by Terry Hargrove
It is three weeks later.
I have read articles that explained how many people who lost their jobs experienced a period of great excitement. The world is open and awash in possibilities. They can go anywhere and do anything! What a great opportunity, the chance to start over. Back to school, change careers, become the cowboy you always wanted to be!
The people who wrote those articles were lying. Except maybe for the cowboy part.
The first thing you will need is an appropriate period of mourning. I have moped and sulked for three weeks now, and I’m getting pretty good at it. A good sulk will spread like molasses and work its way through your family and into the neighborhood. My wife hasn’t spoken to me in four hours. That was my fault. My son went to school crying this morning. I did that, too. My wife and I have talked about relocating to a number of places, from Mississippi to Australia. My son was listening, and somehow our adventurous plans morphed into a grand quest to meet Bindi the Jungle Girl. My son is only 7, but his first serious crush is doomed. Bindi likes snakes.
“Buddy, I don’t think we’re going to Australia,” I said, trying to comfort him. “And if we ever do, Australia is a big place. It’s unlikely we’d get within 1000 miles of Bindi.”
“You’re just saying that because you hate snakes,” he blubbered.
“No, it’s your mom who hates snakes,” I countered. “Besides, I read somewhere that most of the poisonous snakes in Australia are gone. They’ve been eaten by the poisonous spiders.”
I stole that line from Terry Pratchett.
As Joey stumbled toward his school, sniffing and inconsolable, two neighborhood friends fell in step with him.
“Hey, Mr. Hargrove. How are you?”
“Unemployed in eight weeks! How are you?”
“I’m ok,” he said. “Man, Joey, your dad is grumpy.”
There are two days left in Spring Break. Then I go back to the school that officially has no place for me. I have eight weeks and two days until I am unemployed. Tuesday, June 22, 2010. I leave school, maybe for the last time. I was thinking about this, and the enormity of its awful implications, when the car behind me honked.
“Hey, buddy. You OK?”
“No,” I mumbled. “I don’t have a rope and I can’t ride a horse.”
He gave me the look that I get from people secure in their careers. Working people. I used to be one of them. I made a note to myself to stop sulking and start doing something, In June. I’ll stop sulking in June.