Like any standard job interview story, this one begins while stood in front of 60 year old Lebanese man ordering you to drop your pants.
It's two hours before an interview with a dominant specialty coffee roaster.
And right now I need this man if I want to nail this job.
I consent and reluctantly unfasten my belt.
Let's pause here for a second. You probably need more context.
Rewind a week and I’m getting fed up drinking coffee from competitor commercial roasters. After every sip of bitter, smoky tar masquerading as espresso you're left wanting. You just want to be where you’re true love lies, swimming in bright tropical flavours in the specialty coffee sea.
One morning Instagram shouts out “We’re Hiring! Business Development Manager, Melbourne”. And the roaster is specialty. More, it’s one of the most reputable specialty roasters in the game.
Things move fast. I fire off an email with my resume and it lands. Big. Skip the phone interview, the CEO and top brass want to interview me as soon as possible.
Days of intense preparation lead up to the big day. I wake up ready to jump aboard HMS Tropical Fruit.
But there’s something not quite right.
It’s three hours before a crucial interview and my left testicle has swollen up to the size of a ping pong ball. And just in case you were wondering: Yes. It’s agonising.
Instead of doing interview prep, I Google symptoms (never a good idea) and read the diagnosis: severed this, inflamed that, symptom of cancer.
I'm freaking out. I need to see a doctor right away.
Being the scrooge I am I head to one of Melbourne’s few free clinics (also never a good idea).
It’s two hours before the interview. I would normally be listening to soothing music while strolling through a peaceful park. Instead I’m looking down my chest to find an elderly man grasping my scrotum.
His capacity to reassure his patients is on par with Dr. Doom.
‘I saw someone with a very similar condition six months ago'
'Oh yeah? Were they okay?'
’In the end, yes. But only after emergency surgery where they sliced it open and untangled his tubes…'
He shifts his gaze to my face and sees my wide-eyed panic.
‘Oh, but this is not a likely occurrence with you. But just in case, I’ll refer you for a spectogrophatrictromatricophanitrophy.’ He pauses to think while tossing my testes around a few more times. ‘I think I’ll write a letter for the Chief Surgeon too’.
'The Chief Surgeon of what?'
‘Oh, that’s if it gets worse and you’re rushed to A&E’.
He finishes fondling my testicles, turns to his computer and punches away at a keyboard with a grave expression.
Minutes pass in quiet panic. What am I going to do about this interview?
After what feels like an hour, he turns to me with a mountain of medical papers. ‘If you feel this, do this and give this paper to that person, but if you feel this instead, take this pill and hop three times, unless you feel this then walk backwards here and jump over that…’.
I walk out, confused and panicked. I pop a bunch of the heavy duty painkillers and walk up the stairs to the interview.
Mmmmm…'that feels good’ I think as my body floats into a warm, numbing cocoon.
Oh bollocks. Being high as a kite is not where you want to be before a high-powered interview.
But what do you say to them?
Do you tell them you've popped some painkillers strong enough to numb a horse? Do you inform them they may need to rush you to A&E? Hell, should you reveal everything and tell them you've got crippling testicular pain? Why stop there? At this point you may as well pull down your pants, show them your swollen left testicle and invite the HR Director to feel it.
The CEO and his posse throw questions at me left, right and centre. I wade through a heavy fog desperately pulling together half-intelligible responses.
Three weeks later I get a phone call. I didn’t get the job.
Maybe it was just bad luck. Maybe it was fate.
Either way (and here’s something I never thought I would say) I’m just relieved my left testicle is back to its normal size.