Saturday, April 3, 2010

100 Good Things about Unemployment

1. You don’t have to call in sick. 

2. When the local Toyota dealership sends you a key to win a new Prius, you drive there when the sun is shining, amuse the salesman while not buying a car, and collect your consolation prize of three gold coins. The gold coins were dollars, but I'm not complaining about a free three bucks.

3. You don’t groan when the teenager at the thrift shop asks if you want the senior discount.

4. If someone is rude on the phone, you simply hang up on them.

5. You look forward to jury duty.

6. You can wear the same outfit all week and nobody knows but your partner and he just wants your clothes off anyway.

7. You don't have to wash laundry on the weekend.

8. You have time to dust. This week, I dusted and vacuumed in places I’ve never seen before. I swear I disrupted the lives of 40-year-old daddy-long-legs. We didn’t just have web communities between the posts and beams of this 180-year-old house, there were remote solar systems with intricate travel ways. I even cleaned around my partner’s side of the bed, which I consider the sixth dimension. However, I did not touch his bedside table. Even unemployed, I have my limits.

9. You don’t have to worry if you have available vacation days.

10. You can always make a personal call.

11. No matter what time of day your holiday guests arrive at the airport, you can pick them up.

12. You are not in the office on Christmas Eve.

13. For Christmas, you can give penny loafers without the loafers and your family will understand.

14. You happily avoid the lines at the after-Christmas sales.

15. You get good at exchanging holiday gifts for cash.

16. You are still eating all the Christmas dinner leftovers that family offered. We finished the cheesecake yesterday, but still have half of the cherry pie. Oops, not quite half. We have enough vegetarian stuffing for the next 37 holidays.

17. You can watch the falling snowflakes the size of Nebraska.

18. You can wait as the dogs roll around in the snow on your daily hike.

19. As the clock strikes midnight, you wish for a year as good as this one.

20. You can create a blog and get rich when thousands of your loyal readers click the ads. Happy New Year!

21. On a warm winter day, you can count the snow fleas.

22. On a cold winter day, you can shovel.

23. You can read and read and reread. I just finished The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver. I cried at the end, maybe because I could no longer read this triumph of a book. So, I reread the last chapter.

24. You can watch Emperor Penguins mate in the middle of the day. I had never done that before yesterday. Shortly after the library opened at 2:00 pm, I checked out a handful of DVDs. After spending my morning shoveling snow, I sat down on my bed with a cup of tea and cookies, and watched the March of the Penguins. I loved seeing these birds slide around the South Pole on their plentiful bellies. I’m just surprised the beer drinking human male hasn’t adopted this system of transportation.

25. You are the boss.

26. You find meaning in the dollar menu at Taco Bell.

27. When the Jehovah's Witnesses come to your door, you are at home to discuss the evils of working too hard.

28. You can watch the icicles not melting.

29. There is no dress code.

30. Your dog thanks you because you cannot afford the $300 teeth cleaning that the vet recommends.

31. You get to eat the cheapest thing on the menu. Last night, I ate an entire plateful of onion rings. It is even difficult for me to conjure up that image again. I'm in the process of expelling that good thing.

32. There is no one to argue with. However, I have been known to carry on with the dogs.

33. You can fart at your desk.

34. You do not wake up in the middle of the night haunted by work.

35. Saturday is just another day. I'm making snow angels.

36. You can spend as much as time as you want in the bathroom during your break from your blog.

37. You can spend the morning admiring the sticky snowstorm and cleaning up dog diarrhea. I have spared you a photo of the latter. What a beautiful morning, outside anyway. As for the dogs, they are now outside too. As for the diarrhea, we have big dogs. But whichever one it was, he made a good attempt at running to the bathroom. Why I don't know.

38. You can make habitat for the snow fleas. If you make tracks in the snow today, the snow fleas will be there tomorrow as long as the temperature is still around freezing. The last few days have been balmy—almost 40 degrees. Stick your nose in yesterday’s tracks and watch the snow fleas jump. (Link to a video of a magnified snow flea jumping:  A little guy is there, then he isn’t. Now, he has switched places with a friend. Possibly the perfect mates.

