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Since the dawn of dot-com career sites, a job search entails little more than an endless browse—the online equivalent of wandering past every shelf in a bookstore, head cocked to one side, scanning the bindings. Looking for something, but the author’s name hangs just past the tip of the tongue. Unemployment is at 9.1 percent; in a surprising twist, I’m dying to be a part of The Other 90.9.

The slow burn of online job searching opens the door to a certain degree of poetic license, if only to assuage the litany of nouns that couldn’t possibly apply to sad, sweatpanted, page-refreshing you: analyst, executive, coordinator. The last thing I coordinated was the programming on my DVR (when you wake up after eleven you miss all the morning Frasier reruns). And so, the unemployed multitudes arm themselves with vocabulary and a generous belief in their abilities and wonder aloud into the wee hours whether “head photocopy intern” might be better expressed as “director of photography.” (My favorite such semantic upgrade is my boyfriend’s translation of “busboy” as “waiter’s assistant.”)
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Los Alamos, I said in my head, in the voice of Antonio Banderas. Tomero. Wandering the wine section of my local liquor store, I tarried among the South American reds. Antonio was really starting to sell me on the Punto Final.

I select wine on the basis of three factors. First and foremost, the attractiveness of the label—it should be very attractive. A close second is the variety of grape—anything red, really, because coffee stains aren’t enough—and third, perhaps most importantly, is price—twelve dollars and under. This last point has been a rule since I could drink legally, an Americanized holdover from my time in Germany, where I was told to pay “at least three Euro for a red, at least five Euro for a white, and no more than two Euro for a blush.” In America, I pay at least eight for a red, at least ten for a white, and won’t drink blush even if it’s free.

In the case of wines that I will drink, the differences between an eight-dollar bottle and a twelve-dollar bottle are remarkable—both to the wine connoisseur and the twenty-something, for whom four dollars is a calculable percentage of his net worth.
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