24 May 2010
I have always enjoyed a party.
Except for my first party of course, which came eight days into life.
(If you don’t know what I am referring to, check Seinfeld’s episode five, season five. Ouch.)
Back to the party.
I like birthday parties, engagement parties, fraternity parties.
I even like the resolve of the Libertarian Party.
Today I was invited to a high school graduation party.
Well, actually I was not invited to the party, but our band was.
In case you are new to my world, as a 43-year old unemployed guy, I was asked to sing in a band with three 40+ year old employed guys.
After my very successful singing career in college, I had no choice but to accept.
Two weeks ago, we launched this new career at a block party.
Fortunately at our golden age, we were able to remember most of the five songs we played two weeks ago, so today we played the same five songs.
When the 20+ minute show was over, it was time to mingle backstage with the groupies.
Well actually, there was no backstage.
And there were no groupies.
But we had plenty of time to talk to the people who I recognized the face, but didn’t know the person.
I didn’t notice a teleprompter behind me, but you would’ve thought that every person was reading off a script.
Line 1 -- you guys sounded great.
Line 2 -- I love that song by The Clash/Ramones/Weezer...
Line 3 -- so, what do you do for a living?
I guess my singing didn’t convince anyone that rock star is my full-time job, but even worse than that, Line #3 kept reopening that nasty wound.
I thought this was a party.
One thing I have never been good at is lying and at this point in my life, I’m not about to start now.
I think I can hold a poker face that Lady Gaga would be proud of, but even in a little chit-chat, if you ask me a question, you’re gonna get an answer.
Within seconds, maybe milli-seconds, I was telling a stranger about the last 18 months of my life.
I had a fantastic fake smile on my face saying that being a stay-at-home dad is the best job in the world.
Which it is, but...
And I would say that every, make that EVERY time I say that I am unemployed, I get a response that my _____ just lost their job too.
Honestly, I don’t really give a damn about your _____ and the last thing I want to do is to be talking about this.
Can’t we talk about how I sounded exactly like Brian Setzer on the Stray Cat Strut.
Do I really need to re-live my demise?
There was a time, fortunately a short time, when my father was unemployed.
The year was 1979 and through no fault of his own -- dejavu -- he lost his job.
At the time I was 12 and I barely knew how to spell unemployed, no less what it really meant.
All I could tell is that my dad was embarrassed.
He was embarrassed to file for unemployment. He was embarrassed to talk about it. He was embarrassed.
The funny thing is that is exactly how I don’t feel.
I am not embarrassed to be unemployed. Not proud of it, by any stretch, but not embarrassed.
Maybe it’s the world we are living in these days.
While working out last week, I saw that the optimistic Fox News Channel is predicting that we will have 20 million unemployed soon in this country.
Why would I be embarrassed, I am part of the in-crowd.
But even with plenty of company in my new demographic, it still doesn’t feel very good.
Especially when you get that miserable question -- so what do you do? -- over and over and over and over again.
Um, grocery shopping.
Little projects here and there.
All true, by the way.
I was at my son’s baseball game two nights ago, when one of the grandparents, who usually makes a couple of games a year, stopped by to say hello.
He introduced me to his new girlfriend and then asked me, “what is your title over there again?”
I did my best to summarize my life in three seconds, probably closer to thirty, and then threw in the, “it’s nice to see you again.”
I’m not sure he was buying it.
In fact, I think he probably wished he never would have said hello.
It really wasn’t that big deal and fortunately I was able to deliver the eulogy of my career with a couple of one-liners.
But I think we both wish he would’ve asked about the distance from first base to second base instead of “my title over there again.”
Maybe my bris wasn't so bad after all.