Moshe Briel's Professional Website

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                                           Chapter 1. Beams and Dreams

Why me? Why do things like this always happen to me?     ↓ 

      I am still finding it all too incredible to believe.  But this really happened.  I agree that my story seems insane.  Amazing and too far-fetched.  But it did happen, and in many ways I am still in a state of shock.  I hope you won’t think I’m crazy.      ↓  

     Since I began telling people about it I have been either mocked at or censured with a loss of credibility, considered a laughing stock of sorts.  I hope you won’t renounce my sanity and altogether disregard my story in the same way, but I would understand you if you did, as ignorance is indeed bliss.     ↓

     I don’t know if even I can believe my story either, despite the experience of having lived through it. So why would I expect you to believe it?  After all, you don’t know me.  I am not a celebrity of notoriety who has appeared in the media or on talk shows and who has built up recognition and public familiarity through repetitious appearances on the screen.  There certainly is no cause célèbre to motivate anyone to listen to my story.     ↓

     I wouldn’t have believed my tall tale either if it hadn’t happened to me, but rather to someone else.  In such a case I admit that I would honestly have cast it aside politely and brushed it off as an inconsequential piece of lint; a fantasy more far-fetched than those other tales of flapdoodle nonsense heard from time to time and dismissed just as quickly by those of us who claim to be intelligent and rationally enlightened.     ↓ 

     I can only hope that you don’t dismiss my experience simply because you think it is too inconceivable, too absurd, a tall-tale of frivolous folly not worthy of even light reading.  But I’m sure I’m not insane.  No bedtime story or any sleep inducing light-reading could have been more illuminating than this one.  No ideas could have been more enlightening than those I experienced.     ↓   

     All I ask is that you just give me the chance to tell you what happened to me.  Then you can renounce both the story and me all you want.  You are free to judge it as too surreal or too ethereal to be considered seriously.  But please, for your own sake and that of your descendants and fellow humans of today and tomorrow – don’t ignore it!     ↓ 

     It had occurred to me that I shouldn't tell anyone about what happened.  I don’t need any headaches from being in such a spotlight of the absurd.  But on the other hand, I think SOMEONE should know about it, and that someone might as well be you.  I’ll accept any judgment which you’ll pass, and will agree to every conviction you have; any sentencing you pronounce will be considered valid.  As long as the conclusions you will have drawn are based on your own rationally unbiased opinions after having heard all the testimony which I am about to give.     ↓

     So I guess I’ll tell you, even if you may be judgmental, sizing me up as mentally incompetent to take the stand even if under oath.  But I don’t care; the truth must be told.  Despite the derision I have endured since the incident took place, I feel that mine is a story which needs to be taken seriously because of the possible dire consequences to national security, not to mention the entire human race.  I just hope my experience is not discarded as just another U.F.O. sighting, or alien abduction experience fabricated by a freaky mental case with nothing better to do with his time.     ↓

     As I confess my story, I hope you understand that my experience could have taken place to you, too.  My objective here is to get you to appreciate what happened to me just in case you get the absurd notion that it couldn’t happen to you.  As the Motown Rock group the Supremes lyrics foretold:  “It happened to me, and it could happen to you.”       

     First, just one more preface comment:  There are no secrets here.  I don’t mind if you want to tell others about it, as I am not embarrassed about it.  I don’t care if you call me a crazed fool, but all I ask is that you hear me through and listen to me until the end.        

     My story may or may not be fit to print, but I don’t mind.  In the newspaper world and the TV media they used to have a creed that tests what items are newsworthy, based on whether dog bites man or man bites dog.  In order to avoid harming animals, I would suggest the creed be changed to:  “If machine replaces man that isn’t news, but if man replaces machine, well that item is not only newsworthy, it should be front page banner-style headlines.”  The problem is no one would believe it.

