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Unemploymaina #1 – Evenings with Craig

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Life seems somehow more unfair when you are unemployed. There are the obvious things like the whole lack of money issue, which certainly puts a damper on obvious indulgences like feeding yourself and imbibing alcohol. Even if the money is there, with no job, its hard finding reasons to drink in the first place. Unemployment and drinking share an uncomfortable relationship: With no job and no woman, one’s reason’s for drinking shrink to almost nil. It’s painful reality.

The troubles transcend the monetary. Unemployment debases daily structure. The days of the unemployed melt into one vague diurnal/nocturnal haze punctuated by visits to Craigslist. Craig himself tries his hardest, suggesting, in a manner almost uncomfortably sincere, a range of jobs split into two camps.

1) The shit you aren’t qualified for. “How about truck driving,” suggests Craig. “You like trucks.” Craig doesnt know you can’t drive, nor, in the alternative universe in which you could, would you be able or willing to lead the trucker’s life. You shake your head.

Craig goes on. “Okay, how about BARTENDING? We all know you like alcohol.” Craig here ignores your pained expression and evasive glance. You recall those blank moments of weekend evenings that exist in time, but not your memory. But you can’t tell Craig about this. So you cite your inexperience. New York bars, as you found out, typically only take you seriously if you have some transferable food service skills. One summer cleaning tables and stocking shelves with Stacy’s Pita Chips doesn’t cut it. Besides, you tell Craig, prolific drinking does not automatically entail skilled mixology. Remember when Mel Gibson decided he wanted to both act and direct? You making drinks for others is the vocational equivalent to”Braveheart.” Only it won’t make you rich.

2) The shit you really, really don’t want to do. Yeah, you know – things are rough. People are losing their jobs and homes and livelihoods. People are going broke, going hungry, going sober. And yet you still will not work as a lobby attendant. Night time security will eat you alive. And all this talk about you working as some sort of telemarketer? Preposterous. You can barely convince people to lend you a few dollars. How are you going to sell them anything? You tell Craig these things, noting, with a grimace and shrug, that those sorts of jobs aren’t meant for you anyhow. Glancing around, you lean in close, mouth behind hand. “They’re for illegals,” you hiss.

Craig is unperturbed and unconvinced. He spews further positions. Business Service Representative. Admin Assistant. Fitness Sales Consultant. Make $200 For 10 minutes Of Work! Straight Up Money! It all seems so easy, so immensely doable. And yet, through it all, your pride and sense of worth shine stubbornly through. Sixteen years of textbook-borne drudgery prepared you not for taking phone calls and shuffling papers but for work that you care about.

It is here that you recognize the steadily-intensifying rumbles of your stomach Was your wallet this empty yesterday? Reality knocks on your door, a rapid but patient rap-a-tap-tap. It’s time to go see Craig again.

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