Unemployment Crisis in America
by Elyssa Durant, voices.yahoo.com
May 4th 2009
After being rejected from a job that pays $18,000 / year at the women’s prison, a job that pays $21,000 teaching Head Start, getting fired from Red Lobster (because apparently, I am just not Red Lobster “material” I decided to go to the Tennessee Career Center to take advantage of their high speed internet, free printer paper, and ink…
now would not be the best time to mention my senior thesis– or my grad school major, or the fact that i spent the better part life as a volunteer and advocate for children at-risk.. working to give them hope and a second chance at life.
systematically invalidating such bogus, barnum-type feedback that one typically gets from a MBTI type of personality test that is given during high school or in college. i won’t bother to mention the standardization of SAT scores to help our country feel better– or the fact that the stanford-binet was created for military issue only.
who gives a shit anymore??? if you told a me a fat bearded lady at the circus could decide my fate and tell me what direction i should choose next– i’d take it! and throw in a fat tip for being smart enough to know that any answer– no matter how grim, is far better than just wandering aimlessly through life looking back on what might have been– at THIRTY? at THIRTY-SIX???
after receiving five letters of rejection from jobs that require nothing more than a GED or a high school diploma, i decided to go to the tennessee career center hoping to find a job that will allow me to afford the most basic necessities of life. toothpaste, toilet paper, cat food… i got hooked up with a counselor that afternoon. he has two masters degrees– one in educational career counseling, and a second in counseling psychology. could this be the guidance counselor i have been asking for since.. well… since… i was old enough to know was in need of guidance?
surely someone else must have recognized i was in need of guidance, but god knows my parents weren’t paying attention, and having good genes just doesn’t cut it these days. but now more than ever, i realize that having all the smarts in the world won’t get you anywhere if you never learned how to apply them.
i am the exact same five year old who needed to win the spelling bee. in college, i was the one to set the curve, not just make it. the one to break the rules, and, break them i did, but there is no glory in being second best, second smartest, second brightest, or second anything.
i wish i could say that after all this time i developed other ego strengths and finally felt okay with who i am, you know…. “just being me,” but i am sad to report that my “condition” (diagnosis) was amazingly accurate and predictable. just like all the doctors said! i wonder if they derive joy out of being right– if they crack open a bottle of aged liquor in my fathers office and say, “see, we told you so. we told you their was nothing you could do.” and so nothing they did.
and by doing nothing, and i do mean nothing– the illness will just take will its course. and i am now, in fact, nothing. nothing costs nothing (at least to them) and daddy made another fine investment. on the other hand, nothing has drained every hope, fear, security– every chance– and every last breath from my body. i might have believed in me. but i know i’m alive because a tear just rolled down the side of my cheek. i am home.
but i still haven’t learned. for some reason with all of my failures i am reminded of in so many ways… me, myself, as i watch them play out every time i shut my eyes or open them. yes- blink.
sometimes i ask myself, how did i get here? how did this happen? what happened to all of the plans i made for myself? where did they go? where did I go? constantly replayed over and over and over again in my mind. i must be F—ING CRAZY!
but at this moment, here, even as i say the words, i am not truly insane, i am merely in pain. what a tragedy that those two words rhyme– they ruin what could have been a very profound misnomer of the human condition and the labels we hold so dear.
i am the exact same 5 year old who needed to ACE the spelling bee, set the curve, not just make it; break the rules, and, break them i did. there is no glory in being second best. second smartest, second brightest, or second anything. being second sucks. it sucks every god-damned second of the day.
and so my search for mediocrity continues and i wait for it each and every day hoping it will find me beaten and worn from the storm. all of the storms, but dammit, its still there. i still have questions those damn elyssa questions that made all my professors so proud, damn ideas, damn thoughts, damn hope.
my mother still calls me everyday to see if i went to get food stamps to feed myself, #EFF her, and her #EFF’n things. #EFF diamonds, couture, and #EFF that life. i was here mom, the whole #EFF’n time. just not pretty enough with out any surgery. not pretty at all, with all those damn scars.
i hope someone out there still loves me. i do actually believe that i deserve love and kindness despite the obvious fact that i am a royal pain in the ass. i refuse to work in burger king. for right now, at least.
so goodnight my dear friends. let’s all try to have sweet dreams. pepe awaits, as does alanis, and a pack of smokes that i can already taste.
yes, what could have been, what should have been– what MIGHT have been if you let me be
“When written in chinese, the word Crisis is composed of tvo characters: One represents danger and the other represents opportunity.” -JFK