Jan 24, 2010

I'm Pretty Sure I'm Better Than You . . . Now that Joe has a Job

I know I haven’t written in a long time. I had nothing to say, but NOW I’ve got news to write about. My husband got a job. It was back in September, but I didn’t know how to tell you. Do you recall that Joe was laid off this year? It was awful, but that's all over now.

Joe’s new job is the kind of position everyone dreams of. He works at an extremely selective high-tech firm. They hire the most technically qualified software developers to work on cutting-edge technology. It’s an exciting atmosphere, a veritable think-tank of elite innovators. Joe cleans up any messes these men create while they are brainstorming in the conference room. He also cleans the floors around their desks and sometimes dusts and vacuums when the employees complain. He’s so happy, and we are too!

Having an income again lifts a giant boulder off our shoulders. When we heard the news, we celebrated much like Eagles and Buckeye football fans do after a win – we overturned cars and set things on fire. But that celebration was short-lived because we only had one matchbook.

Having a job changes everything. To be able to eat fancy foods again, buy things we don’t need, get bank loans we can’t pay back, and spend excessively is just such a relief. It’s more than a job. It’s the American dream.

In fact, I remember the moment Joe got the phone call. I had just gone out to the woods behind our house to rustle up a raccoon to cook for dinner when the kids excitedly called to me, "Mom, come in! Big news!” My husband didn’t even have to tell me what the news was. The first thing that ran through my mind is that I wouldn’t have to look for a dead raccoon to eat that night. I said, “Family, we aren’t poor anymore! Get in the car. We’re heading out to Wal-mart to buy a gun.” The children cheered. They knew that meant we’d no longer have to wait for the woodland creatures in our back yard to die of natural causes. We’d be shooting our supper that night, just like everyone else in Idaho. The kids went wild and my husband was too choked up to talk.

Getting a job doesn’t only affect our family. It changes the lives of those around us. When we had no income, I had to find creative ways to feed a family of five. I had to steal lunches from the refrigerator at work. That was horrible, especially because I framed Norm Madison when people began to suspect me. It crushed me to see him fired in shame, especially so soon after he recovered from that lung transplant after his wife left him. I’ll bet when Joe’s previous employer laid him off, they never realized how many people that layoff would effect – Norm Madison didn’t deserve to lose his job, but this is what happens in a bad economy. I’m disgusted just thinking of it. But now that Joe has a job again, I no longer need to think about people like Norm.

Nor do I have to hang out with false friends who have lots of money but no real substance. They care about superficial things, and hanging out with them just to get free dinners and gifts turned my stomach. Now that I have the money to go to dinner by myself and buy my own stuff, I don’t have to listen to their blathering. Thank goodness I’m out of THAT scene.

The sad part is that the layoff affected the children. My poor sons didn’t have a single friend over to celebrate their summer birthdays, but once again we can afford to hire child actors to pretend to be their friends. Part of the reward of parenting is seeing your children so happy. I’m giddy thinking of all we can do again.

Good things come out of bad, though, and one good thing was a life lesson we learned. This is serious. Many people equate their jobs with their self worth. Sadly, what job you have represents your status in this society. But always remember that how you treat people of a “lesser” status allows the world to see what's deep within your heart. Our family is above that pettiness. We always remember who are friends are, and even though we no longer associate with the little people, especially those who are poor, we still have very fond memories of them. Our plan is to replace those old memories with better memories of our newer, more affluent friends. In fact, it's our New Year's resolution. Have a great January and Happy New Year!

P.S. I have to get a hysterectomy soon, and in the spirit of giving back, I've decided to donate my uterus to the poor. Now that's what I call generous!<>