"Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them." - Henry David Thoreau

Sunday, July 18, 2010

...Cash Machine.

Well, NOW I've gone and done it. I am, once again, a bum. A tramp. A vagabond. A shiftless deadbeat layabout. The same as famous hobos throughout history like Mr. Wilson Fancypants, Balloonpopper Chillingsworth, Slow Motion Jones and, of course, Gary Busey.

You see, a little over a year ago, I was laid off from my job. Just another victim of the imploding economy. And, like the millions of others who suddenly found themselves without gainful employment, I took advantage of both state and federal unemployment insurance. This is an invaluable lifeline for those who need some kind of income during tough times.

Sure, it was only a fraction of what I was making while employed, but it certainly allowed us some room to spend on dinner and a movie once in a while, or the odd luxury now and again. We certainly were not in the same shape as a lot of Americans who really depend on that income for necessities like rent or utilities.

In my case, the benefit is more psychological than financial. When money is coming in on my account, even if it's a gov't check, I still feel like I am contributing to the household income. In the past year, I have looked around for jobs both full and part time. Not much out there and even less when it comes to anything remotely in my chosen field of Journalism. So, I've been sucking on Lady Liberty's teat all this time. It seems, though, that the milk has dried up.

I believe I have used up my benefits and am now among the many Americans who are S.O.L. My options are these: I can get a job selling used rubber bands to shut-ins or I can remain a jobless loser.

Now, over the past year, I have come to relish my role as a SAHD*. I love spending time with my daughter and I am grateful that I can share so many special moments with her. She's at a wonderful age now. Before you know it, she'll be a moody teen with a Dad who intentionally embarrasses her in front of her friends at the Mall.

To be honest, I kinda want to continue playing this part in her life. So, I am torn. Do I settle for a job that will probably make me miserable just to make a few bucks, or do I stay with my child and feel guilty that I am not contributing more to the household income? Is this how women who choose to stay at home feel? I mean, it's true that all I do is eat Bon-Bons and watch my Soaps all day, but dammit, I throw some pancakes at my kid once in a while too!

No matter what happens, though, I am still very fortunate. My wife has a good job and even without the extra income, we will be just fine. Others, however, aren't so lucky. Hopefully Congress will get off their collective asses and help those who really need the extra benefits just to keep their heads above water. Something needs to happen before more and more Americans are left without any means of support.

In the meantime, I'll be getting my stick and bundle ready and I am giving myself a new 'hobo name.' I'm thinking maybe Grizzly Adama or Sans-A-Belt Sal. Any other ideas?

What you NEED to know about Congressional Dithering On Benefits (Huffington Post)



  1. I go with "Squeegee McFunnyboy"

  2. Well I would take the opportunity to educate yourslf while at home, and get ready for soemthing actually worthwhile down the line. I know you're already a smart guy, but nothing makes you feel more worthless when looking through a jobs site and seeing one listing after another containing nothing but qualifications that THAT YOU DON'T HAVE! Before getting my job, I was so down about what I was lacking that I was severely depressed. Even though I'm a Photoshop/Illustrator/Painter/Skethup master, I still feel woefully lacking in other programs that I could use.

    You could easily learn Flash, Dreamweaver, etc., and get yourself into the website building field, or maybe even graphics (You don't need to draw to know graphics,) or anything that's a "program" oriented job, or video-editing softewares for your prefered field of journalism.

  3. I've actually done most of those things, even taking a VERY expensive class at AVID in video editing. But, with no recent experience or portfolio to show, it's damn near impossible to get in the door these days with this economy. I'm looking into freelance writing work, but no one seems to want anyone in my age group. It's pretty frustrating.

  4. Here's my two-cents as a SAHM: yes, it is a serious struggle to decide between contributing financially to the household and being a full-time care provider to your child. My feelings are first, I am contributing to the household, just not to directly adding to our bank account. By being home taking care of the kids and other family business, I am saving us money in other ways, however. More importantly, I have the rest of my life to work but only a few years to have a significant impact on my children's lives. Your daughter will be going to school full-time before you know it and you'll have a lot more time for "work."

    Have you looked at volunteering with nonprofits who might need someone with good writing and editing skills? I've also seen some info about sites for off-site employment -- writing and editing that you can do from everywhere. It might not bring in what you used to make but it may allow you to work AND take care of your daughter, thus saving the expense of daycare.

    Good luck with this. Shoot me an email (or FB mail) if you are interested in talking more about life as a stay at home parent. I've been doing it for about 5 1/2 years now and have put a lot of thought into it over those years! Best, Charlene

  5. just reading your blog for the first time and this is really funny. i loved the part about the bon bons and soaps and throwing your kid a pancake once and a while. laughed out loud.