Thursday, June 17, 2010

150 Good Things about Unemployment

101. You watch your two-year-old pup carry a tree branch ten times her size until she breaks it into a manageable size and then it becomes uninteresting and is dropped.

102. Although it may not seem like it some days, you are luckier than this tree.

103. You are home to stop one of your dogs from bringing in a coveted dead squirrel, bloody and mangled. He reluctantly left it at the door to come in and eat. When I let him out, it was gone. A neighbor dog was sneaking away with it. Even the unemployed dogs in this rural area are wandering. For a laugh, here is an illustrated version of The Wanderer by Dion and The Belmonts including John Glenn, The Three Stooges and a floating newborn.

104. You watch two water striders get it on, while taking everything in stride.

105. You apply for a Guinness World Record for most job application rejections. Today, I got a rejection letter for a job I didn’t even apply for. No kidding. I should get some kind of prize for that.

106. A sweet poem for the season, after a walk in the woods finding tiny spring flowers like this Round-lobed Hepatica a.k.a. Anemone americana. Aren't you impressed with my knowledge of the Buttercup Family? I own a wildflower book.
A Variation of Spring Has Sprung
Spring Has Sprung, the grass his ris’,
I wonder where the birdie is?
There he is up in the sky,
He dropped some doodoo in my eye!
I’m alright, I won’t cry,
I’m unemployed and used to that shit.

107. You laugh at other unemployed persons' blogs. Check out the video at showing the travails of an unemployed Imperial Stormtrooper named TK822.

108. On your walk today, you see a critter that reminds you of your old boss. In metaphor only, though. This guy here is harmless. You sure don't miss the other one.

109. You could be in the midst of Iceland’s volcanic ash or stuck in a European airport, but you are at home, free and clear of everything including employment.
110. You begin to relate to your shoulder companion, the camera. This porcupine was yesterday’s highlight. How about their mating ritual? Males fight over the females, which is how it should be. Then the males dance and spray urine over the head of the female. Now, that is courtship.

111. You spend yesterday ferreting out a disagreeable smell, sniffing like a dog under cabinets, pulling junk out of closets and finally finding the source first thing this morning. Yes, you set that mouse trap awhile back and forgot about it. Don’t do that again. And especially before breakfast.

112. When five airlines say they won’t charge for carryon baggage, you devise a scheme with your girlfriend to bring you on her next business trip. You just have to lose a few pounds.

113. You visit the Village Beautiful and take photos. Walden and Spring streets cross at a parking lot. Something seems amiss.

114. Nobody can beat you at Solitaire. All 1,723 versions of it, including Premier Super Precision High-Tech Grand Prix Turbo with Wicked Performance Solitaire.

115. You may have your doubts some days, but deep down you know you can withstand this ordeal, not unlike these quarters that have been standing for the last 200 years. Well, maybe leaning.

116. Your dog won’t be wearing Sexy Beast cologne. On April 23, the Huffington Post published a hysterical photo collage by Katla McGlynn featuring The Stupidest Pet Products Ever Invented. I won’t be purchasing Sexy Beast for $65 or the Hot Doll Sex Toy for Dogs no matter what it costs. Scan the reader notes too; lots of defensive comments from people who actually have purchased the products for their pets.

117. You cancel your trash service that costs $22/month. You load your garbage and recycling into your Smart Car. Although you are sitting on your wine bottles and some jerk in the family didn’t compost a not-so-recent meal forcing you to stuff newspaper up your nostrils, you manage the 17-mile drive to the transfer station. As you sort everything into the bins (cardboard, green glass, brown glass, clear glass, metal, plastic, paper and garbage), the genial old-timer who works there stares at your behind and asks if you’re okay. You notice that several cars are waiting for you to finish, you’ve mixed your brown and green glass, and your butt is soaked in Merlot.

118. We bee happy. Here’s the buzz: Career Cast has rated the most stressful jobs, while saying that workplace stress damages productivity, mental well-being and physical health. The senior corporate executive is one of the top five most stressful jobs. No sympathy here. And for Bobby McFerrin’s Don’t Worry, Be Happy including Robin Williams:

119. When it snows like crazy on April 28, you are at home to curse and moan and take photos. I am not in a good mood.

120. You follow New York State politics and wish you were related to Senate Majority Leader Pedro Espada, Jr, who seems to hire his family and pay them generously. According to the NY Attorney General, the Senator employed his son to run a janitorial service company that cleaned his health clinic. The janitors were paid $1.70/hour. Minimum wage is $7.25/hour. His son earned $150,000/year. They did not pay taxes. We elect such honorable folks in New York. The whole nation knows this.

