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Pipped to the post
A persistent job-seeker once appeared before President Lincoln and demanded an appointment to a judgeship. He was informed that there were no vacancies. The next day, while walking along the river, he saw a drowned man being pulled out, and recognized him as a federal judge.
He ran back to the White House and demanded the position. Sorry, said the President, but the lawyer who saw that judge fall in beat you here by a good five minutes.