God, where to start? Okay. It's 2:10 AM and I woke up out of the blue, stressed out b/c I have no job, no money, and no likelihood of being employed tomorrow.
I've been there before. The last few years have been like that. I'll eventually find something and get caught up. It's a cycle: Get a job, lose the job or quit the job, rinse, repeat.
I used to be somebody. Nobody important, of course, but somebody. Had a house, two cars, a motorcycle, and a lawnmower. I even had a cat and a girlfriend.
I remember some good times then. I could go on about all the great sex we had, but the nicest memory was just the two of us, slow dancing late one night. A song on the radio, and I just grabbed her and we circled around real slow, and I sang to her. I'll never forget how much she loved being the focus of my attention. We were, for a few minutes, really content to just BE.
This was all made possible because the bills were paid.
You see, back then (20 years ago,) a hard-working guy had a reasonable chance of finding a decent-paying job and keeping it. I had medical, a 401K, and all that. It was hard and thankless work, but I didn't complain. It was enough to have something to do and a decent place to live. Not glamorous at all, but it was OK. There was a measure of security to it, and it was pretty sweet, all things considered.
What happened? Well, we broke up, I got a new degree and entered a new field.
My next years were some of the best. I was confident, enthusiastic, well-paid. I remember hosting a party on the roof of my charming apt. bldg. and looking out at the skyline of Chicago, thinking that I was indeed the King of Wicker Park. Times were good, and there were lots of fine women and good times.
So why did I move again? Oh, yeah. The band. They wanted to get back together in Denver, of all places, and I was restless enough to listen to them. Those were the 2 most miserable years of my life. Imagine working a responsible, professional job while living around a bunch of crackheads in a ghetto. The band fell apart, as I should have known it would, and I had no reason to be there. Back to Chicago.
Moving is expensive and stressful. In the meantime, the economy continued to contract, and competition in almost all fields was fierce. Jobs I could get with ease were now harder to find, let alone get. Things got tighter, and my spotty record of moving around a lot didn't help. HR people asked what I was running from. I thought of it as running TO something, but looking at it, I don't know what it was I wanted. A life of making music, I guess, but it's harder than it looks. I at least broke even before, in cost vs. income. Denver was a total loss. It's a sh*thole of a town, too. Downtown was a ghetto, and the 'burbs were full of backward-baseball-hat-wearing idiots. I'm sure there are some great people in Denver. I just never met them.
Then followed years of unusual jobs. I worked as a substitute teacher, climbed 500-ft. radio towers (scary!), and even had a job as a radio DJ, increasing listenership and advertising for my slot by 1/3 in 6 months. I was good. I worked at it. Do you think I got a raise?
Fast-forward to now. I'm in Long Beach, and after many years and many jobs full of meaningless drudgery and countless hours sweating for the man when all I really wanted was to take a nice walk somewhere with someone pleasant to talk to, I'm right back where I was. Unemployed. Broke. Not even a man.
It's strange how we define ourselves (and others) by our jobs. We're so much more than that. At least, I'd like to think so. You can blame the economy on Reagan, Bush, Clinton, the other Bush, or Obama. That's nonsense. Presidents don't really affect as much as we might think they do. That's probably a good thing.
Will Rogers, I think it was, said that the one constant is that "the rich get richer, and the poor get poorer."
OK, I looked it up on Wiki. Maybe I'm FOS:
to exasperate at once the extremes of luxury and want. They have exemplified the saying, “To him that hath, more shall be given; and from him that hath not, the little that he hath shall be taken away.” The rich have become richer, and the poor have become poorer; and the vessel of the State is driven between the Scylla and Charybdis of anarchy and despotism. Such are the effects which must ever flow from an unmitigated exercise of the calculating faculty.
-Percy Bysshe Shelley; A Defence of Poetry
I dunno. Seems like Will Rogers said it, too. A pretty common phrase these days, anyhoo. That IS what's happening. Assign any cause to it, and you're at least partially right. You gotta love any references to Scylla and Charybdis, at any rate.
And that's what really p*sses me off.