An Open Letter to Unemployment

This is what unemployment looks like.

I initially wrote this and sent it to the McSweeney's folks to be considered for their Open Letters section. I did so a while ago when I first thought I was losing my unemployment, but then they gave me another extension (yay!). Now that I'm slowly making a better and better living as a freelance writer, I believe my time with unemployment will very soon be over. And since this letter is too long—and probably not GOOD ENOUGH—to be posted on McSweeney's website, the Almy gets my leftovers.

Long live freeloading!

————

Dear Unemployment,

You probably wouldn't know it to look at how close we are now, but I was quite frightened of you at first. I had just been wrongfully ejected from one of the highest-paying day jobs I'd ever landed, and despite the praise and recommendations of my fellow 20-somethings, I wasn't convinced you'd be able to adequately replace the fast-paced and exciting world of retail inventory management. You were a foreign and confusing entity of which I knew little about. Even those close to you could not properly explain your mysterious intricacies. Now, at the close of our time together, I feel it necessary to apologize for my gross underestimation of your ability to make my life perfect.

I blame the fact that I was terminated a mere three days before Christmas for our getting off on the wrong foot. It was a hard time for both of us. I was getting ready for an excruciating trip to celebrate the holidays with my parents, a journey in which I'd no doubt have to explain the issue of being recently unemployed numerous times to many equally disappointed individuals, and you were most likely getting ready for the large amount of work you had ahead of you in the New Year. Let's face it; the economy wasn't doing us any favors.

But it was sometime after receiving my first check in the mail that all of that turned. You see, Unemployment, I was so scared that I wouldn't be hearing from you ever again after I had missed my phone interview with one of your co-workers up in Sacramento. The brochures you'd sent me said the interview was of utmost importance, and could make or break my chances of recieving your help. However, once your letter arrived at my apartment in spite of my negligence and ever-present forgetfulness, I knew we were going to have a great time together.

I'll keep my gushing short, Unemployment, since I know you have many people to attend to, but I have much to thank you for. Foremost, I wouldn't have been privy to the endless amount of free time which helped uncover my love for writing, nor my ability to earn money doing so, were it not for you.

It was because of you that I was able to live my ideal life of staying home all day in sweatpants and slippers—leaving only for sustenance and to send you those letters reminding you that, yes, I was still in need of your aid—for over a year and a half. You also helped me catch up on a lot of great television series (that month we spent with the first five seasons of LOST was particularly enriching), and learn of the true healing powers of marijuana. But, as flowers blossom amidst compost and manure, the opportunity to retreat into the inner recesses of my mind—brought on by a lack of any work readily available on Craigslist or within a four-block radius of my apartment—revealed to me the power of the written word and my desire to harness it.

Unemployment, you were like a supportive college professor or, better yet, some sort of anonymous, Dickensian benefactor who saw potential in me though we had never met. And now, your impending withdraw from my life weighs on me. I feel like a baby bird destined to plummet to the earth upon being nudged from the nest of your consistent checks and multiple benefit extensions. Yet despite all of my fears of inadequacy and failure, I'm happy to leave your embrace. I will always miss you, Unemployment (pasta dinners, embarrassing moments with new acquaintances, confusing paperwork, and all), and you should know that I could not have found my life's true path without you.

Thankfully Employed,
Patric Fallon

Comments (20)

Oh man, the internet hate police will be all over this one.

If you’re implying that my benefit collection is/was fraudulent in any way, shape, or form, you’re completely mistaken. Not that the finer points of my financial life is anyone’s business but my own, but the government knows of all taxable earnings I’ve ever made.

or

If you’re trying to warn me, albeit in a strange way, that I could become a victim of said fraud, well, I appreciate the concern.

Looks like we have a new Uptown troll. Monkey, you are currently ranked second behind BROCHAT. Keep up the good work.

Interesting fact; BROCHAT is the only commenter to have ever simultaneously held the titles of Lead Troll and Uptown Mascot. The more you know…

I look forward to seeing how this paid time off for you to cultivate your interests better equips you to contribute to society.

The same people who run McSweeney’s own literacy centers that aim to educate youth and help them succeed. You really thought they would publish a piece broadcasting such shameless larbagery?

Lightning burn!

Well, Corinna, since we know one another, and are somewhat amicable, I’ll choose to take this less seriously than it sounds. However, you and a few other folks in this comment section are leading me to believe that UA and its readers have far less of a sense of humor than I initially had thought, which is unfortunate.

Lastly, bear in mind this is a piece of creative writing, and a short one at that. This is by no means a full account of the past year-and-a-half of my life, and should not be taken as such. Though, if you are actually interested in the things I’ve been doing in that time (i.e. contributing to society), I’d be happy to share with you. Provide a means of contact, and we shall set a time and place to discuss.

Thanks!

Naw, our readers have a sense of humor. It’s more of an internet commenters thing.

I’m certainly not putting my life and productivity out on the internet for people to comment on so, in that sense, kudos. You did something ballsy.

I work hard so it’s a burn for me to see people take advantage of tax contributions. As you said, we know each other and you know I have a hard time keeping my mouth shut so good job not being offended.

In an effort to stop this string of comments from reaching levels of tedious banality, I’ll just say this:

I think you’ve missed the point.

Hi Ms. Psomadakis,

Thank you for letting us know you work hard.

Best,
 Phil

I am confused why you drank Corona Light then the Tecate!

Patric: As someone who got laid off the same time and is STILL unemployed, thanks for sharing this, bud! It’s good to take humor in these situations, because applying to tons of jobs and NOT getting a job, REALLY SUCKS and can get depressing after a while :-/

As someone whose day you just made, I apologize for this blog calling you an “Anonymous Tool.” Might I assure you, anonymous or not, you are no tool. You are a brilliant person, and I urge you to continue to fight the good fight. That job is out there for you! Don’t give up hope!

Hahaha! Yeah, I’d put my real name up, but too many of my friends read this!

Thanks for the encouragement, bud! Like tupac said: Gotta keep my head up. The worst part is def the awkwardness around new acquaintances, esp dates. UGH! Soon :)

Hi Patric,

Thank you for sharing your very exciting letter to unemployment that you didn’t think was good enough for McSweeney’s.

Best,
 Phil

Is Phil giving BROCHAT and monkey a run for the “troll of the year contest?” I love three-way races!

Hi Patrick,

Yeah, that piece wasn’t good enough for Mcpeeney’s, but thank you for the contribution.

ps. I’m thrilled you’re back to work as you look far too skinny!

Sure thing, Mr. Keggers. Though, I’m sad to report, job or not, I’m a person of small size.

Someday, the successors to the Sex Pistols (options for naming below) will turn this and many other such strings into hair-thinningly good music.

Herewith the potential b(r)and names:

“The Staycations”

“Tecate Tool”

“Laptop rooftop”

“Skinny Jeans, featuring the hairless nipples”

“The hair’s up there”

“The mysterious air vents”

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