ďpepper jack Ē Waters
April 1 , 2007
My girlfriend and I went to the reservation to get cigarettes on Sunday (like we do every two weeks after payday) and it was a mob scene. We usually go early in the morning before ten or eleven so we can beat the rush, and there were three cashiers and the line was twenty people deep. I was in a sociable mood, so I asked the cashier, ĎAre people loading up before the Bills game?í She looked at me with a deep seated disgust and said, ĎNope. First of the month.í Itís interesting how the bulk of our unemployed canít get off their asses to find a job, yet they can drive for an hour and a half on a Sunday morning to pick up smokes. This is what our taxes support, with or without our consent.
I know the job market sucks just a little bit in Buffalo, but címon. There are too many two-parent families sitting on the couch, smoking pot, screwing off, or working the system. I went on unemployment once when I was 24 and although I objected to it ethically, I was in a tough spot. It wasnít the first time Iíd been without a job and I had some large bills after getting laid off from a temp job by an evil, soulless cell phone company that rhymes with horizon. As a man, I had a problem with letting someone else pick up my tab even though Iíve been paying into the system since I got my working papers and went to work at a restaurant at the tender age of fourteen. I donít understand how fathers can coast for years on unemployment not for, but thanks to the children they brought into the world.
And make no mistake, I am not racially profiling here. Iíve seen unemployed people on every end of the rainbow. We went grocery shopping out in Cheektowaga on the first of the month once and it was like a field day. The store looked like a studio audience from the price is right, and if I had a nickel for every tattered flannel shirt and unwashed head of hair, my groceries would have been free that day. I can understand if you get laid off and two-thirds of your union check go a longer way than any help wanted job you can pick up on the fly, but after awhile, itís time to get on your feet and back into the work force. My main beef is with families who spawn children for the higher tax return and the endless meal ticket. Generations that teach further generations to milk hard working people out of tax dollars that they bleed, sweat and bust their hump over. I know itís tough to turn the tv off, put on your shoes and look for work, but make an effort. Donít fill out applications and take references just so you can turn those names in to the department of labor for another dozen paydays. Get off your lazy ass and get a job!
In an effort to do my part for the issue, Iím offering some free advice. I work a full time job, write full time (which pays sometimes), and spend months actively promoting my books when theyíre out. A lot of my money has gone into blocks of government cheese. Here, absolutely free of charge, are some handy tools for finding and maintaining active employment in the work force. The only prerequisite is that youíre capable of reading above a fourth grade level. If youíre not, your stupid ass probably hasnít gotten this far without a brain embolism anyway. Here goes:
1. You Must Leave Your House To Get A Job: While smoking bales of pot, drinking gallons of Red Dog or beating up on your spouse may have itís charms, you need to exit the door of your home to seek employment. This step is crucial, so you donít want to miss it. Jobs are often past your driveway and occasionally require you to drive, take the bus or walk a mile or two. I know itís tough, but give it a shot.
2. Tuck In Your Shirt And Show Up On Time For A Job Interview: It may be acceptable to hang out with your friends in a food-stained t-shirt and jeans from the Clinton administration, but maybe you should find the pair of clothes you wore the last time you were standing up in a courthouse, dust them off, iron them if possible, and put your best foot forward. And it doesnít hurt to show up within three hours of the designated time that the interview is scheduled. Have you seen that tonged instrument in your bathroom? Thatís a comb. If you wave it like a wand through your hair, it will give your prospective employer the impression that youíre groomed. And donít bring your girlfriend or significant other in with you to hang out while the interview process is taking place. Itís tacky.
3. Try Not To Have A Criminal Record: Sure, that guy looked at you funny in the bar and that dude shouldnít be throwing it into your ex, but this is known as civilization, so repress the rage and go through life with a modicum of civility. Believe it or not, but prior arrests and restraining orders will make a bit of a ding when someone runs a background check on your Burger King application. They donít like when you apply for tractor trailer school after jackknifing your Saab off of an expressway after five lines of coke and a fifth of Crown Royal. Shooting or stabbing someone is sometimes frowned upon when a possible boss is considering you as a co-worker. For some reason, people donít like to be stabbed, and they especially donít like being stabbed repeatedly. Go figure. Show some restraint and it will show up in your paycheck some day.
4. Itís Easier To Get A Job When Youíre Not Repopulating The County: If you keep your pants on for more than 24 hours, you can report to a place of business. If you can master this step, you can get monies to purchase things like condoms, diaphragms and forms of con-tra-cep-tion, or donít-get-knocked-up stuff. I know your wife or girlfriend looks hot when youíre drunk and sheís battered her face with rouge, but give it a rest. Babies cost money, and it would be nice if it wasnít my money.
5. If You Get a Job, You Can Live Comfortably For The Entire Month Instead Of The First Seven Days Or When You Piss Up My Money, Whichever Comes First: People who have jobs maintain whatís known as a budget. Thatís where they have money, but donít fritter it away on drive through food, various smokeables, or fancy sneakers. They take some of their money to spend and save the rest in buildings that take care of it and give them more money. These buildings are also known as banks. You can trust them. Sometimes you can get a job with them.
6. Diplomas Are Applauded: If youíre confused with this rule, I apologize. Be it a G.E.D., a community college certificate purchased with box tops, or a business degree from an accredited university, time spent studying something other than videogames, doggy style, or slasher flicks translates into the job market. One of the nice side bonuses of having a diploma is that you can read the Help Wanted section in your local newspaper. Itís not in the Sports section, but every week they advertise jobs that are available for people. Look into it.
7. Crack Cocaine Is Frowned Upon: Although smoking crack is a good way to lose thirty pounds in a month, your teeth, your sanity, virginity in your mouth and buttocks, and your furniture at the nearest pawn shop. Itís whatís known as a conflict of interest if you spend all your time fishing through your carpet looking for crack nuggets instead of a job.
8. You May Have To Get Up Before 12 PM And The Weekend Is, In Actuality, Only Two And A Half Days: Some people who work for a living get up at six, seven, and eight in the morning not because they choose to, but because itís a part of their job. A good number of interview sessions and job fairs take place at nine and ten a.m. A.M. means in the morning, or after midnight. Something like that. Youíd be surprised at how much you can accomplish with your day if you get up before the first block of Jerry Springer. Morning people also drink a beverage quite different from alcoholic and malt beverages referred to as Ďcoffeeí. It wakes you up when you arenít naturally used to being up and lends to the physical attributes of being productive. This comes in handy when you have a job. And hereís a multiple choice question for you: The weekend is a) Thursday to Wednesday, b)the beginning of the Sabres game to the end of the NBA playoffs, c) free time youíre allowed after a full work week that may or may not be Monday through Friday, d) Friday night, Saturday and Sunday or e) Time I spent in the holding center until her black eye stopped throbbing and I got bailed out. Pens, pencils and crayons down after five minutes.
Thatís all Iíve got for today. Donít even get me started on the fifteenth of the month, better known as the first of the month, part two. There are a lot of genuinely around-the-bend batshit people drooling, shuffling, raving and placing tinfoil in their homes throughout the Buffalo area, but Iíd be willing to be that fifty percent of them are faking it just enough to get a free payday and good psychotropic drugs. Go out and get a frigging job. You just might find some self respect for yourself as a man if you do. Itís certainly not lost in the couch fibers, so after two years, you can get off the couch and call off the search. If I sound jaded, itís because Iím sick of supporting a bankrupt social system that rewards laziness and senseless reproduction. Long term welfare is for losers. Pass it on.