My prospective employer is the ghost of Lady Ada Lovelace, Lord Byron's daughter and Charles Babbage's protege. She was the first person to propose the idea of a computer program - in a footnote of an Italian translation of Babbage's works. Now, in the afterlife, she's lobbying Congress to declare the song "Happy Birthday" as public domain, and seeking experienced staff. I worried I was under-qualified, so I tried to look good. Besides, I figured that she was from a totally different era, and talking to me from beyond the grave, so she probably wouldn't notice my exaggerations.
Lady Ada Lovelace: So, Ted, tell me about yourself.
Ted: Well, I'm a grasslands town, population three thousand or so, with well-paved roads and a small but bustling downtown. I'm located in the Midwest, three years after a nuclear apocalypse which led to an almost total collapse of society.
LAL: I see. Have you ever worked in political lobbying before?
T: Definitely. You see, about six months ago a meteor landed in the middle of town square. Some of the younger and more superstitious people thought it was a sign that the Great Sky Dragon would come again to punish us, but cooler heads prevailed, and we made the meteoric iron into plowing tools.
LAL: Uh, okay. What is your opinion of the song, "Good Morning To All," by Patty and Mildred Hill, also known as the tune to "Happy Birthday?"
T: Well, it's like this. We've created a small walled city, with outward-facing sharpened logs, and a trench dug out to make a hill wall. We assume there's barbarians out there somwhere, but we haven't seen them. Meanwhile, we don't have enough space inside the walls for livestock to graze, and so they wander the fields beyond, unprotected. Sometimes one disappears. Maybe it's wolves, but maybe it's the barbarians.
LAL: I see. That's kind of odd. We haven't had any other candidates who were also medium-sized post-Apocalyptic towns. Tell me, why should I hire you?
T: Well, the way I see it, it's all aboout trade. Ssometimes someone comes down the road from parts unknown, bringing news from the world beyond the horizon. Sometimes they have things to trade - salt to preserve food, or gasoline to run the genrators, or, best of all, medicine. The general stores downtown act as a way for these travelers to get supplies locally, and to distribute the good to the town. They also act as a place for the busy, hardworking people to socialize.
LAL: Thank you for your time, Ted.
A week later, I got a form letter saying that Lady Ada was only hiring small coastal hamlets and villages, or post-Singularity arcologies.
It goes to show that honesty and humility make the world work smoothly. Have I learned the wrong lesson?