Suburban Unemployment Blues

edited by ANDREW HICKS

Emily Toops seeks gainful employment as bench swing guarder. So far, all her bench swing guarding work has been done on a pro bono basis.

As a 19 year old who’s never held down a job, doesn’t have a driver’s license and isn’t planning on returning to college next year, I often hear phrases like, “You need to sort out your priorities,” “Get your life together, dammit,” and, “What did I do to deserve such a sorry excuse for a daughter?”

When I was a kid, I always assumed that at 19, I’d have accomplished all my dreams. I’d be a well-received actress living in a swanky apartment in Chicago’s super-elite Gold Coast neighborhood with my boyfriend Orlando Bloom, summer property in Barbados and Steve Martin on speed dial. I now realize in order to make this childhood dream come true, I do, in fact, need to get my life together and find me a job. Which isn’t as easy as it sounds.

A lot of the ol’ “go-to” ideas that instantly come to mind when considering first-time employment have already been exhausted. Babysitting isn’t going to happen. I hate children with an intensity that puts me somewhere between the psychos of lore who hand out arsenic-laced candy on Halloween and crotchety old people who like to scream at local young’uns to “get the hell off my lawn.” The kids who live in my neighborhood are tiny minions of Satan, and I’d sooner exorcise them than watch them for an hour. All the little bastards around here have nannies, anyway.

Mowing lawns isn’t a viable option because everybody ‘round these parts has their lawn and garden cared for by illegal immigrants. What prevents me from wanting to muscle in on their business? White liberal guilt. Thanks a lot, college sociology courses.

Dog walking is another non-option. I think walking another person’s dog is like cheating on your own pets. How would I explain myself to my dogs when they caught me? Dogs smell everything; you know they’d find out almost immediately. And the fact that I’d get PAID to do it is basically the dog-care equivalent of prostitution.

I’ve applied to over a dozen places around town and have yet to hear back from any of ‘em. I do have a few backup plans, though. I’m thinking about pursuing a job as a professional beatnick, charging coffee houses for my service of hanging around in black turtlenecks and quoting Allen Ginsberg’s “Howl” to customers to improve the establishment’s ambiance.

Unlike his Biblical counterpart, Lady Gaga's Judas betrayed Jesus for a handlebar motorcycle, a cubic zirconium crown of thorns and a good chest waxing.

I could also be a song writer for Lady Gaga. One of the songs I‘ve already written for her, “Let Jesus Fuck Me,” has potential to be her greatest hit yet, once she records a radio-safe version called “Let Jesus Forget Me.” It could be a kind of sequel to Gaga’s recent chart-topper “Judas.” They could even pay me to write a one-sentence treatment for its music video — “a sexy, glitter-filled version of that crucifix masturbation scene from The Exorcist, and be sure to rip off Madonna.”

I’ve thought of selling my services as a mildly depressed cynic to fetishists who’d be willing to pay for my company. Basically, I’d just charge guys $150 an hour to choke their metaphorical chicken while I sat in a chair, a safe distance away from them, chain-smoking and bitching about how much I hate the Hallmark corporation and its bullshit holidays like Sweetest Day that promote feelings of inferiority and loneliness in single people.

That said, I’d probably also make a decent greeting card writer. I wonder how much those fuckers make.

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