Wednesday April 8, 2009
I remember this day. I was still feeling a little discouraged about my job search. I know the advice contained in my rejection letter from a couple of weeks prior was constructive and well-intentioned and all; there was just so much of it. I had a lot to work on. Plus, I had not developed any good leads since that interview. The economy - even here in the supposedly recession-resistant DC area - was still in a foul state. Even my recruiter/headhunter contacts were starting to sound dour, and that's not good - these people tend to be extremely positive, almost like salesmen. There was a strong, chill wind blowing outside. Bleah.
Not one, but two silver linings appeared and sent my day scampering in a better direction, that afternoon. First, I finally set up my photo blog http://www.photographs-by-joe.blogspot.com/ and completed the first little post. It felt good to do something somewhat creative. It still does. Very few people are looking, and I'm okay with that. In many ways, the photo blog and this blog are like talking to yourself in the car; very low-cost therapy.
The second instant day-improver came in the form of my bi-weekly Maryland Unemployment Insurance Benefits payment. This always makes me happy. As you may have heard in the news earlier this Summer, there are a lot of educated men and women in prestigious, high-level elected offices who believe that unemployment benefits payments to the jobless are a disincentive put any effort into finding work. A couple of these leaders went so far as to phrase it such that we unemployed people choose to remain unemployed; that we prefer these little payments to getting hired.
Well, I hate to disappoint my bleeding-heart liberal friends, but the above is SO TRUE!! I simply adore being jobless. Sure, the first couple of layoffs sent me scrambling to find new work as quickly as I could. As I recall, after that first one in 1995, I was so proud of myself for finding a new job before I received a single penny of unemployment benefits. What was I thinking??? I know better, now. By Day 129 of this layoff, I had come to fully embrace the government-subsidized life of the unemployed layabout.
I started slow, hesitant to "take advantage" of the system. I paid cash for groceries, filled the car with just enough gas to get me to and from the store, fixed broken stuff in the house etc..
Before long, I realized just how good I really had it. So, my $360 a week (after taxes, including the extra $25 from the Feds from one of their "emergency recovery acts") began to seem like found money. [Maris]'s job at her own little Vortex Of Doom looked stable enough, right? I'd roll out of bed at about noon and play video games until at least 3:30, when I'd switch to Sports Center for a couple hours. I started sending out exactly the required-for-continued-eligibility number of résumés (two) per week, and made sure they were for jobs for which I could never be hired. I took up smoking and quickly accelerated to two packs a day. There went $140 of my bi-weekly $360.
I expanded my binge drinking of only top-shelf tequilas and rums from weekends-only to just about every day. Mmmmm... All free, thanks to unemployment! I rationalized that I was saving money, by keeping the lights off most of the time and taking maybe one or two showers a week - and never shaving (those blades are expensive).
With one benefits payment, I bought myself a pair of "Miami Vice" pinkie rings. I know - but they're really nice! One is Crockett and one is Tubbs and they have little diamonds for eyes. Classy!
Another check (two, actually) went to Toys R Us. My old Playstation 2 was just not cutting it, anymore. I had to upgrade and get some new games and controllers. I was getting really tired of "Crash Bandicoot." Sitting around and playing games is just the best, and with Unemployment, I feel like they're paying me to do it!
You know what's better than endless days of sleeping late and smoking and drinking Patron Silver and playing "Halo?" Strippers! My friend Godfrey Ozzenbarq III (not his real name) and I started heading into DC on benefits payment days to ogle the girls at "Good Guys" on Wisconsin Avenue. We quickly graduated from that to "Camelot," at great expense. Don't worry, taxpayers. You're not paying for this lifestyle. Unemployment Insurance is privately funded, mostly through premiums paid by employers, and they're doing much better now that they've gotten rid of so many employees.
But you know what's even better than strippers? Hookers! Okay, I don't think that's really true, but I can honestly say I wouldn't know. But I know drugs are better than strippers. Oh, Godfrey (not his real name) and I sure know how to party! We're back to playing a lot of "Crash Bandicoot," as well as my old vintage Atari stuff - and tons of Ms. Pac Man. That stuff is amazing when you're baked or rollin' or tweaked or Timmy!'d or buzzed or blasted or floating or destroyed or wrecked or made into pizza rolls or smelling the kitten or drunk or selling encyclopedias or trippin' or jumping the shark or writing epitaphs or playing the Cheap Trick albums at 78rpm or whatever the kids are calling it these days.
When there's cash left (there never is), we buy lottery scratch-off tickets. I think I won $25,000 once, but I was trashed and I think I must have used the ticket as a desperation rolling paper and burned it up.
Yep, being unemployed is pretty sweet. I can't imagine myself getting another job, as long as these massive piles of fun bucks for nothing keep rolling in. Work is for chumps. Now, if you'll excuse me, I've gotta go do some online gambling before I get too wasted to focus...