Tag Archives: Unemployment

Howdy, I’m a Parasite!

Standard

chd_tick_engorgedFor most of my life, I’ve believed myself to be a person.  Apparently, I was wrong.

I’ve recently become privy to the fact that I am, instead of human, a parasite. Specifically, I am a life-draining, blood-sucking, economy wrecking, nation dooming species of parasite. Apparently, I became a parasite a few years ago when I started drawing Social Security Disability checks. According to various authorities on arthropodology, among them Conservative talk radio hosts (Rash Limburger springs to mind), some more strident members of the faction of the GOP ironically called the TEA Party, and certain friends and family members who are unaware of my source of income, I am a parasite and if me and my kind could be eradicated from the face of the Earth, this planet (or at least the portion occupied by the United States) would be a much healthier, safer, economically sounder, and altogether more wholesome place where the “American Dream” could flourish as Providence, the Founding Fathers, and John Boehner intended it to be.

To make my personal lowly state even worse, I know now that I’ve been in various stages of parasitism for years. In my larval stage, I was one of the hideous brood known as the “unemployed.” As such, I partook of life giving substances like SC Unemployment Insurance. I was even crass enough to draw unemployment for longer than the 26 weeks this tremendously progressive state allows people out of work to find another job. Yes, gentle readers, when my SCUI ran out, I latched on — leech that I am — to the Federal Emergency Unemployment Compensation. I was lucky on that account. The exterminators up on Capital Hill have done yeoman’s work eradicating the parasites still clinging to EUC; I managed to metamorphize into my current form as a “disabled worker” before EUC dried up.

I hate it for all the now-hungry critters who were living so high on the hog on those massive $276 per week EUC payments. Lord knows I sure liked my payments so much more than I liked going to the job of my dreams every day as a school librarian (this is back when I was human, of course) and earning ten times that amount per month. It was nice to pare down and simplify life. People were really helpful too when they’d look away quickly before telling you they weren’t hiring. I REALLY enjoyed going on interviews 90 minutes from home just to be told the position was already filled. That was the highlight of my day!

I hope my fellow larval parasites manage to find a McJob before their nests get foreclosed on. If they are lucky, maybe they can take the advice on the old McDonald’s employee website and get TWO McJobs. Then they might actually be able to afford to choose whether or not to buy gas, food, or medicine. Who knows? With that kind of newly disposable income floating around, the country should be back on track in no time! Then maybe it wouldn’t be so hard to pay the soldier parasites their full pensions for fighting our wars for us.

As for me, I love my life as a parasite. Nothing’s grander than staring out the window at a sunshiny day and only seeing rain. Yeah, I’m THAT kind of “disabled.” I’ve got one of those “conditions” no one can see so it probably doesn’t exist. After all, who’s ever heard of Borderline Personality Disorder or Severe Dysthymic Disorder or even the elusive Generalized Anxiety Disorder? Can’t see it; must not be real. Shoot, that’s a terrific argument. Atheists have been using it for YEARS!

Oh and the things people say to us parasites — trying to be helpful, of course. Things like, “with all that free time you have, you should do X, Y, or Z!” Sure thing! I’ll get right on that as soon as the anti-anxiety meds kick in so I can go out in public alone for about an hour. Have to make sure to take extra or get home before they wear off. People tend to get really uncomfortable when they see grown male parasites with tears streaming down their faces for no apparent reason trying to find a short checkout line so they can get through and hurry back to the nest.

So, to all you hardworking humans out there, this parasite would like to apologize. I’m sorry for slurping up your tax money, ruining the future of the country, and generally just dashing all your dreams. I promise I’ll try hard not to flaunt my overly extravagant lifestyle in your faces as I drive by in my old truck on the way home to my singlewide trailer-nest. Who knows? Maybe some day I’ll even work up the courage to step in front of a bus or something and there’ll be one less blood-sucking mouth for everyone and Congress to worry about.Freshly pressed

For the rest of y’all, I really do love y’all. You keep me going. So keep those feet clean and watch were you step, we parasites are everywhere.

Advertisements

Being Unemployed Isn’t for the Fainthearted

Standard

It’s just twenty minutes until tomorrow so I’ll start calling Monday yesterday, as in — yesterday, I spent a little over four HOURS at the unemployment office. I filed my paperwork for the final extended benefits plan. If I get approved, I’ll have fourteen more weeks of unemployment insurance checks then I’ll become a “Ninety-niner” that some people are talking about. Ninety-nine weeks unemployed.

It’s hard to believe just how clueless some people are about being unemployed. I was reading the comment section of an article in the local newspaper on the stagnant job market and some of the commentators were HORRIBLE. I didn’t know I was such a lazy, useless bum who is attempting to be a parasite on the backsides of hardworking people.

I’ll tell them what they can do as far as backsides are concerned.

The unemployment office was packed today and I saw all shapes and kinds of misery AND con-artists. I know out of the room of about 500 people, more than one really has no intention of ever finding a job for longer than it takes to accrue more unemployment. Any system is going to have people who take advantage of it. Mostly what I saw today though was people hurting. One lady broke my heart. Her company abruptly shut down last week and when I say abrupt I’m talking “note on the door” style. She was about my age and she was just in tears because she had no idea what came next.

I’ve seen that several times when I’ve gone to file this or that paperwork. Mixed in with the lip ring wearing, saggy pants, hats on backwards crowd who’ve never worked an honest day in their lives are seriously decent folks who have ALWAYS worked and now they find themselves in their fifties and, in too many cases, sixties with no job, no insurance, and — increasingly — no hope.

