position are you seeking? I checked every one except "bartender. "

How many hours are you willing to work each week? All of them -- if I wanted to get hired in these economic times, I needed to come across as desperate and accommodating as possible.

Are you willing to relocate? Well, not that accommodating.

Have you been convicted of a felony in the past seven years? I had to think about that one . . . no, not convicted.

And so I continued down the list, filling out all three of my applications within an hour.

I dropped my applications off, and that's where I am today. Waiting for the call-backs and hoping that the only jobs available are for delivery, so that I have to get my car fixed, even before I save up enough money to do it myself.

If I don't hear back from any of the three pizza joints I've applied to, then I'll send in applications to my second choices of establishments in town where I'd like to work, and so on down the list.

I won't give up until I get to Kitzmann Law Office.

To be continued...

Nathan Kitzmann is a junior at Detroit Lakes High School.