Posts Tagged With: unemployment

The 2011 Birthday Blog

Everyone quiet! Stop what you’re doing…and listen!


Hey you. Guess what?

It’s my birthday! WOOOOOOO HOOOOOOOOO!!!!! **does a Michael Jackson “Billie Jean” spin**

That’s right, Thirty-something years ago at a hospital about 10 miles from where I’m typing right now a certain brown skinned, big headed fella was brought into this world, after much labor and suffering based on my Mother’s account, somewhere a little after two in the afternoon. Amazingly enough, I made my arrival on Earth the same day as my father so I get to share my birthday with my Dad every single year! How f’in cool is that, boys and girls? I think it’s very cool! I have lots to celebrate, I have health and a cool family now that my big sisters no longer beat me in their downtime. I’ve got a cool circle of friends here in Atlanta and beyond that I love and wouldn’t trade for anything. Yeah, I’m living a pretty good life except for this little tidbit…

Man, I got called into the office at my gig on Friday and told that my contract was up effective immediately. I mean, what kind of news is that to get leading into your birthday weekend. Boooooo, right? They could have let me work through the end of the year, right? That’s just a bummer…but then I started to think…this isn’t a bummer at all, this is the greatest thing ever. You’ve got your birthday off and you didn’t even have to ask for it, they just sorta gave it to you. I mean, given the choice I could go out and get completely Jack Daniel’ed out of my head tonight and not have to worry about crawling out of the elevator into the office lobby tomorrow morning, right? Right. Plus, I’m pretty sure that I’ll land on my feet with this job thing and not be out long so I’m not stressed.

So as I sat at the edge of the bed and said my prayer of gratitude this morning for another year I immediately started thinking of the possibilities of what I can do today and came up with this list of the top 5 things you can do on your birthday when you find yourself temporarily out of a gig two days before your birthday.

**drum roll**

  1. You can spend the whole day trying to keep up with your birthday wishes on Facebook – If you’re like me and have a Facebook wall open to comments from friends then it’s tradition for that wall to get flooded with birthday wishes from friends. If I were sitting in my cubicle right now I wouldn’t be able to sit here and watch my Wall scroll all day and attempt to comment on everyone’s birthday wish, if I did that then all manner of important information would slip through the cracks…but since I’m sitting here in sweatpants and an Atlanta Falcons t shirt at my desk at home…Game On, Facebook Friends, do your worst!
  2. You’re 19 all over again – Remember when you were a sophomore in college and you’d come home for Christmas break and have three weeks to do pretty much nothing leading up to Christmas? Same thing, and you know what that means…sitting cross legged in the middle of the bed with a bowl of Frosted Flakes watching The Price is Right. Come on down, b*tches!
  3. If you’re like me and share your birthday with a family member you can take that family member out to lunch and then sweat it out when they start ordering all the fancy stuff that you can no longer really afford because your contract wasn’t renewed two days before your birthday. What do you mean you want the $35 Ribeye? Oh well, I hope they have the dishwashing liquid for sensitive skin.
  4. Six Words…Tug of War with the dogs –  Or wait, is the proper appearance of that game Tug-O-War? And if it’s hyphenated would that make it one word, in which case the heading would be “Four Words”? I don’t know…now I’m lost; but if there’s a dog in your house it’s easy to kill a few minutes by playing Tug of War (tug-o-war) with it.
  5. Find Your Silver Lining – Sure you’re not working, but you will soon so live happy. Hang out with a friend, go for a walk, exercise, embrace your passion. Dammit, it’s your birthday, live it up. Biblically speaking, we’re only promised 70 years so you’d better enjoy it while you’re on this side of the ground!

And with that, ladies and gentlemen, I’m outta here. I think I’m gonna take my Dad out for lunch for our birthdays and pray that he’s not too hungry; money’s tight, you know! If you see two handsome cats riding along in the streets of Atlanta, that’s just me and my Pop cruising the town. Pray I make it out alive!

