August 11, 2009
With no job prospects in sight, my unemployment switching from "regular" benefits to the double-secret probation that was Obama's "Emergency Unemployment Compensation" and the summer dragging on for me and killing [Maris] (now in full-on Vortex of Doom mode at her job), I re-watched the masterfully subversive "Hamlet 2," one of our favorite pieces of escapist ridiculousness. I cranked up the volume, not just for the best musical numbers since "Sweet Transvestite" and "The Time Warp," but also for bits of dialogue like "I could clean your rain gutters." "We have no rain gutters." "You're a LIAR - everybody has rain gutters!!"
[Maris] and I have incorporated that last line into our everyday vernacular. Upon hearing it this time, the desperation behind the word "liar" had a deeper resonance than usual. I started thinking everyone was lying - and not just about their rain gutters. I received one of my daily emails, informing me that I had "matched new jobs" and I promptly - alone in my house - barked "you're a LIAR - I didn't match anything!"
I was right. I opened the email to find a couple of dozen job postings, ranging from "I guess I can see why this one came up, maybe..." to "What words on my résumé led your software to believe that I should be a cyber security specialist with a top-secret clearance???" Every day this happens. And yes - I do know what I'm doing with my search terms.
It made me think of all the lies that surround me every day - many of which have been around since I was a child. Thinking back to this muggy August afternoon, I'm having trouble remembering all the lies and the lying liars who lie them, but I can wing it. It's getting late and the Braves are trailing :) so, briefly...
"We're converting to the metric system." Really! They taught us meters and liters and kilograms like it was an emergency. Hurry, children! If you haven't mastered this material by next Monday, you won't be able to measure a THING, ever again! I lost sleep over this stuff, and I'm still not really ready for the big switch. I know it's coming, though - any minute now.
"Breaking up AT&T and allowing more telecommunications providers to compete for your business will lead to lower prices for the consumer." Yeah - it didn't. Oh, these Baby Bells and their descendants went out of their way to make sure we couldn't compare their "prices" to anyone else's, but no, we did not pay less. This goes double for competition among cable TV providers.
Now, I am NOT going to start yammering about flying cars. Nobody promised me a flying car. EVER. I saw them in cartoons and maybe "Logan's Run" or the first "Star Wars" movie - although really, those just flew a couple of feet above the ground. But no one ever said "when you grow up, there will be flying cars" to me. So let's just get over this one. I'm talking to you, douchey Coke Zero guy.
What they did promise, however, was that technological advances would make our lives simpler and easier than those of our parents. "Computers will be in every home and will save everyone massive amounts of time," they said. Okay, so technology has made LOTS of stuff better. I won't try to say that it hasn't. BUT -- for most of us, it has done the opposite of making our lives simpler and easier, and we're not saving any time at all. Sitting here typing this drivel (mainly to share with a handful of Facebook friends), right next to my wife (who is using her laptop to play mah-jongg and listen to SiriusXM radio), I am certainly not SAVING time; I'm wasting it. We all are. Tons of it. And it's not just blogs and Facebook and games. I spend ridiculous amounts of time just trying to get this stuff to work at all. When it works, it's great, but I think we can count the "computers will make life easier" promise as officially broken.
Politicians. Yeah. Don't even need to cover this, do I? I will say - they used to at least fake it. They used to just twist the facts and deliver convincing half-truths. Now, they're not even trying. "Obama is going to turn this country into Stalin's Soviet Union." "Muslims are plotting to take over the country." "Republicans are going to deport ALL immigrants." "All the jobs lost and businesses closed in Maryland are due exclusively to the actions of Governor O'Malley." "If the Republicans take over, they're going to not only repeal Health Care reform, but they're also going to reverse the Civil Rights Act and send women back to the kitchen and reform our constitution so that it reads like the Bible, repealing all rights except gun ownership (men only, of course)." Not even trying. Lying right to our faces. Both parties are telling us their opponent's plan is going to destroy the world. They're both lying liars who lie. This is not funny. Moving on...
Commercials. I used to be skeptical of their claims. Now, thanks in part to Steve Coogan's brilliantly blurted "You're a LIAR..." line, I have achieved a certain peace with advertising. I don't care what they claim; I know - I KNOW - it's just a bold-faced lie. Oh sure, sometimes I still catch myself bellowing "how stupid do you think we ARE!" at the TV, but in general I'm okay with it. If I assume they're ALL lying, then it doesn't much matter whose ad I listen to, or if I bother listening at all.
One more (for now): Employers. This could be a whole separate post. OR... we could just include it in the advertising bit above. It's not a fun place to work. It's not fun at all. If it was, they wouldn't have to pay you to be there, would they? "A great place to work." Really? Work is for chumps. Yes, as you might have guessed, I'm losing momentum. Quickly. We'll revisit the lies of prospective employers, as well as those of job candidates (hey - I said EVERYbody lies, right?) in some later posts. Wait 'til you see some of the actual job board listings/descriptions I have saved up...