Thursday, August 12, 2010

Day 53 of Double-barrel Unemployment: Hope and the Mortality of Stars

Thursday January 22, 2009

Well, well, well. 2009. Son of a bitch. It's 2009! The holidays were behind us, blurry and fattening and fun in their familiar chaos. The NFL playoffs were over, with only the Steelers-Cardinals (Cardinals???) Superbowl yet to be played. Stuff had been happening, but it had been a strange assortment of highs and lows.

It began with news of the death of the father of my good friend Godfrey Ozzenbarq III (not his real name). Godfrey, my one-time boss at Erol's, confidant, grifter, go-cart enthusiast, porn critic, mentor, turtle painter, ranting partner, career counselor and would-be Tom Delay beater-upper, had watched his father fade away rather quickly over the past half-year and depart on New Year's Eve. Godfrey and I now had this in common. My dad's fade, ending in July 2005, was slower, but of course there were parallels. Godfrey's mother had died two months after that. Now, both of his parents were gone, and departures were becoming all too frequent. We both have a pragmatic view of such sad events, and Godfrey had emailed me of his being at peace with the fact that he would never live larger than his parents had.

I knew the feeling, and replied with something along these lines:

"True, sir - your musing on mortality and living large. In reading obits and listening to stories of your 'rents, of my own dad and his, as well as of older friends of the family who are lining up to depart, I on more than one occasion have stopped and thought HOLY SHIT - Look at all the stuff he DID! I haven't done jack flydiddlyfuckin' SQUAT! I'm not about to tell you that I have the energy or wherewithal (whatever that is) to attempt to live as big, but it does give one a pause, no?
Once, on a family stroll on a dark Rehoboth beach, my dad told us as we marveled at the number of visible stars, that it was very likely that many of them were at that very moment already long-since dead and gone. We're teeny, man. But we do what we can and we get by and we try to enjoy ourselves as much as possible.
And there are bright spots. Watching the 1,800,000 frozen but hopeful and overjoyed people on the Mall, listening to a smart young new President (the address, not the stumbly oath) as he spoke in complex, compound sentences with subject-verb agreement, polysyllabic words and proper syntax (without an "in'" for ING anywhere to be found) was a deeply moving experience. Yeah, we're still just approaching the deep end of this shitter ("shitter's full!"). But there's hope. With bush exiled in texas where he can't hurt us any more, and with an intelligent, THOUGHTFUL and popular dude in charge, maybe - just maybe - we can begin to recover and actually be proud Americans once more. Eventually."

On the heels of Obama's Inauguration, while [Maris]'s company laid off a bunch of her coworkers, leaving her with a less-secure job and way too many hats, I ratcheted up my job search and found myself with two phone interviews and a new recruiter meeting in the span of two days.

Sure, the economy is in the toilet and headed for the septic tank, but we just swore in our first African-American President and we are tempted to feel hopeful for the first time in over eight years. The country of which he is assuming the controls is halfway down the awful spiral of a black fucking hole, but there is that faint glimmer of hope, and we cling to it with all our might.

Join us next time, when things get funny. Probably...

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