My father tells me continually that I have to stay up beat, that I have to stay confident, that I have to keep a positive attitude if I’m to get a new job.  He’s a firm believer in the power of positive thought, despite the fact, that when he warns me of things, he generally begins with:  “Knowing your luck…”

It seems like a mixed message, but then, right before I started my driver’s ed classes, while riding my bike on my way home from a friend’s house, I was hit by a pick-up truck going fifty miles an hour.  While the pick-up truck was driving over my ten-speed I was breaking it’s front windshield, denting it’s hood & destroying it’s radiator.  After which I flew off the car, landed on the road, & rolled up onto the curb.

The truck had to be towed away.  I had a few deep bruises & not a single fracture.  It seems lucky, it seems fantastically lucky.  But then the police came.  That’s when the “knowing your luck” comes into play.  Despite the fact that the driver was an illegal alien, despite the fact that there were four people in the small cab, & despite the fact that they were going fifty in a thirty-five.  I had failed to wear proper reflectors & thus got the ticket.  I had to pay for the damages.  So it goes.

That type of shit happens to me all the time.  Applying to college when I was working on my undergrad was no problem, but applying for graduate school was a head ache.  They wanted my transcripts from the graduate classes I took at UCLA.  I had at that point in time had only visited LA once, over a weekend, to help an ex-girlfriend move.  I hadn’t stayed long enough to go to UCLA, I had never applied to UCLA.  I hate LA.

But someone with my name, social security number & other relevant information had attended UCLA.  I was the subject of identity theft.  Sure, it was cleaned up fast, & the individual hadn’t used my identity to drive up debt, simply to attend college in America.  But even after I supplied the necessary information, graduate school continued to demand my UCLA transcripts.  I couldn’t provide them.  He had dropped out half-way through his first semester.  There were no transcripts.  It delayed graduate school a year & I had to pay a lawyer to drive over to the admissions office & explain to them that I had never attended UCLA.

It’s amazing how they will listen to a lawyer over the actual person.  I think I’d remember going to college in California more than a lawyer who had never previously met me would.

The same thing happened when I attempted to land a teaching position in China.  It turns out, in the early thirties, an individual that died in the late sixties had been arrested for preforming an illegal abortion in St. Louis.  He had my name & an MD.  It showed up on my background check, along with his date of birth & death.  It was simple enough to clear up, all I had to do was prove to the US government that I was still alive, too young to have preformed an abortion before I was even born, never served time in prison.  A birth certificate, drivers licenses, social security card, & pass port were all I needed to prove that I was still alive.  But by the time the situation had cleared up China had decided that they didn’t want a dead felon teaching English to their people.

I did land a teacher’s aide position as a 1:1 for a school for children with behavioral problems.  That lasted from the time I quit a very well paying job for a couple of Koreans, to roughly a month later when my student landed himself in prison.  The school no longer needed me.  If I wanted to get a job in one of their open positions, since I was technically a lay-off, all I had to do was go up to the board of governors & explain how I lost my job in just under five-weeks time.  Their conclusion was that they weren’t going to hear a petition from an employee that couldn’t last three days longer than a month.

I was unemployed again in time for the holidays.  But with luck I landed a job at Noodles & Company.  That job lasted from the day after Christmas to New Years Day.  I had one day of training & then promptly got fired when I asked them how to saute.  I’ve never been much of a cook & they came to the conclusion that even though I had taken a minimum wage position it would be better if they just fired me for someone that they wouldn’t have to train, someone that had previously worked in the food service industry.  And since I didn’t last more than a week I could certainly get paid, if I hired a lawyer to fight them for my week long pay check.

That was the last straw.  That was the job that broke the camel’s back & forced me to call my land lord & explain that he can either allow me to break the lease or we can go through the eviction process because I didn’t have the money to pay him.  Losing that job made me move back in with mommy & daddy with only $200 dollars left to my name.

That’s the reason why I have to put up with dad telling me to keep positive.  To not be depressed.

I can see where he’s coming from, but when Dollar General & Thornton’s Gas Station both reject you for minimum wage jobs, not being depressed is hard.

When Daddy has to be kind & considerate enough to put your cell phone on his family plan, not being depressed is hard.

When the Hampton Inn rejects you for a part time over night front desk shift, not being depressed is hard.

When Wal-Mart & McDonald’s don;t call you back on your application, not being depressed is hard.

When the temp agencies ask you to stop calling them every morning, it’s hard to not be depressed.

When you are living with mom & dad again, it’s hard not to be depressed.

When you call up NPR & tell them you can no longer donate at the five-dollar a month level, it’s hard not to be depressed.

When ninety-percent of the applications you fill out don’t even get back to you, it’s hard not to be depressed.

Unemployment is a hard thing to take, especially when you live with your parents at my age.  It makes you incredibly depressed.


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