~thanks for reading 🙂

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Categories: Family, Humor, Relationships | Tags: , , , , | 1 Comment

Adventures in Decatur – Gas Station Blues

Hey all.

Perhaps it’s because they know they have a captive audience, maybe it’s because with gas being $3.40 a gallon they know you’re going to be standing there for a while if you plan to fill up whatever sized tank you have in your car; but panhandlers work a gas station pump area better than the  staffers that are actually paid to work there. I believe we have all been approached by the gas station panhandler at one point or another; all with their own hooks, lines and sob stories. I had one not long ago and this guy had no sob story at all…what he had was a problem with successfully constructing a pitch.

It’s right at 1:00am and rather than wait to go to the gas station in the morning I decided to pull in and go to the QuikTrip on the way home. It’s deserted for the most part being that it’s late and its a school night so I have my pick of the pumps.  I choose the one right in the middle of the station and hop out of the car and attempt to ready myself for the lube-free onslaught that the gas pump is going to put on my minimal finances.

I’m sweaty, tired, and my legs hurt from about 3 hours of salsa dancing; all I wanted was to pump my gas, go home, get in the shower and crawl into bed. I triggered the gas nozzle and watched the numbers start spinning and that’s when I heard it; those words that most of us have had the pleasure of hearing once or twice at the gas station…

“Ummm…excuse me, brotha…”

I tried to ignore it but it came again just from the other side of the pump, “Hey brotha, excuse me…”

Skrap’s Note: Why do they always want to go to the “brotha” card…it’s like they are trying to reel you in with the “we are family” routine before they hit you up with the pitch.

I looked to my left and shuffling over to me was a lean brotha, might have been about my age, perhaps a year or two older, wasn’t broken down looking or anything, just a regular dude. So I answer him and wait for his story…wanna hear it? Here it go…

“Excuse me, brotha, I don’t mean no harm or nothing, I don’t want no money, I ain’t out here begging. All I need is some gas…”

You can go ahead and insert the record scratch sound and confused tilted head dog picture here. Now, he doesn’t mean any harm, that much is true as he didn’t mean any at all; its the rest of his pitch I can’t get with at all. Dude doesn’t want money, but he wants gas which costs…money. I tried to replay it in my head but it didn’t make sense the second or third time I heard it internally so I said it aloud.

“So you don’t want any money, but you want some gas…”, I say to dude.

“Yeah, my car right there. I ain’t beggin’ or nothing like that, I just need to get home and I need some gas.”

So many options. Should I…

  1. Tell dude that if I don’t come up on a gig of my own in the next week or so I’ll be right here next to him at the QuikTrip competing for panhandling ground like Avon Barksdale and Marlo Stanfield competing for corners in West Baltimore. Or…
  2. Sit down on the hood of my car and try to explain in my calm wanna be English professor voice how flawed his pitch was and how you can’t claim not to not need money when in fact you want will cost the person he is asking money. Or…
  3. Just clam up, give him the dollar in quarters you have in the cup holder that you planned on spending on a Coke, and go home and blog about it.

If you chose 3 then you are the winner. Dude looked like he wanted to give me the screw face because what he wanted to do was push his car to my pump and get some gas off of my pump which is why he said he didn’t want money, he just wanted gas. But guess what, boys and girls, that would have cost me…MONEY! I told dude to take the dollar and keep it moving and he did right over to the older white dude who had just pulled up 3 pumps over where he was dismissed as quickly as he came. When I pulled out of the lot he was standing there in the middle of the station looking for another taker in the city of Decatur

There but by the grace of God go I…

~thanks for reading

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Categories: Decatur Stories, Humor, So Incredibly Random | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

Gripe Away, America!!

