In America everyone spins their own con.

I am sitting in an unemployment agency. The thin bespectacled man across from me is borrowing into the papers on his desk. I have given him all my information and am now waiting for him to impart wisdom. The man pops up from the papers.

“Sorry, I don’t see a problem.” he says. Dark and balding, his suit seems a size too big for him

“What.”

“You have a lot of high level skills, you work for yourself, you’re not badly hurting financially, yet. Looks to me like you’re in a temporary lull. Wop dee do.”

“Wop dee do?” I question.

“Probably some middle age thing.”

“Mid-life crisis.” I say. He blinks at me through his glasses.

“See. Your old, you’ve had an interesting life, convey it. Something to keep you busy ‘till business picks up.”

“I came here for that.”

“I feel you came looking for direction. You’re like some kind of rudderless freak.”

“A rudderless freak.” I say.

“Right, so you want my advice?” he asks, acting as thought it would be in my best interests.

“Bring it on.”

“You should write an autobiography.” I am being told this by a thin man with glasses who works in an employment agency. Probably the diluted grand seed of Henry Miller.

“Appealing to what market share.”

“Think small.”

“Where’s the interest.”

“Elaborate,” he says.

“You mean fictionalize.”

“So lie a little. You’ve done a lot of strange stuff.”

“My life is made up of strange and useless stuff.” I say, realizing that it is true.

“I did not say useless, it was implied.”

“A freak?”

“You’re in good company.”

“You’d probably want a Quite Days in Cliché opening,” I say, testing my Henry Miller theory.

“What?”

“Nothing.” I say. A strange young man but I believe he knows my meaning.

“You don’t seem satisfied.”

“I’m 58 and looking for a job.”

“You’re self-employed. The economy sucks for guys like you you’re in a trough. There are no jobs for dudes your age. So I am telling you to ride it out. Things will get better, in the meantime keep busy.”

“Write a book?”
“Do something; there isn’t much I can do for you. I’m trying to be positive, do what I can.” He says, pointing over his shoulder to a sign that says, THINK POSITIVE.

“Well, thanks I guess,” I say, standing. My search for work has led to a cliché of happy thoughts without any action at all. Lay low until the storm passes. The Economy is in meltdown for the old. It is all sound and fury. All I want is a job and all I get are clichés. The American dream is being seriously diminished in my eyes, it is in fact defunct.

 

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