Hey, did you read that awesome title? I love this recession! Exclamation point! I want to stick my fear boner in this recession, and give it a brood of 10,000 thimble-sized Alexander Hamiltons. This is how I feel about the collapse of our economy. It's just great. I'm great. How are you?
Losing my job in 2008 was the best thing to happen to me since I lost my job in 2001. I highly recommend getting laid off; it's exhilarating, like being chased by bears. As an Americ-CAN-do-whatever-I-put-my-mind- to, I'm putting my mind to staying positive.
So allow me to inspire the fuck out of you. Here are the reasons I love this recession - call them mantras, epiphanies, lifesaving bon mots. I'm okay. You're okay. We're all okay. Okay?
You never realize how much of your life you spend at work, until you're out of it. My days are free, and I can do anything I want. I'm catching up on Lost, growing basil in my windowsill, and just strolling around my neighborhood in Queens. I've even started going to the library, and reading free issues of magazines that came out six months ago.
Paul Newman died??
My days are not planned out around the lunch breaks and tee-times of some higher up. Becoming the master of your own destiny frees you from their routine, and allows you to design a YOU-tine. Mine typically involves waking up in my bathtub at the crack of noon, pounding a stiff pint of mouthwash and gin. Then I put on my fat man shirt, hotbox fifteen menthols, and stare blankly at walls.
Since I don't have an office to commute to anymore, I'm getting to know the people in my neighborhood. In the mornings, I'll have a nice chat with Hakim as he's pouring my coffee. Laughs will be had with Raaj at the copy center, as I fax my resumes off to prospective employers and crack jokes about how I'll never ever hear back from them. In the back of the local bakery, Doris makes amazing homemade pizza.
Doris requests that I give her privacy while she cooks.
I've even found a local watering hole just like the bar on Cheers. What it lacks in charm, and lovably irascible patrons, it more than makes up for by opening at 9AM; and I'm almost certain Nick, Nicky, and Tommy the Thumb know my name. Then there are the homeless who hang out underneath the subway trestle. Sometimes they have Hobo Dance Parties with their little duct taped transistor radio and sometimes they turn on each other like pit bulls with Steak-Ums stapled to their snouts. They're like the cast of Friends, if the cast of Friends were wine-poisoned cannibals pushing shopping carts full of sneakers. Heck, they're better than cable (which I can't afford).
I'm not just hanging around, waiting to hear back from all the jobs I've applied for. I'm taking the Minotaur by the horns, and improving myself. I've been learning HTML, watching lots of PBS, and filling spreadsheets with life goals. Maybe I'll go to grad school, and study something recession proof, like arms dealing, meat canning, or slave trading. I've also been doing a lot of push-ups. I've got the eye of the tiger, and my chakras are ready for opportunity to kick the door down to my fourth-floor walkup. The unemployment checks I collect are invested just as wisely as my time. After procuring the bare necessities of survival (cans of Dinty More Beef Stew, airplane glue, and shotgun shells) I take whatever I have left over and invest it in Lotto tickets. When I hit it big, I'm going to buy human companionship for a night. And a steak.
Just because I'm unemployed, doesn't mean I don't care about our environment. I'm a passenger on Spaceship Earth too. I recycle my cans, bring my own reusable bag to the grocery store where I buy my lentils, and I'm using public transport. Or I will be using it, once I score an interview in Manhattan. I've taken to recycling newspapers as well, specifically, cutting out pictures of celebrities and scratching their eyes out with a special, ceremonial spoon I've sharpened to a point. Once combined with my own personal human au jus applied as adhesive: Instant wallpaper!
My employed friends tell me internet dating is a great way to meet people who are also on impromptu journeys of self-discovery, like me. This recession has really forced me to reevaluate my priorities, and The Beatles were right: all you need is love. Every afternoon at 2PM I take a break from sleeping all day and tune into MSNBC to whisper secrets to on-air host Contessa Brewer. I know she doesn't know who I am, but she reminds me that there are decent women out there who won't sneer when you try to split the Chilis "Two for Twenty" deal, or judge you for asking to take home the leftover tortilla chips. You think mix CDs are cheap? Also, Lubriderm is outrageously priced, if I can take a moment to complain.
When I had a stupid job, I'd spend all my time depressed. Depressed about office politics, deadlines, the big promotion. I have a new perspective now; those were all petty little worries. Hello, how bourgeois? In college, I use to call myself an "existentialist." Boy, I sure didn't know anything. But now, nothing could be more true. Who am I? Why am I on this Earth? Are we really all born astride the grave? I accept all of this. I stare into the abyss, and Cthulhu stares back. Obviously, I can't get a job because I'm lazy, and useless. Besides, jobs are mythical now, like leprechauns. I'll bet Sartre was never cussed out by an 18 year old Blockbuster manager because you've turned in three applications in as many weeks. That kid lives down the street.
Can you believe I once did the Atkins diet? Or that I ever worried about being overweight? Ha! What a lesson that fate is teaching me: wherever you are in life, love yourself. If I ever gain it all back, I sure will appreciate my fat wings more. The best part is I don't even need to go to the gym, as the pounds are just fading away, since my body is slowly eating itself. Losing weight is incredibly simple when you're trying to make a five dollar foot long last three days or soaking cotton balls in orange soda. How does the third world do it? Oh, right, they die in the streets. Hustling for work, weeping in the rain and watching butterballs eat at Wendy's through the window is better than that time I used laxatives to get ready for bikini season.
I would honestly murder for that right now.
There are some people who call it "funemployment." Granted, they have trust funds, but they also have a point - when life gives you lemons, make lemonade. And don't forget to eat the peel, as it will prevent scurvy. But seriously, that instance of levity aside, experience is a jaunty tale told by old, seeping wounds. And I've learned a lot about myself and the world we live in. I've learned that hard work is a reward that can't be sold on eBay. I've learned how to beg, because you can't eat integrity. That God doesn't answer prayers, as he's an aloof prick. I've learned that if you miss one little payment with a loan shark, its interest plus the principle. I've learned that email links to job postings rout directly to desktop trashcans. That your entire life can fit on a one page resume.
And that page fits in the trash.
I've also learned the following: Happy Hour is actually Sad Hour. Talking to roaches blunts loneliness. I will probably have to name my first born Visa Mastercard DeVore. Apparently, it actually takes skills to operate a deep fry vat. On Facebook, no one can hear you scream. Money can't buy you happiness but it can buy you things that will keep you alive. I've learned that The Road Warrior was a documentary. It's amazing the lies you'll tell family for money. And finally, I've learned that if you work hard, and keep that chin up, you can aspire to solvency. See? I'm doing great. Can I borrow twenty dollars?
John DeVore has written alleged humor for such places as Comedycentral.com, Maxim Magazine, Playboy.com, and the award-winning political satire Whitehouse.org. Follow his preening narcissism at Twitter.com/johndevore.