I just finished a 7 month stint on America’s Unemployment Line. It was a jaunt full of despair, weekends devoid of social activity, and countless ridiculous job fairs and what I discovered, other than the fact that not having money sucks on several levels is that people are extremely hypersensitive about the most harmless things. For example…

I was sitting in a room with a group of friends one Friday night while I was in the midst of unemployment hell having a decent time hanging out and, as is typical, the conversation turned to work. What I’ve found is that when you take “shop talk” and then add a few beers then multiply that by the shattered employment hopes you wished of as a child, you typically get a room full of people talking about how much they hate their jobs and their lives as a byproduct. Oh the wailing and gnashing of teeth about what could have been; how they could have been an architect or a fighter pilot instead of a grunt worker pushing piles of paper to and fro on their desks on a day to day basis (S/N: That last sentence brought to you by…alliteration!). And typically this may go on for 5, 10, maybe even 20 minutes, this discussion of their morbid day to day plantation stories until they look over across the table and see me, the poor jobless sap who just a moment before was laughing to their tales of woe but has now brought the room to an awkward silence because I have no recent story to tell. So what then? The backtracking, that’s what.

“But I’m fortunate; I’m not ungrateful like that.”

“There’s always someone out there that hates their job more, so it’s not that bad.”

“No, I don’t really hate hate my job, that’s just me talking, man. It’s cool.”

All the while they’d look at me for some look of forgiveness like they’ve done wrong by me because they said what 90% of America was thinking at the time. Yes, the economy stinks. Yes, unemployment rates are the highest they’ve been since the Depression. Yes, if you have any job at all you should thank your lucky stars you have one.

But for goodness sakes, allow yourselves to vent without regret regardless of who is in the room. With political correctness what it is we have to walk on enough eggshells; don’t add onto it by suppressing the need to talk about:

  • Your awful cubicle neighbor that talks too loud about nothing you want to hear about.
  • The punk manager that denied your leave request.
  • The fact that you hate the thought of getting up in the morning to go to the office.
  • The “do-gooder” employee that ratted out all the office Facebookers.

And especially…

  • The coworker that thinks it’s socially acceptable to reheat fish in the break room microwave.

As a man fresh off the unemployment line, I’m giving the okay for all work related gripes whenever you feel like it regardless of who is in the room. No one considers you ungrateful but you will be called out for being a liar if you say that everything is hunky-dory and that there’s nothing at all you can gripe about…in the case you ARE that happy, you’re probably the same person that rats out the Facebookers at your job.

What’s your gripe? Let it out! Save yourself the ulcer you’ll likely have later if you swallow your frustration. To spur your thought, the young lady in this video will probably bring someone in your office to mind…

~thanks for reading 🙂

Categories: So Incredibly Random | Tags: , , , , , | 2 Comments

Adventures in Unemployment: Part One

Growing up I was the different kid on the block. All of my buddies that I rode bikes with and played football and baseball in the street with, and splashed around in the creek with were all public school kids. They talked a little louder, a little rougher around the edges, used more curse words than I knew at the time, and didn’t have much of a command of the Queen’s, or any other facet of royalty’s, English. But I was fully accepted in the neighborhood kid flock because I was a good dude, had an Intellivision (which was the early 80’s version of the playstation, and I was a good athlete (though on the short side).

One day we were tramping through the woods on our way to the creek being mindful that we had to be very quiet since we had to go through someone else’s back yard to get there; Corey, who was the neighborhood clown or neighborhood bully depending on which day of the week it was, mentioned “we would all get in trouble if we got caught going through these folks’ backyard…not Carlton though, because he’s like a White boy.” To which everyone laughed heartily. Then the floodgates opened, I was too proper, I owned a Bon Jovi record, all my subjects and verbs agreed, you know, all the things that apparently made you White in the early to mid 80s, I was. Then I had a complex for a while, I tried to be more “hood”, more street, I tried to curse every now and again, but it was too late, I was the neighborhood White dude, even though there was a White dude or two in the neighborhood circle, I even out-whited them according to the pre-teen powers that were.