121. May Day. When I was a kid, we made baskets from construction paper, filled them with lawn flowers and bush blooms, and brought them to neighbors. May Day is celebrated as International Workers Day or Labor Day in many countries. Today in the U.S., Mayday is a distress call from the unemployed. According to the Pew Fiscal Analysis Initiative, 23% of the 15 million unemployed Americans have been jobless for a year or more. That is 3.4 million people, about the population of Connecticut, Oregon or Oklahoma. According to that great resource Wikipedia, students at the University of St. Andrews in Scotland celebrate today by running naked into the North Sea at sunrise. Sounds good to me, as long as there is some snuggling after that cold plunge.

122. Laughter. Happy World Laughter Day! According to the Laughter Yoga folks, laughter will promote world peace. I agree. If we are all laughing, it seems unlikely we will kill each other. Here is a video I guarantee will make you laugh:  I found it on their website.

123. It makes you feel good to read books that feature characters with worse luck than you have. I read The Natural Laws of Good Luck: A Memoir of an Unlikely Marriage by Ellen Graf. The story includes fire, unemployment, loneliness, betrayal, isolation, car accidents, financial strain, disappointment and serious illness. And it is all true. I feel better already.

124. You photograph wildflowers in the woods. Open Salon editors feature your photos:
You are hot, well, maybe warm, well, maybe cool.

125. Spring cleaning is sweet. After a week of scrubbing, you tell your family they can no longer wear shoes in the house, they can only eat over the table, and they cannot poop in the toilets.

126. You capture a wasp dancing on Garlic Mustard. Although I hate this invasive plant and spend some of each day pulling it up, even in our 80 acres of woods, this wasp was having a good time. I watched him dance and dip, asked him what he was doing on Garlic Mustard when the lilacs are blooming (he said he preferred sour, not sweet, and it was none of my business anyway--a rather haughty guy), and then I grabbed that Garlic Mustard and yanked it until the roots let go. It was an ugly scene.

127. On Mother’s Day, you looked beautiful in your ski mask and parka at the Peace Pagoda’s Flower Festival eating picnic food around a blazing fire with your back to the bitter wind. Yes, it is upstate New York on May 9. You wouldn’t be anywhere else, unless it is someplace warmer.

128. You use an interview strategy like this one:
Since I don’t have television service, I don’t know if this commercial is shown regularly. It was referenced in an employment service e-mail. I think it is hysterical. Now, I need a partner to implement this sophisticated approach.

129. Although the Huffington Post’s Real Misery Index is up due to lingering high unemployment, your load is lessened after talking to this lower tree who said you have nothing to complain about.

130. After a hard day in your pajamas in front of the computer after getting up at noon, you watch the Beatles’ A Hard Day’s Night and laugh. And what does John Lennon say to the question, “How did you find America?” “Turn left at Greenland.”

131. You meet your match at a roller derby game.

132. You can spend the whole day chasing your dog. This photo of our dog captures the yesterday's scene for me. Buddy, our 85-pound mutt, was due at the veterinarian at noon for shots. The vet’s office is a half-hour drive. At 11:15 a.m., Buddy was not on the porch. It was raining. I yelled for him every five minutes until 11:35 when I called the vet. The receptionist said I had until 1:00 p.m. to get him there. At 12:20, I gave up looking for him. Soaked and cold, I’d fallen after being snagged by a tree and tore out the rear of my favorite jeans. I lit a fire in the stove and sat down. Buddy showed up, muddy and wet. After I tried to cover the seats of my car with a sheet and blanket, we left. We pulled up to the vet’s office and I opened the door for him. He leaped out before I could grab the leash and took off. Two employees of the vet’s office helped me chase him down. The visit was short and I put Buddy back in the car before I paid the bill so he wouldn’t eat the miniature Terrier yipping at him. On the way home, I stopped at our auto repair shop to see when I could get an appointment. As I was talking to our mechanic, Buddy leaped from the car. I have no explanation other than I must not have shut the car door all the way and somehow he got it open. On went the chase again: In the rain and mud, by the river and on Highway 22. I went home without him, leaving my phone number with folks I talked with along the way. Checking the phone at home, there was a message; Buddy was back with our mechanic. Although I felt like leaving him there, our mechanic is too valuable to irritate. I retrieved the muddy mutt and drove home again. Buddy was lucky he got dinner last night. Today, I’ve got to get the dirty dog smell out of my car. The sun is shining and that darn dog ain’t going nowhere.
P.S. LATER: I just finished cleaning the mud and gold dog hair from the black interior of my Corolla while it sat on our gravel driveway. Buddy kept circling the car becoming increasingly excited that he was going somewhere. You don't want to know where I told him to go. I was nice and polite, but direct.
P.S. LATER STILL: Bill, my partner, told me where to go too when I bitched at him all night to compensate for how Buddy treated me all day. And my car still smells like wet dog. I suppose things could be worse. It could smell like dead dog or would that be a good thing?

