A few weeks ago, a man in his maybe-late-50s walked into my place of business. Someone near the front door directed him to me (goodness knows why), and I put on my most pleasant professional face to find out what he needed. Turns out he was looking for work, and I could tell without looking at his single-sheet resume that it was going to list a hodgepodge of manual and menial jobs, with no education, career path or white-collar sensibility in evidence. He was mild-mannered and sweet, and I told him that I’d be happy to keep his resume on file, but that there were no current openings, and sent him on his way with a smile and a “good luck.”
His resume was much as I had assumed it would be, with the added inconsistency of several gaps where no job at all was listed for significant periods of time. At the top, in place of a “professional goal” or “significant qualifications” paragraph, he had written that he was a hard worker and was “looking to get his life back on track.”
That touched a chord, somewhere – I probably assumed that he was a recovering addict, or something equally worthy of my earnestly bleeding-heart support – so I sent his resume over to our warehouse manager with an optimistic note. He is always looking for reliable workers, but tends toward the irascible, so I didn’t hold out much hope that he’d call this wandering soul in for an interview.
So imagine my surprise when, upon returning from vacation, my boss informed me with a sly grin that the warehouse manager had, in fact, called the man in for an interview. The interview had gone well, right up until the end, when the applicant asked the manager if he had heard of Megan’s Law.
As our warehouse is located near an elementary school, that was the end of the interview.
And I feel like I should be having a stronger reaction to this information. God knows, I’d be entitled. But I find myself vacillating between feeling vaguely squicked-out at how pleasant I was to him, and thinking that it’s a shame that this unprepossessing man is trying and failing to put his life back together. Then I wonder how I’d feel about it if my kids attended the elementary school near our warehouse.
So I don’t know, and I wish I did.
On the one hand, I don’t think the answer is to paint a big red M for Molester on the chest of anyone who gets caught peeing behind a dumpster or having sex with a 15-year-old girlfriend at the age of 19. On the other hand, if there had been a sex offenders list 30 years ago, a lot of girls in the town I grew up in might have been spared a lot of anguish.
No answers on this one.