Every Monday morning, millions of Americans roll out of bed, wipe the crusties out of their eyes, pour themselves a cup of joe and enter into the dispiriting ritual of the work week. They suffer through the humiliation of gridlocked traffic, pay far too much to park the car they paid far too much to drive, and shuffle off to anonymous workspaces under the harsh glare of fluorescent track lighting. For lunch, they get a quick fix off food that makes them feel terrible, for desert they take a lashing from their ironically titled superior for missing some mundane detail in a task primarily created to test the completeness of their obedience. They get back in their cars, which only remind them of their burdensome debt, get shamed by traffic a second time, and wind up with one, maybe two quality hours of time with their families before moving onto the never ending household tasks necessary for maintaining a mortgage.
And just before these people drift off to sleep, they fantasize of a life – or even just a single day – where they can wake up when it suits them, zone out on sports for 10 hours and catch their breath from the suffocating grind of the professional world.
I’m living the dream.
Let go from my position with a struggling New Media company that promised to get me rich before my 28th birthday, I now suckle from that great, golden teat of Rocky Mountain Socialism - the Colorado Department of Labor and (Un)Employment. Created, presumably, by the Democrats to maintain the standard of living of persons laid off through no fault of their own, Unemployment Insurance pays me nearly two-thirds of what I made at my old job, which, after moving in with a friend and adjusting a few of my unnecessary spending habits (so long weekly trip to Twist and Shout), is just enough for me to live on without having to actually work.
Despite the initial and obvious appeal, this is somewhat of a double-edge sword. On the one hand, aimlessly drifting from one day to the next without meaning, purpose or structure can take a toll on a person’s mind, leaving too much time to fret between the innumerable trailheads to the future that have suddenly opened up. On the other hand, after working years of odd hours at a low-paying job that rewarded my sacrifice with a nominal severance package and largely apologetic letter of reference, I’m comfortable accepting that my once grand ambitions have been reduced to eight plus hours a day of aimless web and couch surfing, some mild exercise, and any reasonable excuse to get drunk. We all need some time off, and despite the middle-class social conditioning that bullies my conscience about living off of government handouts, I’m slowly learning to embrace this as probably the last time in my life when I’ll be able to live as lackadaisically as I choose.
So for all of you out there who have families to support and can’t call out your boss for being the nepotistic asswipe he really is, know that someone out there is thinking of you when they stumble out of bed at noon. To the hard-working graduate student who spends Saturday night reading textbooks instead of the body language the girls at the bar, I’m taking this tequila shot for you. And for those who need a day – just one day – to take her easy and relax, I’ve got you covered.
I don’t work so you don’t have to. - Blake Mooney
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