For the past four years, I’ve been writing letters to Star Jones. I haven’t been doing this because I believe she’s a celebrity diva extraordinaire, put on Earth to show the world how fabulous her life is and how much her husband loves her. No, I do this because I’m a stay-at-home dad in need of a hobby. Of course, I’ve never actually mailed any of the letters. I have, however, done the modern equivalent: I posted them on my blog.
In some letters, I vent about trivial maladies I suffer from.
In other letters, I ponder life’s questions while taking potshots at her fiancé (now husband), Al Reynolds:
Sometimes I write about what I’ve been watching on television (besides The View, of course):
I’ve also written to her from the future:
If you are a blogger looking for a way to spice up your blog, I highly recommend something like this. If you are a blogger looking for a job, however, I would not.
Before my sons were born, I was a third-grade teacher. Last year, when my boys both became full-time preschoolers, I decided it was time to rejoin the work force. I contacted the school system where I’d taught before and we set up an interview for a teaching position at an elementary school. During the meeting, I told them about my time spent caring for my boys and how excited I was to return to teaching. I also mentioned that I was a writer and that a few stories of mine had been published. They seemed impressed; one committee member even let out a “Wow.” This propelled me to brag jokingly that when you google my name, I am the first Christopher Monks to appear.
“Well, I did google you,” one interviewer said, “and I found your website.” She had an injured foot, which was propped up on the chair next to mine and pointing at me in all its Ace-bandaged glory.
“Oh,” I answered.
“I have concerns about some of your writing,” she said.
“Particularly, your letters to Star Jones raised some questions.”
“Oh,” I said. Realizing it was my third “Oh” in a row, I added, “Really?”
“Yes,” she replied. It felt like her foot was right in my face.
“Well, my letters to Star Jones are silly and mindless,” I said, trying to chuckle the issue away.
She nodded, but she clearly expected something more.
“Silly and mindless,” I repeated, “And harmless.”
“What would happen should a parent or student come upon your website? How would you respond to questions about your unusual interests?”
“Yes, such as Star Jones,” she said. The tips of her toes wiggled accusatorily.
Then I realized what was going on. The interviewer thought I was actually stalking Star Jones. So I said what anyone would in that situation: “I’m not stalking Star Jones.”
As soon as I heard myself say the words, “I’m not stalking Star Jones,” I knew the interview was over.
Later that day, I received a phone call from the school’s principal. When he told me I would not be continuing to the next step of the hiring process, I asked if my blog had anything to do with it. Yes, he said, it had everything to do with it.
Months later the whole episode still irks me. Three successful years of teaching and glowing letters of recommendations from former colleagues were trumped by a silly and mindless (and harmless!) hobby. Now I wonder if teaching is the right profession for me. I like working with children, helping them become happy and confident learners, but I’m not sure I can handle working with over-serious and suspicious adults. Nevertheless, I’m still in the job market, and I’ve been sending out cover letters like crazy. Here’s one of them: