Unemployment Benefits, Part III

This excerpt is the third in a six-part series, reprinted with permission from an article I published in the Society for Technical Communication Lone Star Community newsletter, Technically Write, April 2002.

Taking Action (continued)

With many friends, former coworkers out of work (some for the second time since August 2000 like me), I decided to host a party to boost morale by making light of our situation. The theme provided ample material for my dry sense of humor, and on August 23rd I sent the following invitation to former team members who had kept in touch:

Subject: Team “Benefit” to Feed the Hungry

Most dear friends:

There are those among us who are more or less fortunate than others of us, and I feel it is only fitting that the more fortunate share their bounty with the less fortunate. Isn’t that what friends do?

That is, it has come to my attention that WE NEED TO HAVE A PARTY, and I think it would be appropriate to celebrate my recent achievement of becoming unemployed again! I feel really bad for you poor souls who continue to slave away for corporate America while others of us live a life of leisure. No alarm clocks to wake us, no meetings to attend, no billable hours to fictionalize, no schedules to keep, no hours to fritter away on Metroplex highways.

To assuage my guilty conscience, I am willing to open my home on September 22, providing an opportunity for us to gather to console those less fortunate among our ranks. So as not to humiliate the poor worker bees, I am also prepared to act as a collection point for this worthy cause and allow them to make donations of groceries to feed the hungry (namely ME). In other words, those of you who are gainfully employed may contribute a potluck dish with plenty extra for those of us who are too busy transcending reality to cook or shop for ourselves. Staples will be accepted at this Benefit, but we prefer that you cook them first. (Those who are not gainfully employed nor otherwise engaged in legal pursuits are expected to attend, but will not be allowed to contribute to this cause, because it would only add insult to the injury of our enslaved friends.)

Can you tell I was having fun milking it? I would make lemonade as a reminder of the symbolic lemons life often bestows and serve it from a stew pot. I would have only candlelight and claim I couldn’t afford to pay the electric bill. The dinnerware would be mismatched, leftover paper plates from other parties, fast food napkins and plasticware, and plastic souvenir cups and glass jars.

For further entertainment, I’d ask everyone to write (on scratch paper with pencil stubs) their best tips for getting by, making do during lean times. (Mine was: Take showers at the health club to save on water and electric bills.) I also concocted a game I called Scottish Hygiene Kit, which contained items that could be used as substitutes when you run out of certain personal products. Guests were to guess what they are substitutes for—such things as a telephone book (for lack of a Sears catalog), thread, and baking soda.

This is going to be good …

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    • Deborah Wacker
    • March 13th, 2011

    Sounds awesome — a great way to network and uplift friends… very creative!

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