Hi! I—your high school classmate you never once had a conversation of substance with, but who you instead know mainly from sleeping through nearly every meeting of your freshman year English class—would like to add you to my professional network on LinkedIn.
Whether via some cruel button that adds the entirety of my friend list on Facebook (where we are also inexplicably still connected) or out of a legitimate but misguided belief that you are a worthwhile business contact, I have decided that today, now, you are someone who I want to have in my virtual Rolodex. Who better to speak to my professional abilities than someone who was around me during my formative years, which I largely spent using a paperback of Romeo and Juliet as a makeshift pillow?
Please consider endorsing me for the multitude of skills you can confirm I have, such as “snoring audibly but unobtrusively,” “never not reeking of weed,” or “deliberately mumbling answers so many times in a row that Mr. Nussenbaum got tired of asking ‘what?’ and just nodded and moved on.” (I actually prefer to just call that last one “innovative communication methods.”)
If you’re feeling especially generous, you could even write me a personalized recommendation. Perhaps something about how whenever I drooled on my desk, which was every single day, I always made sure to wipe it up with my hoodie sleeve at the end of class. I think that really speaks to my proactive nature and attention to detail. Plus, it’s in line with my love of the environment, listed under the “Causes I Care About” section of my profile—think of all the paper towels I could have been using instead!
Or maybe you could open your eyes to the fact that I am more than just some extra in the background of your life with one lone defining characteristic—that maybe, even though back in high school I didn’t care to participate in a mind-numbing discussion about themes of ambition in The Great Gatsby, I have gone on to become a successful, thoughtful, fully-functioning adult. Is there any room for that groundbreaking idea in your cynical, self-centered worldview? Or is it too hard for you to understand that not everyone stays exactly they way they were when they were fourteen, and also it was seven forty-five in the morning?
Check out my job title: Operations Analyst. No, I don’t totally know what it means either, but go ahead, I’ll wait while you Google “operations analyst average salary.” Yeah. That’s right. And before you do a deep dive into the “Our Team” page on my company’s website, no, I wasn’t hired by a friend or family member or fraternity brother. I know it’s hard to wrap your head around, but in the eleven years since freshman year (yes! it’s been eleven full years) I’ve grown into a hard-working, talented, productive member of society.
Maybe the reason you don’t want to believe that it’s possible I’ve changed is that it would mean admitting to yourself that change is possible, and so your failure to is a direct reflection on you. You thought success in high school was the key to everything, and now you realize it’s not. And that kills you, doesn’t it, that you wasted four years studying and not having any fun, and you’re still miserable now, with the same insecurities and the same haircut.
I still fall asleep and drool on my desk sometimes, but now it’s after a long, hard day of analyzing operations. And then I wake up, grab my briefcase, and drive the car that I own to the house that I own and say hello to my wife and infant daughter. When they ask me how my day was, I say it was fine, and I don't mention sending you this invitation, because I've already forgotten about it, because you are forgettable, and I have so many things in my life that I care about so much more.
Look at how genuine my smile is in my profile picture. That’s the smile of a man who can fall asleep at night in fifteen minutes, tops. And I know the photo is cut off at the shoulders, but they look like strong shoulders, right? Like, I probably work out more than you. And get more protein.
Click here to accept my invitation! Click here to accept who you've become. Just kidding, there's no hyperlink for that.