My Name is Reilly and Iím Unemployed

        My name is Reilly and Iím unemployed. Most people will upon meeting you ask first what you do.  Because of this, my life these days is kind of like an endless AA meeting.        

        My name is Reilly and Iím unemployed. Sadly, who you are seems to be tied directly to what you do. If this is true then I am nothing. What you do for a living defines your identity so I have no identity.  This isnít true of course. I do many things. I write, I surf the net, I travel when I can afford it (and sometimes when I canít). Unfortunately, when I try to explain that to people they look disbelieving and pitying. Itís almost like Iím making an excuse for why they saw my boyfriend kissing another woman.  I canít seem to make them understand that my employment status is not really all that I am.

          My name is Reilly and Iím unemployed.  In addition to the look, I also get other predictable responses. There are the people who react to me like a group of middle-aged rich women who just found out that one of their own has been left for someone younger. Their fear makes them blame it on me. They just want to help of course, or so they say. They are sure they know why Iím unemployed, and figure that if they give me a rundown on why I am unemployable, I will change and the perfect job will drop right into my lap. At least no one has told me itís because I let myself go.  Then there are the people who pat me on the head literally or figuratively. They say something that seems positive but isnít like ďI think itís great that you managed to keep such a positive attitude in your situation.Ē

          My name is Reilly and Iím unemployed. In all reality, being unemployed isnít that bad. Well except for Jerry Springer episodes and low self-esteem. I can tell you it doesnít help that my baby sister is getting married this fall. Iím happy for her I really am. Itís just that Iím meeting all her friends and soon-to-be relatives and all the conversations follow a similar pattern. I just smile bravely and wait for the inevitable, ďAnd what do you do?Ē

My name is Reilly and Iím unemployed. I went to my older sisterís house for dinner the other day and I met one of her friends. The normal small talk commenced. Since sheís a good friend of my sisterís she knows about my other sisters. So she says to me ďSo youíre the one who teaches?Ē and I said no. And she says ďOh so youíre the one whoís getting married.Ē I shook my head. She looked so perplexed I finally said ďUmÖ Iím the single unemployed one.Ē She turned red and I couldnít decide whether to laugh or cry. 

      My name is Reilly and Iím unemployed but donít worry about me. Iím sure everything will be just fine. But then so was the captain of the Titanic.

 

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Reilly Sheridan
Copyright © 2003  Last Straw Productions. All rights reserved.
Revised: July 13, 2003.