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The Interview

This is a true story.

I can't recall the year but I was out of work just as the Summer was beginning. Back before the internet, job seekers were forced to peruse the morning and evening paper. I happened to come across an ad for a day camp counsellor and called the number. A very nice lady answered and I was asked to come in for an interview.

I raced across town and was soon sitting opposite a very attractive dark haired lovely. Then came the questions about my qualifications. I cited my background in security, martial arts, puppetry and acting. Each admission caused her to smile and write something in her notebook.

"You sound perfect," she said after about a half an hour of questions.

There was a brief conversation about pay and the pay was pretty impressive. Now I had been told to dress casual which was unheard of for that time, but I complied. I wore a polo shirt and dress slacks.

I think she was about to offer me a position when her eyes caught the glint of the gold crucifix around my neck. Now at that time many of the Italian/ Scillian males including myself wore a heavy gold chain with either a crucifix or a Cornicello around their necks.

cornicello (Italian pronunciation: [korniˈtʃɛllo]), cornetto ([korˈnetto]; Italian for "little horn" or "hornlet"), corno (Italian for "horn"), or corno portafortuna(literally "lucky horn" in Italian) is an Italian amulet or talisman worn to protect against the evil eye (or malocchio [maˈlɔkkjo] in Italian) and bad luck in general, and, historically, to promote fertility and virility. In Neapolitan, it is called curniciello or variants thereof. The amulet is also sometimes referred to as the Italian horn.

"Please tell me you're Jewish and that is a fashion statement," she said pointing to my jewellery.

"No, I am not Jewish. I didn't know that was a requirement," I replied.

"Didn"t you see the letters on the front of the building?" she asked.

"There are no letters on the building," I answered.

She asked me to follow her outside and I complied. Once outside she looked at the front entrance and the smile left her face.

"They must be getting ready to put up the new letters and removed the old ones shortly after I arrived," she said in an apologetic tone.

"Letters?" was all I could say.

"Yes, letters that spelt out JCC. This is the Jewish Community Center," she informed me.

My heart sank as I stood there.

"Are you maybe part Jewish?" she asked.

"Sorry, I'm Scillian," I answered. "Is it that important?"

"To the elders, it is."

She thanked me for coming in and we shook hands. She went back inside and I headed home to continue my job search. That want ad appeared in the paper for the rest of the Summer.




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