Nuff and I were back on a roof. A new one this time, closer to the tree cover. More isolated, more cactus juice.
Nuff: “What do you say when people ask you to describe yourself?”
“What do you mean?”
“You know, in interviews or at dinner parties, when they ask you to tell them about yourself”.
‘Oh, I was told to have something prepared for that. They do a nice spiel on how important it is to frame a good answer to this one. I go on about my education, my interests and my hobbies. Standard dribble”.
“Well, how the hell else would you make sense? You’ve got to have a good two-minute blurb prepared. I never did, but apparently it works. Some of those guys at the interviews have them down perfect to the pauses and the smiles”.
“Yeah, it’s not even funny anymore. But why do you ask?”
“I sat in on one of those interview preparation talks”.
“You? I thought you despise interviews, You aren’t even looking for a job. You’re just crashing here, annoying me when you’re bored”.
“No, not really. I think they don’t fulfill the purpose, but that question got me thinking”.
“What doesn’t…? Well, go on. What would you say?”
“Hmm, give me a minute”.
He sat up, took a swing from the juice bottle, and straightened his jacket. He seemed to be taking this seriously.
“Go on, ask me the question”.
“Say what one more time, I dare you”.
“Ask me the question man. Damn!”
“Oh. Yeah, well, how would you describe yourself?”
“Ask it like you mean it”.
He was serious. I took a swing of the juice myself, and looked him dead on. He smiled, and stood up.
“Nuff, how would you describe yourself?”
“Thank you. That question never made sense to me – I couldn’t imagine what I could say to convince you that you would know me at the end of my answer. Truth is, I don’t know myself. Truth is, I may never know. Truth is, there aren’t any silly questions, only silly answers. But it’s not in me to give up. So what can I say?
I could tell you that I’m an engineer, an entrepreneur, a businessman, a son of my country, an only child, a consultant, a mercenary, a negotiator. I could tell you how my parents dying left me absolutely dashed at the prime of my formative years. I could tell you how I left all of my belongings, my job and my home to wander the world in search of a purpose. I could tell you that I learned many things, and that I can do much more now that I know.
But I would be lying, because a man is not what he knows. Because there’s a difference between what I know and what I believe. That difference lies in proof. I am nothing without proof, and my actions are proof of my word. Proof is the law for my kind, but it is no law for all.
So how should I describe myself? I say to you, Sir, to decide for yourself who I am. All I can say is, I am not the calamities I have faced. I am not what I know. I am not what I say I am. The proof of what I am is what I do, and what I can do for you.
So if you would indulge me, my name is Nuff, and my actions prove that I want to change this world”.
I was speechless.
“That made no sense”.
“Only silly answers? There’s proof right there”.
“I gotta admit though, I’d give you the job”.
“Yeah, because if I’m the recruiter, I’d have your resumé in front of me and I’d see that you have some solid experience and that you can code excellently in six languages”.
“There’s that, too”.
“And that you’re a dropout. 3-point shot for the win”.
“But that’s a good answer, eh?”
“Shut up. The answer lies in the attempt anyway. Have another swing”.
“Why not… to know Nuff is to know yourself”.
… and to laugh with him is to admit you don’t.