Tribble Trouble

Last week, I applied for a legal secretary/receptionist job.  The original craiglist ad date was September 5.  Since by the time I saw it that date had come and gone, I called to see if the job was even available.

“Hello, I’m inquiring about the legal secretary/receptionist position advertised on craigslist.  Has the position been filled?” I asked.

“Yes,” the female voice said, sounding exasperated.  “Quite some time ago.” She paused.  Obviously, I had struck a nerve. Probably I was now speaking to the person who got that job. Earth to Susan!

“Where did you find it?  We can’t seem to find the ad to take it down.”

People, I’m a craigslist moron.  If I can find it, anyone can.  I told her to look in a couple of very specific places, and rang off, chuckling. I mentally crossed that position off my list.

Lo and behold, the entire ad – even the misspelling –  reposted the following Monday.  I thought, Well, maybe the gal wasn’t what they wanted after all.  I decided to apply for it.  I crafted an urbane cover letter and shined up my resume. I mailed it out, since that 1990s solution appeared to be the preferred method to winnow us 21st-century job seekers.

Yesterday, I got a phone call.

“This is Jane Doe from Bo Diddley Law.  You applied for the legal secretary/receptionist position.”

Ooh!  I got excited.  Could I be getting an interview?

“Yes, I did.”


“Well, the position has been filled since the spring.We had a 30-day listing in the Olympian and online. And we keep on getting resumes!  We can’t locate the ad to remove it.”

I told her exactly where I’d seen it, both spots.

“We spoke to the craigslist admin, but it keeps reposting.” She sighed. I could hear the frustration in her voice.

“It’s alive!” I joked.

After a little more small talk, Ms. Doe said she’d keep my resume on file. I pictured a huge office, filled with metal filing cabinets all crammed with resumes. Hmm. I had my doubts. We said our goodbyes.

Then I remembered tribbles. Did you watch that old Star Trek episode?  Lieutenant Uhura receives a tribble as a gift.  She falls under its cuteness spell right away.  The tribble’s trills and purrs soothe and delights the crew. Suddenly, everyone wants one. As if by magic, the tribble reproduces exponentially and overruns every part of the ship. However, if you remember the plot of “The Trouble with Tribbles”, you know that the tribbles gobble the grain stored on board the Enterprise. Turns out the grain had been poisoned by a Klingon posing as a human man.  The death of the tribbles sounded an alarm and uncovered the impostor.

This job listing keeps spontaneously regenerating, showing up again and again, unbidden.  It procreates sans human intervention.  Kinda cool, actually, in a creepy sort of way. One wonders if this ad, reproducing at will, sounds an alarm of some kind. Is the long-lived ad alive, a form of artificial intelligence? Maybe craiglist is possessed. Beats me. All I know is my resume is on file. Somewhere.


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