The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus


Internship with the Orange Moose

 Internship with the Orange Moose
Internship with the Orange Moose

Internship with the Orange Moose

I don’t know anybody, from Joe Shmoe to Asok the Intern in the Dilbert comic strip, who likes doing an internship. But interning is an important part of building one’s resume, finding a job and getting one’s name out into the market.

Unless you’re an English major, in which case your internship opportunities involve a nice paper hat with a yellow “M” on it and a mop.

I knew from the moment I decided to be an English major that I was making a decision which would mess up the rest of my life.

I knew that because of it, I would forever have trouble finding a job, getting respect or doing anything involving math.

I knew that people would forever peg me as a future English teacher, or at least a person with four more inevitable years of graduate school to complete.

The job market is tight enough as it is without being an English major trying to find one. But still, you have to try.

So, I spent some time at the end of the spring semester perusing job Web sites, the binders in the Career Center and those helpful e-mails from Judy Carr. (The same ones I wrote an editorial about last semester, comparing them with spam mail and complaining about not being able to get off Carr’s mailing list.)

I wanted and still want to get a job with a publisher. I tried to get a job at SMU Press, but they told me that they didn’t have any openings during the summer. I think that some of the people who work in the library are still angry at me about those comments I made during my freshman year when I ignorantly called the Friends of The SMU Libraries “fascists.”

And then I thought back to the e-mail I received about a new start-up publishing company in Dallas called Orange Moose Books (not its real name).

Upon further investigation I discovered that Orange Moose Books was a company that specialized in pop culture and science-fiction, both areas which I have a significant amount of knowledge in. It was an accredited organization and the head of the company checked out. I thought to myself, why not?

Too bad I didn’t heed that old Sicilian proverb – never apply for an internship with a company named after an Algerian statesman.

I think I made my first mistake when I sent a copy of my column on how much I hate Oprah and book clubs to the contact e-mail specified on the job ad. My second mistake was probably in bragging about my research skills (the advertisement had been quite specific about research required for the job) while sending them an editorial I had written in two seconds after reading statistics on SMU drinking in The Dallas Morning News.

When I went in for my interview, the guy who met me said, “Oh yeah, you’re the guy who wrote that humor column,” saying humor as if he meant to say tumor or some other less-desirable rhyming word.

Orange Moose Books was situated in a small, three-room office, which was – I noted as I went in, probably with a large amount of trepidation – mostly barren, probably to allow for a quick getaway. I was led to a smaller room to do my interview, with a window overlooking an industrial area of downtown.

The room, I was happy to see, had a bookcase filled with science-fiction books, most of which were old Phillip K. Dick novels and Buffy the Vampire Slayer tie-ins. I’m not really a fan of Mr. Dick or Ms. Slayer, but I managed to overcome my typical shyness to say something like, “Well, you’ve sure got a lot of science-fiction books here.”

“Those are mostly for decoration,” said Vladimir Harkonnen (not his real name). “Tell me, what kind of books do you like to read?”

“Oh, I like books about pop culture,” I said, thinking back to the specifications listing on the job advertisement. I decided try to appeal to his interests by mentioning a science fiction book I had recently finished.

“The last thing I read was ‘Neverwhere’ by Neil Gaiman.”

“Who’s he?”

The conversation didn’t get much better when we started talking about the prodigious research skills I had bragged about in the e-mails I had sent to him. I told him that when I typically did research I went to the library – a stupid thing to say, even if the position I had been applying for had been at the Library of Congress.

Things just got worse when Harkonnen started telling me about the company I was applying to intern in. The types of books that Orange Moose specialized in were unauthorized biographies (i.e. rumor-laden trash), movie tie-ins (i.e. mass marketed wastes of writing talent and money) and coffee-table books filled with quotes and gossip (i.e. unadulterated crap).

Plus, the company was only run by two people. And the other one was a graduate of the SMU English program.

Despite my utter hatred and revilement of everything this company published, believed in and stood for, I wanted the job. I asked for a chance to prove myself to the company, and Harkonnen gave me a job to test my research skills:

“I’m envisioning a coffee-table book filled with celebrity quotes on religion and faith,” Harkonnen said. “I think it should have pictures in it. I’ll give you eight hours to find some material and put it on my desk.”

I wish that this task had been as easy as it sounds.

For the more than eight hours I spent surfing the net, reading books and soliciting the help of gullible friends, I didn’t come up with much. While you think that people like Richard Gere, John Travolta and Tom Cruise might have been great sources of fantastically moronic musings on religion and faith, the best I could come up with was a quote from L.L. Cool J and one from Jim Carrey saying he wishes he had been born a Buddhist (God preserve us all.)

The most prevalent quotes were of the type that came from vehement atheists like George Carlin, which I unfortunately could not use:

“God always needs money! He’s all-powerful, all-perfect, all-knowing, and all-wise, somehow just can’t handle money! Now, you talk about a good bull**** story! Holy ****!”, etc.

On an interesting note, a friend that I contacted for help said that he had also applied for an internship at Orange Moose Books, but that they hadn’t clicked. For some reason Harkonnen had wanted him to put together a list of Web sites that might make good books.

So I didn’t get the internship, and I ended up writing this silly column about the experience because I had nothing else to write about this week.

Anybody want to hire an intern who can spend 1,000 words writing about nothing?

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