     In my story no animals are hurt.  No man bites a dog.  No canines are thrown off the set of a show in the way Family Guy’s dog Brian was abusively and dishonorably kicked off the set of Bill Maher’s HBO show when all the dog wanted to do was promote his book.  I must humbly say I would understand it if my story were rejected in the same way and trashed by Arianna’s Huffington Post, as long as someone somewhere were checking out if it really happened. I appeal to your sense of fair play and plead for you to attend my story, then judge it and condemn both it and me – but only after you have heard my complete, fair and unbiased version of the events.

    I know you may have trouble finding credence with such an incredible story, and you would probably sooner believe a news headline that read “First i-phone Made Fully in U.S.A. Comes off Assembly Line.”  I am not a fabulist and this is no fable.  It really happened.  Real time.

     But I digress, and for this I apologize in the full spirit of a classic apologue.  This isn’t the unbelievable story I wanted to tell you.  I am truly sorry for taking so long, but it’s just difficult for me to get started.  I am not very talented at telling stories, much less this particular one, so thank you for your patience and understanding.  

    If you have read thus far, you are obviously intelligent enough to appreciate my apprehension and I would understand you if you are starting to get impatient with me.  I am trying to get my thoughts together and get my story started, but it’s all just so difficult. 

     My incredible story started when I was lying on the couch one day in the late afternoon, after having spent the morning hours tediously at work responding to job postings and sending in resumes by electronic mail.   I was exhausted at doing something which I had been doing for months already and was totally burned out.  Despite my achievements, I had been feeling obsolete and unwanted by the job market, a revolting throwback from a Neolithic revolution unable to fit into today’s workforce.   Much of the resume preparation consisted of whittling down my accomplishments and deciding what achievements to omit so that I wouldn’t appear over-qualified for a position.        

     Besides, although I would receive a confirmation email that my resume was received, I never was sure if anyone would ever read it, much less see it at all.  Then I would mull over what I might have done wrong in my cover letter to the employer, thinking what did I forget to say when customizing my resume, what mistakes did I make, and other possible foul-ups.  Then the disparaging question:  Is it my fault that I wasn’t considered for the position?  Or am I nothing more than an indolent doofus, incapable of marketing myself in order to gain employment?       

     But again, I digress from my real story, and for this I must again apologize.  I will try to focus on writing about the close encounter I experienced.  It’s hard to believe, I know, but it really happened to me.  My problem is that I guess I’m not that good at writing about myself and my experiences.  It’s like listening to your own voice on a recording or watching a video clip of yourself.  You ask, “Do I really look like that?  Is that the way others see me?”  There comes a moment in which you come to an epiphany that you may actually appear to others differently than the way you had been envisioning yourself.      

    In my wildest dreams – throughout all my years studying in school, university, post graduate work, academic degrees, professional employment, running a business, entrepreneurship, certificates and citations, awards and distinctions – I never thought even for a moment that I would be looking for employment at this point in my life.  I wasn’t ready to retire.  I had more to give.  I wasn’t tired of work but was tired of the forced retirement.  When the time comes for retirement, I probably won’t retire even if I’m tired.  I wonder if other people will have the luxury to retire.

    In applying for any job, even a minimum wage job, I have found it particularly hard to omit my education and certain qualifications, and let all the experience go to waste.  It has turned out, however, that despite this effort to de-school myself, I still can’t hide the education.  I am still considered too educated to take even a minimum wage job, ‘overqualified’ for many positions.    

    On the couch that day I found myself questioning Did I study hard at the university only to have to discount my resume because I would be appearing over-qualified?  Should I accept the advice of those experts who give seminars on resume writing to whittle down my resume by not including those academic achievements and accomplishments for which I strived so hard?  Was it right to cheat myself of the truth in order to gain access to a job for which one would otherwise be over-qualified?  Won’t people come to the realization that education may not be advantageous?  Isn’t this unreasonable for a society that claims it wants to grow?

     I’m not sure what society has to gain by this effort to dumb people down in this way.  If I as an individual lower my own standards and force myself to forget my education, that’s one thing.  But what happens if we are all called upon to lower our intellectual standards?  What happens to our society?  Is it right to have a culture that embraces purposeful inferiority?  