133. You welcome your new neighbors with a handful of grubs.

134. Although this poppy will not bring you sleep, you can stop and enjoy its intricate beauty.

135. You sing Wild Thing while photographing one of your favorite new blooms: Orange Hawkweed. As The Troggs sang…Wild thing you make my heart sing. You make everything groooovy.

136. Although there is a Sneaky Way To Leave Work Early and Arrive Late Without Getting Caught (, you don’t have that problem.

137. Memorial Day is full of flowers and you don't have to report to work tomorrow.

138. A carefree morning with mystery poop in your living room. According to the Identification Key to Scat from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and referenced on the Internet Center for Wildlife Damage Management, I've concluded that this pictured deposit is the result of a snake eating a mouse. I'm absolutely delighted. When I see my new friend, I will serve him another mouse on one of my few unchipped plates. Sorry Stuart Little, but I’ll take a snake any day over a mouse. Mice should be the Patron Saints of regularity, while snakes poop only on holidays. What a great morning! Oh, by the way, here is what to do if a snake starts to eat you according to The next time you find a python starting to swallow you by the arm--as happened recently to a 21-year-old woman cleaning her hungry 12- foot-long, 60-pound pet python's cage--don't pull back. You'll just get badly cut, and you won't get free. Instead remain calm, ask someone to pry the snake's jaws open, push your arm in further until the teeth disengage, and then pull your arm out.

139. You totally agree with Beth Mann: Doing stuff is overrated.

140. You have lost your ridge of high pressure. That is a good thing.

141. Nobody cares if you lose your to-do list. And you don’t either.

142. You no longer have to nap sitting up with your eyes open, which is the only successful accommodation when attending business meetings.

143. You don’t eat Twinkies from the office vending machine. And then feel like you need to run around the block or throw-up.

144. You make a strawberry-rhubarb pie on a cool, rainy June morning. And while it is cooling, you eat an ice cream cone in anticipation.
Strawberry Rhubarb Pie
3 C rhubarb, peeled, cut in small pieces
2 C strawberries, cut in half
1/2 C flour
1+ C sugar
1 T butter
2 pie crusts
Combine rhubarb with flour and sugar and set aside while you prepare crusts. Line pie pan with crust. Put rhubarb in pie crust and top with strawberries. Dot with butter. Top with second crust. Bake at 425 degrees for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350 degrees. Bake until pie bubbles up, about 35-40 more minutes.

145. You watch spittle bugs. They are fascinating. The froth that looks like spit hides froghopper nymphs. But guess what? The substance is not spit. It comes from their behinds. Watch the spittle nymphs:

146. You don’t have to let your boss cut in line at the photocopy machine.

147. You decide to return as a black fly. You and your girlfriends surround the head of your former boss. Bonnie flits into his nose. He exhales forcefully, but that action just attracts more of your friends. You dive into his ear canal and buzz loudly. Barbara hits the other ear and bats her broad wings on his eardrum. Several of your hungry sisters latch onto his endless forehead. You land on his nose where you use the blade in your mouth to slash the end. The gash is gorgeous. You signal your partners to drink and depart. You arrange another attack tomorrow. After all, you know when he gets off work.
Tips for Humans from a female Black Fly:
• We find carbon dioxide appealing, so don’t exhale.
• We crawl into sleeves, shirts, boots and pants, but especially like the human head where we irritate you the most. You will not be protected by a hat. Personally, I love the forehead.
• We are attracted to perspiration, deodorant, perfume, insecticide, dark colors and humans in general. Admit it. You can’t win.

148. It is Monday and you do not have to listen to your coworker Lucifer go on about his weekend conquests.

149. No staff meetings. Quoting Fred Flintstone, Yabba, Dabba, Do!

150. No dry cleaning. At the end of the winter season, I take my wool clothing to the cleaners before I closet them for the summer. If you've ever had moths or silverfish eat your wardrobe, you know taking this precaution is worth the money. This winter, however, my attire did not require a trip to the dry cleaners. If I don’t get a job soon, I will be the one that needs drying out.

\\\ For Good Things numbered 1 through 100, see 100 Good Things about Unemployment posted April 3, 2010. ///

1 comment:

L in the Southeast said...

Hi,Sheba. I just came over here to see your humor. Hilarious! "Today, I got a rejection letter for a job I didn’t even apply for. No kidding. I should get some kind of prize for that."

However, your photographs are gorgeous!!!