39. Your alarm clock doesn’t go off, on purpose.

40. Naps are necessary. Yesterday, I slept for hours on the couch after reading a New Yorker story. Earlier, I took a hike in the woods and shoveled more of our long gravel drive where my car had gotten stuck the night before. The Honda is buried again this morning. And I’m sure the town’s road crew has piled the snow at the end of the drive. Real exercise ahead. Update: Our kind neighbor with a snowplow did the work for me. I think an outing is in order. I’ll go get gas.

41. You can run out of the house as soon as the winter sun shines provided you already have your boots laced, unzip your parka, unzip your gray sweatshirt, unzip your navy sweatshirt, pull up your t-shirt and soak in the sun for the 11 minutes that it shines. So far, the neighbors haven’t objected. I have such small breasts that the little things might not even be visible from across the road. I’ve told them this practice was recommended by my doctor who claims my Vitamin D is so low I could have Rickets.

42. You can watch your dogs snore and twitch.

43. You can get a bunch of credit cards before the banks know you have no income. For the banks, this is also a good thing. I have so many now I need a new genuine cowhide leather slim line credit card holder. And I'm a vegetarian.

44. You can ponder. I’ve been thinking about the word, rodeo. It has three long vowels and only five letters. Wow. Or rather, yeehaw.

45. When your car breaks down, you don’t have to worry about getting to work.

46. You can make your own TV dinners, instant coffee or Tang. Let Lester and Charlie show you how:  These guys are hysterical.

47. You can unpack keepsakes left to you and repack them until you leave them to your offspring who will unpack and repack them.

48. No need to go outside when it is two degrees. I'm not bedding down with the deer tonight. My mama told me there’d be days like this.

49. When your doctor makes you wait over an hour to see her on your last day of health insurance, it just doesn't matter.

50. Sex. This week, UPI reported the findings of a Texas A&M study published in the journal Sexual Addiction and Compulsivity that found lengthy unemployment may increase sexual appetite. I’m waiting.

51. You can find things of historic value like this big-eyed card from Hallmark’s Heart Warmer’s collection. This reminds me of when I visited the Precious Moments Park with some good friends. My story about that experience is posted below at 51 Good Things.

52. You don’t have to bathe regularly.

53. As they disconnect your cable, you realize you are already Dancing with the Stars. Just one more of the Desperate Housewives writing her Vampire Diaries. These are the Days of Our Lives. Although George Clooney doesn't seem to be referenced here, I think he should be.

54. You watch Mr. Moto’s Last Warning and congratulate Peter Lorre when he throws a stack of dynamite out of his abode as it explodes in the air, escapes from a tied gunnysack sunk in the Mediterranean and prevents a war between Britain and France, while never breaking his glasses.

55. Unfettered-ness. According to another psychological study, most people are happier on days without work because nobody is bugging them. Scientists label it the weekend-effect.  I say, "For complete well-being, become unemployed. Calling it the unemployment-effect, test subjects say they feel better—emotionally and physically—from Monday morning through Sunday night."

56. You do your taxes as soon as you get your W-2, and kiss your own behind when you learn you are getting a big fat refund. Thanks be to yoga.

57. You get good at Sudoku. And you’re proud of it.

58. You get past level 3-5 on a free game of Zuma Deluxe. This is a complicated computer game where a frog spits marbles. If your left-click mouse finger is up to it, you will clear all the marbles before one of them ends up in the gapping mouth of a skull. When you complete a level, a sexy baritone voice exclaims, Zuma! That is the part that gets to me.

