I'm not going to jerk you around. I'm unemployed at the moment. And I have received unemployment benefits. Have I been looking for jobs? Sweet Jesus, yes. Is finding jobs very difficult? Sweeter chocolaty Jesus, yes.
Unfortunately, there are still a lot of people out there just like me. No, not crying onto their keyboard. And no, not reenacting Blade Runner with homemade action figures on their kitchen table. "Those aren't your memories, salt shaker!"
It's a new year with a new Congress and there are still a lot of people out there who, despite their best efforts, have not landed a job. But unemployment doesn't have to be all bad. Here are some ways unemployment may work for you.
It's great for people who love pity. Have you ever broken a bone? And when you walk into a party donning a cast, what happens? That's right, you become the focal point of the party. All the extra pity points give you the confidence to put your arm around the certain someone at the party you've had your eye on. And they'd date you, too, if only you weren't a jobless cripple.
LINES & FORMS
It's great for line-standing enthusiasts and people who like to fill out forms, often simultaneously. Is there nothing that gets your rocks off more than standing amidst a single file of other human beings that look and smell just like you? It's one of the few moments in life where you'll think to yourself, "Man that guy smells like he hasn't bathed in a few days... wait, when did I last shower?"
Does the idea of inputting the appropriate information in a form's allotted space make your nipples hard? Well then get ready to add some obscuring clothing layers because your nickname among your friends is about to become "The Glass Cutter."
Do you like to dress like a hobo? Have you ever past a homeless person and thought, "Gosh, that's stylish!" I know. Me too.
When you're unemployed, you'll wear the same clothes more often, sometimes days in a row. After all, where are you going? That's right. Nowhere, fast. Who do you have to get prettied up for? Ha, your family and friends abandoned you long ago. So, clothing becomes worn out more quickly, holes form, and patches may be needed.
Now, I know what's you're thinking, and the answer is yes, "Patches" can be your designated hobo name. Other acceptable hobo names include, but are not limited to... Skinny, Fats, Stitches, Boombox, Flops, Nasal, The Grogg, Temples Johnson, or G. Willicker.
Are you constantly on the verge of crying? Are you at a point in your life when even a poorly-timed, well-executed, sappy insurance commercial could activate the waterworks? Just keep telling yourself that grown-ups cry all the time, that "It's okay, I'll allow myself ample crying now and later on in life when things are better I'll make it up to my body by smiling and laughing more." But what about the times when you laugh so hard you cry? Didn't think of that, did you? The covenant between you and your body will be broken and your body will shut down out of spite. Sounds like fun!
Is despair an emotion you've never really gotten a chance to fully explore? No? Well have I got the unemployment opportunity for you! Imagine waking up in the morning, still under the foggy notion that you are employed and have somewhere to be. As reality hits, you'll feel pretty terrible. But not as terrible as the woman on the Price Is Right must feel, the one who overbid her showcase by just $100. That speedboat looked sweet. She probably concocted plans for that boat during the final commercial break.
Just like the plans you and your significant other made prior to you being laid off. Why did you invest in bean futures, for Christ's sake! That broker had no idea what he was talking about. You should have been skeptical when he had you enter his office via the fire escape. And by office I mean janitor closet. But hey, at least it's a corner janitor closet with a window. What's your office got? Oh, you no longer have an office... yes, that's right, ladle on a generous smothering of despair over your despair pie. Eat up, don't be afraid. Like you and the Hershey pie you ate for breakfast yesterday at Burger King and that quadruple shot of espresso you had no business asking for this morning, it's all headed straight for the toilet.
Finding it tough to grab the most ideal seats at your local Starbucks? Well, with no time restrictions you'll have first dibs on that comfy leather chair far, far away from the homeless man who calls all guys "Muscles" and all girls "Curves." Of course, you won't be able to afford any of the drinks. But if free time were money, my god you'd be rich, rich as... well, I can't think of a comparison right now, but you can since you have so much time!
LOOKIN' AT STUFF
You like lookin' at stuff? I mean really lookin'? Lookin' so hard your rods and cones nearly develop a sense of touch and taste? Hey, check out that sweet thing in the window over there! You know, that thing that you always wanted to buy but couldn't because it was just too expensive? Well, check it out, it's half price! Oh, that's right, you have no income. Half price may as well be double full price. But you do enjoy lookin' at stuff, right? And now you've got the right job for it! And that's no job at all!
Now that you have no job, your last job can be anything you want it to be! Always wanted to be a fired astronaut or a laid-off unicorn tamer? Well, tell that hot little lady at the end of the bar that you're just that.
Maybe your previous employer wanted to focus on Earth a little more and had no need for the number of astronauts they employed. And with just one unicorn, and the economy the way it is, maybe your previous employer thought they were overstaffed.
With the exception of future employers, no one will know for certain that you never held these jobs. They won't know you were never a professional nipple photographer, or a part-time judge, or a reverse stripper. They'll have an inkling, sure, but you can deflect their suspicions by having an extraordinary amount of Tang in your cupboards.
Frustrated with the tired, old, socially accepted norms like breakfast, lunch and dinner? When unemployed you create your own eating schedule. You can eat breakfast at 2AM or dinner at noon. You don't even have to use those words. Call dinner "creeping phase." Call lunch "moon glowing." Nope, it doesn't have to make any sense at all.
And don't stop with meals. When people greet you on the street, feel free to reply with a complete disregard for logic. "Hi, Andy, how are you?" Your possible responses are as follows...
- "Well, with nanotechnology, how are any of us?"
- "Beep, boop, beep, betty, boop, beep."
- "You'll never get my pockets... they're protected, and holding pens."
- "You are how, Andy, hi?"
You're unemployed, so most people will have already assumed you've abandoned reality, if not logic and coherence altogether.
But maybe the best part about being unemployed is that the standards of normal happiness no longer apply. The standards are so low that even seeing certain colors will make your day. Oh I remember when I hadn't seen the color blue for days. I wasn't sure it existed anymore. Then one day, I stepped outside and it was like Pleasantville. Food tasted better. Like blue.
Not waiting in line at a grocery store will make your day. Hitting all green lights on the way home from the store will secure your happiness for the rest of the week. And God forbid you should need only one quick, accurate insertion of your house key to open your front door -- you may just have a full-on orgasm right there in your doorway.
Sad? Perhaps, but... LAY OFF ME, IT'S ALL I HAVE!
Follow Andy McDonald on Twitter: www.twitter.com/iamandymcdonald