HUMOR: Toppel Center…more like I’m toppling over

Photo credit: Roberta Macedo

This was originally published in the March 27 Print Edition.

While my resume is a disaster and my bank account is overdrawn by 23 cents, I am sick and tired of receiving emails from the Toppel Career Center. My issue isn’t with their intentions. If they want to help me find someone stupid enough to hire me, that’s fine.

Before I get into the pressing topic at hand, I want to offer a disclaimer. Toppel is a last name and I have nothing but respect for the Toppel family.

I know how inconvenient a last name can be. When I was in high school representing a face riddled with pimples, I embarked on my accutane adventure and landed the nickname “chapped lips.” My last name is Chapman and my lips were shedding, and maybe if my last name was different or I moisturized as part of my morning routine, I could’ve slid under the radar.

That being said, the obvious dilemma here is because of their name: Toppel. I’m already not particularly interested in joining the workforce next year assuming I pass my classes, and with a name like Toppel, I’d rather keep firing off job applications to jobs which I won’t receive a rejection letter from until I’ve completely forgotten I applied there.

Toppel sounds like the day we graduate and see President Frenk for the first time, they’re going to push us off the stage as we topple down the stairs and into a 9 to 5.

Why isn’t it called something more encouraging, like the Next Step Center? Or Securing the Bag Depot? Or Chasing the Bread Express (their slogan could be “time to start breadwinning”)? Call me crazy, but I’d bet all negative 23 cents that the name Toppel Career Center is the reason people get their master’s degrees in areas where a master’s degree won’t make them any more money.

For instance, much to my parent’s dismay, I’m studying broadcast journalism. Because I refuse to parade into the Toppel Career Center out of fear and potential embarrassment that I have nothing of quality to put on my resume, there is a possible scenario where I will have to get my masters in broadcast journalism.

No matter which way I spin it, if I go down that road, I will still have to live in Nebraska and make $5 an hour. The only difference is, I will have spent more money and time on learning how to look good on camera, which is a lost cause as it is.

But in an alternate universe, where Toppel is called something more welcoming, like “The Long Road to Retirement with a Vacation Here and There Junction,” I will go in there with my 3 short-term jobs and my subpar GPA from the School of Communications and I will ask them where I can sign up for the Law School Admissions Test.

With all my free time from not having a job or friends, I did a Google search. I looked up the word topple. And in .30 seconds, which is the amount of time I approximately spent deleting Toppel’s emails, Google offered me two definitions from the Oxford Dictionary.

And if there’s anything I know about the Oxford Dictionary, it’s nothing. I’ve always been more of a Merriam-Webster kind of guy. Anyway, both definitions were verbs, and neither motivated me to journey through the hot scorching sun to the career center.

Option one: “Overbalance or become unsteady and fall slowly.” And while “Falling Slowly” from the hit Broadway musical “Once” is objectively one of the greatest songs ever created, I don’t know what it means to be overbalanced as I imagine you can never be too steady.

Option two: “Cause to become unsteady and fall.” Enough said.

The truth is, in life sometimes we need to fall in order to get back up. It’s one of the only ways to build resilience. Could it be the whole time Toppel was just trying to teach us this lesson?

While they almost certainly were not trying to teach us anything, and I could not be more sure that Toppel is simply the name of the person who donated the building or the name of the person the building was named after, I will try to frame it as if it is meant to inspire.

I will one day galavant into the Toppel Career Center and put my resume, desolate of any meaningful work experience, on the table, and ask for a job working for them. As Kevin Durant proved by joining the Warriors and ruining basketball back in 2016, and as the saying goes: “If you can’t beat them, join them.”