59. You become fascinated with old movies. I’ve watched Cecil B. DeMille’s The Greatest Show on Earth 37 times, while my library fees mount. My hands sweat when Holly, the trapeze artist, duels with The Great Sebastian. Charlton Heston plays another jerk. The only movie I liked him in was Planet of the Apes. Now, that was suspense. I just learned you can get this picture postcard of Charlton Heston’s kiss on E-Bay for $2.95. What a bargain. Hint: My birthday is tomorrow.

60. You don’t have to go to work on your birthday. No passive-aggressive boss gives you the silent treatment. No conniving colleagues. Instead, I’m taking a trip to Algiers with Charles Boyer and Heddy Lamarr. I’ve got a picnic basket of bread, cheese, Satsuma mandarins and a grapefruit Izze. It’s my birthday. Take me to the Casbah.

61. You have no excuse not to attend a relative’s memorial service. You drive cross country and charge your gas to one of your new credit cards. You get to see your five-year-old nephew play a critical game in his basketball career.

62. You become a member of the unemployed underground. Dues are paid in-kind. Everyone is welcome.

63. You cook when family come to visit. The oven goes out, so you finally understand these lyrics: Someone left the cake out in the rain. I don't think that I can take it 'Cause it took so long to bake it. And I'll never have that recipe again, oh no... Yes, Richard Harris sings MacArthur Park…all seven minutes of it.

64. You put hot sauce on your cold cereal to boost your spirits before reading the Sunday want ads.

65. You get to read optimistic daily forecasts about your future. Millions of Unemployed Face Years Without Jobs, NY Times, 2/21/2010

66. You keep your hands busy. You may want to crochet a tree jacket.

67. No need to wear a watch, unless it gives you the day and date.

68. You count the number of times the snow plow clears your road. You wish the road crew would plow your drive. The snow is heavy and sticks to the shovel. But, you have plenty of time and nowhere to go. Your car can wait another day, since your driveway is going to take all of this one.

69. You are grateful you have electricity since thousands of area residents are without it. Snow continues to pour from the sky without sun. The neighborly plows scrape by and you wave from the window. You are at home with the fire blazing, streaming dance tunes and not thinking about your former coworkers on the job.

70. You read famous quotes and discover hope.
Winston Churchill: Difficulties mastered are opportunities won. 
John F. Kennedy: Conformity is the jailer of freedom and the enemy of growth.
Groucho Marx: Well, Art, it’s Art, isn't it? Still, on the other hand, water is water. And east is east and west is west and if you take cranberries and stew them like applesauce they taste much more like prunes than rhubarb does. Now you tell me what you know.

71. You snowshoe swiftly down a steep slope without poles and forethought. You plod back up, sweating. Your dog steps on one of your snowshoes. You are no longer going up. You now have evidence there is two feet of snow--in your underwear.

72. You love the one you're with. You.

73. You imagine. You invent a software gadget that easily removes everything invented by the computer geeks who think this stuff is indispensable but only cause you repeated frustration. The new gadget is called the Sheba. You never have to work for another idiot again. As John Lennon sings, You may say I'm a dreamer.

74. You volunteer. You choose a place where you will make new friends and learn of opportunities. You are excited. You go there several times and conduct your tasks alone. Sometimes you dust, which you rarely do at home, but the dust mites are friendly.

75. Paying bills doesn’t take long. Nothing coming in, nothing going out. Collectors call you. You sit still and retreat to your snow fort. Only the snow fleas find you and a dog when he lifts his leg.

76. You create cash. You take a box of books to a second hand store; they buy three for $6. You find a receipt for a purchase at K-Mart so you return the blue light special, collecting $42.39. You recycle 23 bottles for $1.27; you get the 10% bonus. After all that work, you have a beer for $3. Today’s net income: $46.66.

77. You play the lottery. You win Mega Millions. I'm back to the imagining thing again. If you want a laugh, go to this website and watch the short video on how to play. It shows you how to walk to the store:

78. You are thinner. The Washington Post reports that fast food breakfast sales are down because the unemployed don’t stop there on their way to work anymore. Instead, they eat cereal at home or don’t eat at all. A sausage and egg McMuffin is 450 calories, with more than half from fat. Eating nothing is considerably lower than that. So, it stands to reason that we unemployed are thinner as a result. I didn’t need to study it. If you find contrary evidence, let me know. I’ll ignore it.