    What are the long term effects of this lowering of standards towards mediocrity?  Is this the reason that the people have to suffer Humpty-Dumpty work such as the HealthCare.Gov website which was built apparently with inadequate human resources?  As an experienced IT professional I would have been happy to offer my services and in fact applied for many IT analyst positions with the government on the USAJobs.Gov website.  Though I applied many times, no responses ever came except for an automated letter of receipt.  Maybe all government offices hold their information systems to the same standard.

    I have always been a “self-starter with a can-do attitude with strong attention to detail and with better than average communication skills”, in the words of your typical job ad.  I have always strived to be a hard-working and earnest individual with a strong work-ethic.  I just can’t understand what’s wrong. I am essentially non-political in my thinking, a patriot of sorts and a capitalist from my birth, having been taught that the free-market system was the best of all worlds.  I grew up during the cold war and developed a particular dislike for anything that resembles even remotely the political evils of socialism.

     Unlike many people in my situation, I was never one to blame immigrants for taking away jobs.  I always felt that if there are several candidates for a position, the person most qualified should be selected.  I didn’t care even if that candidate was an “illegal” alien who was looking for a better life from across the border, or a “legal” alien who was exercising a newly found right to work.  With respect to issues of “Law and Border”, I understood the motives behind those who transgressed the law in order to improve their lot.  My issue was with the “regal” aliens, those who come from the outside with money, like foreign royalty who marry into local royalty for whom the at-large populace is too pedestrian and buy up companies and then fire employees who had been faithful workers for many years. 

     But again I am digressing from the incredible experience I had that day.  I guess my job-search has taken over most of my thinking.  Anyway, I had been laying on the couch tired from the discouraging job search, after having sent out multiple customized resumes for twenty different job announcements, trying to work with the dysfunctional and bug-ridden TALEO resume system that HR departments are supposed to be using in their talent searches.  The software seems altogether detached from the true objective of getting potentially talented people hired.

     TALEO also seems to work like the HealthCare.Gov website.  And that’s what bothers me so much.  I am at the mercy of a system that seems to be as broken as government itself.  Despite the apparent purposeful inferiority that seems to be prevalent today, I know that there are so many unemployed but experienced IT professionals out there who could have been hired to develop, test, and implement a usable software product that could have been rolled out on time and without glitches.  The healthcare site didn’t have to consist of such an inferior software product.  Now not even a tech surge featuring all the king’s horses and all the king’s men can’t put Humpty-Dumpty together even for the first time.

    We had been promised effective health care, not a rose-garden apology to give the impression that “NOW we are on the right track”.  In this timely Halloween version of Obama-scare, I might expect the administration’s next move to be the official declaration of a new cabinet post of Webmaster General like it did with Homeland Security.  In similar fashion, the post would probably be filled initially by some unavailingly high-winded celebrity politician with a lavish office, but without any performance incentive to effect TRUE change.    

     Anyway, that day I had been sending out resumes just like I have been doing every day since I found myself unemployed.  I was wondering if I would ever work again.  Suddenly I had the feeling I was being watched.   It was an eerie feeling I have had before, and I’m not sure whether it came as a result of being endowed with having an overactive imagination or just having extra time on my hands, or both.  I wondered if I had been going insane.    

    The words of that Bon-Jovi hit really resounded with me.  Before I was out of work I didn’t really understand them.  “Can someone somewhere help me justify why these strong hands are in the unemployment line?”

     Perhaps I was just tired from having worked so hard this morning, seemingly at the speed of light.  Since my results were dismal, the passage of dilated time seemed to be moving slower, while and the length of my patience seemed to be contracting, speaking in special relative terms, of course.  

     That afternoon on the couch I was thinking in earnest, with slothful resignation about how this must be happening to other people like me.  I thought about how the rude awakening from the vision one has of oneself, and how this vision can pop out of existence in a very short time. 

    It was during this bout of self-pity that it first happened.  I admit I was feeling sorry for myself, an experienced professional with decades of experience and creativity, using all that experience to customize and send resumes to email addresses and job websites which may or may not be legitimate.  Will my resume ever be read by anyone?  Is there any intelligent life out there that can truly appreciate my capabilities?     

