Who among us hasn't fudged a little in a job interview, left a few things off a resume? At such times anonymity comes in mighty handy. But what if you're looking for work in Chicago and your employment record is public knowledge? What if you are, say, famous opera tenor Luciano Pavarotti? Everybody knows about Pavarotti being canned by the Lyric Opera in August for poor attendance. Specifically, Pavarotti had canceled 26 out of 41 Lyric performances since 1981, meaning he only showed up for work 46.6 percent of the time. With that kind of record, we wondered if anybody around here would hire him. So we called and asked. First we checked on Pavarotti's prospects in the everyday workworld. We asked: Would you hire Pavarotti . . .
. . . to deliver pizzas?
Steve French, manager, Gino's East: "No, I wouldn't hire him with that kind of record. Are you kidding? If I hire a pizza-maker and he doesn't show, we're screwed."
Richard Chambless, manager, Domino's Pizza, 5912 N. Clark: "Yeah, we would. We have a core of dependable guys and a fringe of not-so-dependable guys who kind of show up on a less than reliable basis, so he'd fit right in. And we do have quite a high proportion of non-U.S.-born people delivering pizzas, too."
. . . as a dogcatcher?
Peter Poholik, executive director, Chicago Commission on Animal Care and Control: "No, I wouldn't hire him. I could not hire with conscience a person with that type of work record. If the person was working for me and needed to be off that many times, that person would definitely have to show proof positive that there was a legitimate reason. And if they weren't adequately documented, I'd have to let that person go. Irregardless if the guy's name was Smith, Jones, Brown, or Pavarotti, he'd pay hell working for me."
. . . as a parking-garage valet?
Jack Drezner, manager, Civic Center Garage: "Not if he wasn't dependable, ma'am. If we check on their references and their past performances aren't very good, then no, we won't hire."
. . . as a grocery bagger?
Ron Paduch, manager, Jewel, 3630 N. Southport: "No, because he only shows up half the time."
. . . to deliver newspapers?
Willie Leverson, field service manager, Chicago Sun-Times: "No, I wouldn't. You see, because our job is a seven-day-a-week job, and if he's missing half his performances there, there's no way he can work seven days a week home-delivering for the Sun-Times."
Fortunately for Pavarotti, Chicago theaters and nightclubs are slightly more forgiving, if cautious. Here are some of their answers to the question, Would you hire Pavarotti?
John Craig, owner, Wise Fools Pub: "Yeah, with a hundred-dollar guarantee. A hundred dollars against the door, and he's got a job."
Andy Cirzan, senior talent buyer, JAM Productions: "Ummmmm . . . Hmm. Yes. The impact of him canceling a performance for us wouldn't be near what it has been over the years for Lyric Opera. We would be looking almost certainly at a one-shot deal at the Rosemont Horizon. Certainly considerations would have to be put in the structure of the deal based on recouping the expenses that would be lost in lieu of a cancellation."
Richard Friedman, executive director, Organic Theater: "Yes, we would hire him. How soon would he get here, and does he understand the concept of nine innings? We'll put him in Bleacher Bums tomorrow if he can get here. Now should he stand us up, we'll be looking for Dom DeLuise to stand in for him."
Goodman Theater: "Only if we couldn't get Dom DeLuise."
Dick Goodman, co-owner, Andy's: "Yeah, maybe as an opening act. That way no one would be disappointed if he didn't show up."
John Shanahan, owner, Cabaret Metro: "Sure. I'd book Pavarotti as a deejay. I've dealt with more difficult people than Pavarotti, I think. James Brown, he's a great example. He wouldn't come to the gig. You know, he's supposed to fly into Chicago and he decides at the last minute to fly into Gary and go to a friend's barbecue. We were waiting for him at the airport for three hours. So I've dealt with cancellations. Yeah, we'd like Pavarotti to deejay for a night, see what kind of records he'd come up with. See if he'd play any Funkadelic or something like that."
Brad Altman, manager and director of marketing and promotions, Cubby Bear Lounge: "I'm sure we wouldn't hire him. Too risky. Besides, he wouldn't fit in our room, literally."