Young chimpanzees outperformed university students in short-term memory tests conducted by Japanese researchers. CBC News.
I sat nervously in the reception area of Dai-Ichi Kangyo Industries, uncomfortable in my suit and tie. How do humans get through the day in these monkey suits? Haven't they heard of casual dress codes?
I had prepared late into the night for my interview--I hoped I wasn't over-prepared. I rummaged through my briefcase. I had extra copies of my resume, a certified transcript from Kobe University, a legal pad to write key words on so the interviewer would think I was taking copious notes, a pen . . .
Jesus H. Freaking . . . I forgot a pen! What was I going to do now?
I looked up and saw another job applicant--a real dink. He had a plastic pocket protector with three pens in it.
I scurried across the room and introduced myself. I made some hand signals--point, point, scribble, scribble, you . . . give . . . me?
The kid gave me a look that was a mixture of scorn and contempt. "Sorry my furry little job applicant," he said. "You should have thought of that before now."
I reached in my pocket and pulled out a handful of leaves and bark. He wasn't interested. I reluctantly reached in my brief case and offered him--my lunch, a banana.
Salary Man in full.
A smile slowly worked its way across the kid's lips, then he burst out laughing. "Why don't you go back to the jungle, you primate?" he said, and turned his attention to the Asian edition of the Wall Street Journal.
I was stuck. I could pull a fire alarm, but then everybody would leave. I could try the old "Look--there's Yuri Ebihara, Japan's top model!" and try to distract him, but he was all business. He probably wouldn't even turn his head.
Just then the door opened and a grey-haired man came out with a younger guy, another dweeb in a suit.
"Thank you for coming in," the older man said.
"No, thank you very much for the opportunity to abase myself for twenty minutes with you in the hope of landing a life-long sincecure with Kai-Ichi Dangyo!"
The older man's eyes narrowed to grim little slits. "It is Dai-Ichi Kangyo!" he replied tersely.
The younger man's face turned an ashen gray. "I am so sorry, how can I ever forgive you?"
"You mean how can I ever forgive you!"
"Yes, yes--you are so right, my mistake."
"Please leave your security badge with the receptionist. There is a men's room out the door to the right if you feel the need to commit seppuku," Japanese ritual suicide.
"Yes, I will, thank you," the younger man said. "And I'll clean up after myself!" He hurried out, drenched in flop sweat.
The interviewee slunk off in shame, and the older man took the top resume from the stack in his in-box.
"Mister . . . Impanzee? C. H. Impanzee?"
This was it. Everything I'd studied and worked so long for.
"Eee--yee--yee!" I said enthusiastically.
"How do you do?" the man said as he extended his hand.
"Ook-ook-ook," I said as I reached to shake with him. Make it a firm one, I reminded myself. Look him in the eye. Keep smiling, but not too broadly.
"Come in, please."
I followed him into an office and he settled in behind the desk.
"Have a seat please," he said as he motioned to the other chair and began to review my resume.
"Very impressive academic credentials!" he said after a few moments. "Much better than most of the other applicants today."
"Ooka-ooka, nyah nyah nyah."
"Well, hard work and determination pay off."
I sat back and folded my hands. Off to a good start.
"So tell me, Mister . . . Impanzee--where do you see yourself in five years?"
A question many job applicants stumble on, but I was prepared. You need to sound a "take-charge" note--demonstrate your self-confidence--while at the same time showing respect for the rigid vertical heirarchy of Japanese corporate culture.
"Nnng-nana, oot gleet, naba waba."
"Well, I think you'll find that you will receive responsibility commensurate with the abilities you demonstrate on the job."
"Greatest weakness? I guess it's this thing I have for older women."
"Abababa--nooo, nooo, nooba wooba."
"I'm glad you recognize the economic realities of our industry," he replied, and gave me an avuncular look like I was the son he'd never had, or if he had one, who'd turned into a froofy fashion designer.
He softened a bit. "Tell me a little bit about yourself."
"Really? I'm sort of a movie buff myself. Did you see 'Gorillas in the Mist'?"
"AI-YI-EEE! Oot greeta ubba!"
"Yeah, Sigourney Weaver is really hot in that one."
"You know, I never have seen her in 'Ghostbusters'. Is it good?"
"Scoo-boo, nooboo noo-noo."
"Really? So, the director's cut version is best? Okay--I'll have to rent that this weekend."
I sat back and gave him a little smile. I had really nailed it.
"Well, this has been quite a pleasant little chat," he said. "While I will need to get approval from the home office, I believe we should be in a position to offer you a position as Second Assistant Corporate Vice President at a starting salary of one million yen."
"Ook! Ook-ook-ook-ook!" I smiled pleasantly at him. My heart was racing--I had a job!
I tapped on my Sanyo Calculator Watch with foreign exchange conversion capacity. One million yen comes out to . . . $10,500? A hostess in a sushi restaurant makes twice that much!
The guy was a little bit taken aback at my reaction. "Well, that comes with full health and dental, and one week vacation to start, and . . . "
Perhaps someday I'll regret what I did then, but I don't now. I reached down into my pants, grabbed a handful of you-know-what and flung it at him!
"This is highly irregular," he said as my handful of crap splattered on the wall behind him.
I'd rather live free in the jungle, working with primitive tools, than be stuck in an office cubicle all day, working with a primitive tool like him!
As I stormed out into the reception area, the next fresh-faced job seeker stood up, an idiotic smile on his face, and bowed low in obeisance.
Just like a human.
Available in Kindle format on amazon.com as part of the collection "Wild Animals of Nature!"