    While I was wishing upon a star for some resolution to my situation, it seemed I had dozed off for a few minutes. And then it happened.  I remember that afternoon very well. I was worried that my mind was beginning to atrophy from lack of use and began to feel I was being watched by someone, though I didn’t know who could be observing me and who would be interested in me.  Certainly not one employer was.  I had been wondering if I was going insane or if my own creativity was becoming over-engaged in order to keep my own precious mental health.  

     It may be that the feeling of being watched overtakes a person who feels alone and starving for some mental activity, deprived of challenges and craving opportunity.  The feeling of being watched is probably part of our subconscious psyche similar to the scare tactics designed to motivate us to be good.  Whether the eyes are those of Big Brother from Orwell’s 1984 or those of Santa Claus from our world-wide urban legendary lore, we humans have a need for a gut-check; for conscience accounting.  But though many of us seem to welcome the public eye, most of us are wary of private ones, preferring to be blissfully ignored.

     Despite the feeling of being watched, I felt a stream of cosmic tranquility, together with a burst of suppressed creative energy trying to come out.  This energy had been frustrated, having suffered unrequited creativity for such a long time of torpid unemployment, it seemed to me the dam that held me back would now burst, the bough will break, and the cradle will fall in a dramatic liberation of innovative ideas.    

     At first I suspected that the eerie feeling of being watched was actually my own imagination challenging me to churn out something of value, something productive for a society whose expectations of me were becoming more and more unclear.  What did society expect of me?   Was I supposed to be doing nothing while I waited for responses from potential employers?  What was I supposed to do in the meantime?  To spend the whole afternoon on the couch sleeping?  To waste away?  What was expected of creative people who haven’t been employed for months or even years?      

    Sometimes I think government doesn’t want people to work.  So why am I getting all worked up about not working?  I would gladly ask the Prince of Denmark for advice on what’s less rotten and what’s more noble:  Being without further ado or being with further a-don’t.  

     To die?  To sleep?   And perchance to dream the impossible dream?   For in that sleep of death what dreams may come…    

     And then I saw the light.  It came in an instantaneous glistening blitz of gleaming brilliance.  Its bright radiance shined throughout the room with such intensity that I wasn’t able to see anyone or anything.  I had to close my eyes again, although I found that light was so bright it even seemed to penetrate through my eyelids.  I hadn’t yet realized I was not alone, so my first instinct was to get up and turn the other way until I could figure out what was going on right before my very eyes.  

     There was no sound of crash…no big bang…no thunder, just intense lightening for just a few seconds.     

     “WHAT WAS THIS?”  I thought.  What was going on?  Was it a huge bulb of light cast over my head?   Was I nearer to death than I had thought?    

     My vision was probably still affected by a momentary engagement in some rapid eye-movement.  Though I was unable to see, I could hear weird cryptic sounds but wasn’t sure what they were or what some of them meant.  I was blinded by the light, wrapped up like a douche.   

     I tried to see what was going on, but all I could see was a tall, weird looking silhouette without form or void.  Darkness was on the face of the deep mystery that was this unearthly stranger.

     Was this a dream?  An American dream?  If so, how would Sigmund Freud have interpreted it?  Was this a release of some repressed creativity?  Was my subconscious trying to send me a message?  Or was I simply out of my mind? 

     Probably just like a fetus in the last moments before birth, I hoped instinctively that my eyes would adjust to the light of the world and that I would be able to see soon and adjust to the surroundings.   I needed some enlightenment.  Any normal light would do.  Normal for my homo sapiens sapiens species, that is.  The man knowing, self-aware species.  Or should I say, man glowing.  Particular in the dark.

     Whatever the intensively radiant light source I was experiencing – an ultra-powerful laser beam or just some super-radiant incandescent light bulb overhead - I still had no idea what was going on…  


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   Click here for the next chapter: 2. "Then There Was Light"