Sunday, July 18, 2010
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)