From where I sat back then being White wasn’t a bad thing but I loved being a Black kid, I had the pre-packaged tan, rhythm, and athleticism and as I’ve grown I’ve absolutely loved being a strong, intelligent, and loved Black man – but every now and again the thought of actually being a White dude, if only for a short period of time, has crossed my mind.

This morning for example…

Around 8:15 this morning I woke up and joined about 5,000 or so under or unemployed folks for one of Atlanta’s grand job fairs. I have blogged on the evil job fairs before and how attending them is the most collossal waste of time ever but like the proverbial train wreck I can’t look away, or in my case, I can’t not attend. So I got up, got suited up, turned on my best Queen’s English (much to the dismay of Corey from the block back in the day) and headed out.

First and foremost, the traffic was horrible. Seemingly everyone from a 150 mile radius even remotely thinking about a job was there. People walking, people in cars, people coming in on the train, people in jeans, people in suits, people with strollers, people with boxes of resumes, people people everywhere. But no White people. Beautiful Black people everywhere, in great tailored suits, hair freshly cut, shoes polished, attitudes adjusted, and outlooks positive and bright, sure there was the occasional “what the hell were you thinking” Black person there with sagging jeans and rainbow colored Nikes or a hoodie and oversized chain that no one in their right mind thought was real, but for the most part everyone was suited up and ready for employment battle.

But no White folks anywhere. Okay, there were 23 (I counted because there was nothing else to do in line before the door opened). So again, rough estimate was about 5,000 attendees, thats 217 Black people that you see before you get to one White guy or girl. Then my imagination, as it is prone to do, started to go haywire. The unemployment rate being what it is in this state, the untold other amount of people that are looking for something, anything, better than what they have, there are only 23 White people here? Then I wanted Corey to be right, I did for a while want to be White. I wanted to see the inner workings of White society, the Skull and Bones like activity behind the scenes at every corporation in America, and more importantly, where they hide the blueprints for the “Job Hookup Factory” that apparently exists because there are NEVER ANY WHITE PEOPLE AT JOB FAIRS!!! LOL

Then my imagination went even further. Perhaps the 23 White people that were in line with the 4,977 other of us of darker hue were, for some reason or another, out of the know with their White counterparts. Perhaps they didn’t get the memo that they simply weren’t supposed to be there. And the exchange went a little something like…
White Guy at Job Fair: *shakes HR reps hand* Hello, my name is Steven Randolph and I have extensive experience in…
HR Rep: *whispering* What are you doing here?
WGJF: What?
HR Rep: *whispering louder* What are you doing here. Didn’t you get your packet?
WGJF: What packet? I got this piece of paper at the door with the list of employers and…
HR Rep: *still whispering because Black people are around* No! the “White Man Packet” you were fedexed when you turned 18. Here, take this address, go there now, and knock three times, the password is “Manilow”, got it? “Manilow”. Your information will be taken upon entrance and a great job will be assigned to you.
WGJF: What? What is this? I’ve never heard of such…
HR Rep: *whisper bordering on a shout* Dammit, Man! You’re going to blow it for all of us! Can’t believe you haven’t gotten your packet. Job fairs aren’t FOR you. It’s for them! *motions with eyes* Now, go! Go now!
WGJF: *hurries out the door clutching his resumes and stuffing address in his pocket*

Perhaps this is the reason that I saw less White people milling around the fair than I did standing in line prior to the doors opening; of the 23 I counted I think I only saw about 7 on the inside. And it most certainly would explain the White guy that hurried past me in the parking lot on the way to his car; I think he called me a sucker under his breath but I can’t be entirely sure…maybe it was just my imagination.

So to all my White friends, if it won’t get your White People of the USA card revoked or make you a traitor to your race, would you mind sharing the secret. Some of us don’t like job fairs that profit us nothing and cost us countless hours of our day. I promise that all my subjects and verbs will agree and afterwards we can discuss hockey, Bon Jovi, and do Jager bombs in celebration when we’re done! Agreed? Cool , lets get after it then!!! *smile*

Categories: Humor | Tags: , , , , | 2 Comments

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