79. You use less gas. You do not go to McDonalds on your way to work. You do not go to work. You do not go to job interviews because there are no jobs. Your car sits. So do you. But the size of your caboose does not increase because you are thinner.

80. You are always home for morning tea, and afternoon tea, and evening tea. You learn to read your tea leaves. They say you will be successful. Employment? Yes, definitely. When? You will have to drink more tea.

81. You discover Facebook. You find old high school buddies. You find former boyfriends. They all look good. You change your photo to your cheerleader yearbook photo. They say you haven’t changed a bit. You know that.

82. You are amused by street names like Petticoat Lane and Rabbit College Road. You rename these roads by visiting
You come up with Heather Feather Quay and Hidden Zephyr Crest.

83. You call yourself a troubled asset and ask the government to purchase you. Let me know if this works. Otherwise, I’ll talk with AIG.

84. When your electricity goes out, you are pleased to learn that high winds were the cause and not your delinquent payment.

85. When daylight savings time gives you another hour of daylight, you’ve got an extra hour to blog. Your reader wonders if that is a good thing.

86. Your daily attire is on sale at K-Mart for $4.50. I bought another so I don’t have to type naked when my blue suit is in the washer. And this yellow outfit looks like spring to me. (My blue suit can be found at 29 Good Things posted above.)

87. You read your spam. In the last week, 12 nice merchants have offered me $200 off on a Rolex watch. Paul Meyers, an internet professional who has “seen it all,” wants to show me how he made $136,808 in one month. Veola Rima and 32 others will give me free Viagra. I received a final notice from the FBI, a promise of clear skin, and a bunch of admonitions for wasting my military benefits. And Marlene Gebo wants me to put my doughnut in her oven.

88. You make your own fancy coffee drinks. Although I don’t have an espresso machine, I brew it strong. And I don’t have to pay extra for soymilk. This coffee cup is my favorite. It says, "do I look like I give a rat's ass?"

89. Sitting by a mountain stream at high noon listening to the rush of melted snow. Robins have been reported, but I haven’t seen them. Spring may be here. I hope I don't jinx it.

90. You are home to nurse a sick family member. You remind him though that the nurse has breaks for blogging and watching the 48 games of the first weekend of March madness.

91. You look for good luck charms everywhere and smiley faces count.

92. The job interview.
Where would you like to be in 10 years? Employed.
What qualities do you feel a successful manager should have? The insight to hire me.
What do coworkers say about you? Is he talking about the dogs? I guess so. They like our long walks in the woods.

93. You don't have to lie to your boss when you are looking for a job. In the March 22 edition of Time online, Brad Tuttle instructs us on,"lies to tell your boss so he doesn't know you're looking for another job."  How do we rid society of this dishonesty? Hire the unemployed.

94. When you are sick, you don't miss work.

95. You search for truth. What is our purpose on this earth? What is the meaning of life? Is it like Lou Reed sings, “some kind of nature, some kind of soul.” Or is Quest your savior? For me, it is unemployment insurance. Thanks be to the New York State Department of Labor.

96. When you can't will your feet to walk, you crawl to your computer. I'm still sick and miserable. There will be better days.

97. When you cough, you don’t have to cover your mouth.

98. You discover generic toilet paper doesn't wipe you the wrong way. According to Brad Tuttle, generic toilet paper sales are up 9% due to the recession.

99. When bronchitis is the diagnosis, cheap generic drugs kick butt, so to speak. It took less than three hours for a side effect of the antibiotics to hit me. I assume, though, you don’t want me to talk about human diarrhea; a few squeamish readers were not thrilled about my dog diarrhea day noted here. I love this generic illustration.

100. You can avoid shopping on Saturday when all those employed people are out and about.

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