You get to talk A LOT to a great many people in four hours of sitting and standing in line. I heard several common refrains like “overqualified,” “no experience in X field,” and the ubiquitous “it just looks like no jobs are out there.” In the comments I mentioned earlier, one self-righteous gentleman said with great pride that he’d “NEVER been out of work and if he ever found himself unemployed he DAMN SURE wouldn’t take 99 weeks to find another job.”

Oh really? My mama taught me a long time ago, NEVER say what you’ll NEVER do. You just might be surprised.

People not in the situation LOVE to say things like, “Go get a job at McDonalds or WalMart — they are always hiring.” Um, no, their not. It is an employer’s market right now. Businesses can pick and chose because they know how desperate people have become. The worst thing is, education used to be a bulwark against unemployment, but now, it’s a hindrance to finding another job. For example, I have a Masters Degreee AND all my recent work experience is in education. Someone takes one look at my resume’ and realizes I’m a teacher. Well, they aren’t stupid; they know that I’ll be looking for another teaching job and as soon as I find one — hasta la vista, Baby.

I’ve actually had an HR interviewer tell me that I’m almost unemployable outside of my field because no one wants to invest time or effort training someone who has an established career. I could LIE and say I have no intention of looking for another job in the schools, but I’ve found lying is a pretty low percentage game most of the time. The fact is, yes, if I’m a sales clerk at Target and a principal calls me and says, “come be our librarian,” I am GONE. As Lynyrd Skynyrd put it so eloquently, “Call me the breeze.”\

Unfortunately, the longer I’m out of the library, the rustier and rustier my skills get. I’d love to still be able to look through VOYA and SLJ, but my budget didn’t have room for $120 subscriptions. I sat down the other day and pulled up some the YA section on Amazon. I didn’t recognize much. When you aren’t talking with other librarians and students and teachers about books and computers and research and stuff . . . well, the edge starts to go.

So. What’s the answer? No clue. I’ve got a final fourteen weeks to figure it out before I become one of those people who help artificially inflate the “unemployment recovery rate” by falling off the job seeking roles. If you aren’t getting money anymore, you aren’t counted as unemployed. Go figure.

In any event, keep me in your thoughts and prayers. I’m not panicking because that won’t do anyone any good — especially me. Sorry about the short rambling post — it’s been a trying day and I wanted to vent a bit.

Love y’all and keep those feet clean!

Attention. Salute. Pledge.

Standard

I’ve been watching the Vancouver Olympics with TRIGUPITM for the last few nights. She loves figure skating, I love the luge and skeleton, and we both LOL at the curling. I’m always moved by the athletes’ faces on the medal podium as they watch their country’s flags raised and hear their national anthem played. That flag raising on that huge stage means so much to them and the millions watching in the stadium and at home.

This post has nothing to do with that pomp and ceremony.

This is about something I saw this morning.

I was at my local unemployment office before 8:00 this morning queuing up with several hundred other unfortunate souls who, like me, are out of work, broke, and worried about what tomorrow was going to bring. The day was crystal clear and the wind was sharp and cold as death. We huddled and shifted from foot to foot en masse, no one meeting another’s eye unless to ask the time. It wasn’t a place for small talk.

One guy across the courtyard from me caught my attention. He was dressed shabbily in sweat pants, a sweat shirt, and an old faux leather jacket. He had on grubby high top sneakers and a hunting hat with the wool flaps dangling loose over his ears. He might have been anywhere from forty to sixty and I could tell life had be unkind to him. Still, something about him made me smile. He looked like a survivor. The world had beat on him, but it hadn’t managed to beat him just yet.

One of the bureau’s office workers came out to raise the flag for the day. The wind snatched his sensible tie out perpendicular to the sidewalk and you could see the chill shake him from crown to soul. He held Old Glory clenched in his fist and I could tell from my vantage point that whoever had taken it down the night before hadn’t bothered with properly folding it into the correct “tricorn hat” package. For some reason, I looked up at the grubby fellow across the courtyard and he had locked on to the worker and the flag he carried.

The morning was bitter cold and as I watched him remove his gloves, I could only imagine how palpably painful the frozen brass of the flag clips on the lanyard must have felt to the man’s flash frozen fingers. He fumbled with the clips and the folds of the flag as the wind conspired mightily against his ever effort. At that moment, my buddy across the way stepped forward smartly and quickly and said, “Sir, may I help you please?” Coming from him, it seemed more of a command than a request.

Without waiting for a reply, my unkempt friend took the flag, snapped it out straight, and with obviously practiced hands seemingly unaffected by the arctic blast, he clipped the Stars and Stripes to the lanyard and ran it up the flagpole with an ease born of repetition. The office worker smiled at the man gratefully and turned to go back inside. I watched the man watch the flag now cracking in the breeze and it seemed to me that he’d probably saluted a flag just like that one many times on a myriad of bases or ships around the world. It looked to me like he hadn’t forgotten how to salute either. With a smile and a nod, he stepped back into line.

About ten minutes later, another worker came out and called for all military veterans to come forward to the front of the line and present their paperwork. Sure enough, my grubby friend stepped out of line and joined his battle brothers and sisters around the officer. After he turned in his forms, I watched him walk back towards his car — a mechanical duplicate of himself if ever there was one — and he spared another glance and nod at the flag.

So, he was a veteran. Many of us barely noted the flag, trapped as we were in our own personal miseries, but I suppose once someone has been shot at for marching or sailing under that piece of cloth, he or she would tend to regard that bit of waving fabric a little more closely. I found myself feeling extremely proud of Mr. Grubby.

So, as you watch the Olympics the next two weeks, pay attention to who salutes their flag during its presentation and who seems simply blase’ about the whole thing. You might find that those who salute may have a story in their background . . . a story similar to the grubby veteran at the unemployment office.