Decisions and finality, not suspense

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , , , on April 3, 2009 by hadoomystery

This morning I awoke to news that people in my job classification are in jeopardy of losing their jobs. As you can imagine, it has been a rough day.

I have no solid hunches, no inside information to make me feel better or worse. I am left to my own impatience and hope — just a little bit of hope. Our HR rep, in a private meeting, said she believes I likely will be fine. She lies for a living. Not all HR reps do. She does. I don’t trust her, although for the sake of my sanity I might force myself to trust her just this once.

We’re not supposed to find out more until sometime after Easter, which is 10 days away. Until then, we’re all in limbo.

I work for the hospital doing essential work. Fund-raising. It’s the kind of position everyone thinks they can do without until we’re gone, at which point they’ll create a “new” position to fill my absence. I just hope, if I’m canned, that I’m the one they re-hire.


What a terrifying time. Not only might I be out a job, how will I find a new one if I am? I used to think losing my job would be the worst thing in the world. Now, it’s still pretty damn close, but I can think of worse things. That said – Jesus – please let me stay employed.

Where would I go? I’d be okay working at a grocery store. I did that in high school and college and, if you work your way up, the money is doable. Then again, my starting wage would be so low that we’d be hemorrhaging money with our two kids in daycare. So you can see where this is going: I’d be a stay-at-home dad until our kids are in public school, at which point I’d find something part time.

In the meantime, to keep myself busy, I could push for freelance writing gigs. Or find somewhere to work overnights while the kids and my wife are asleep. I could write the Great American Novel and try to sell it in the increasingly nonexistent book market. Or I could make suicide look like an accident so my family can get my life insurance. Nah, not really. But don’t think the thought hasn’t crossed my mind, but it will never happen (I think). I’m too excited to one day proudly wear a “University X Dad” sweatshirt given to me by one of my kids, take a three-week retirement cruise with my wife, play grandpa to a bunch of grandkids.


Oh, to relax.

35 and Still Leaning Left

Posted in Uncategorized with tags , , , on March 23, 2009 by hadoomystery

I’m sitting at JFK after a long weekend, and I’m asking myself an important question: Socially and politically (is there truly a difference these days?), who am I?

The question springs not from the convention I just attended but from two periphery aspects of the trip. First, I met my uncle for dinner Saturday night. Over drinks we discussed politics, President Obama, last year’s election and campaigns, the candidates, who, if anyone, might have been able to do a better job and, of course, the current economic downturn. I told him that I voted for Obama and that, despite my total disagreement with the government’s two major stimulus packages – the first signed by George W. Bush and the second by Obama – that I am happy with my vote.

My uncle is not a fan of Obama’s because of his near absence of any sort of relevant track record, nor did he like his opponent in the presidential election, John McCain. I told him that my wife and I, in the Iowa Caucus, caucused initially for Joe Biden, but he did not get enough support at our location, so we shifted our support to Obama.

(To flesh this out: McCain was my favorite Republican candidate. I considered, at first, an Obama-McCain race a 50-50 proposition. When Obama chose Biden as his running mate, it locked up my vote; McCain selected Sarah Palin, making the McCain-Palin ticket my third choice behind Obama-Biden and Anybody Else-Anybody Else.)

My uncle, a staunch republican, makes no secret where he stands. He told me as I got older I would come around to his side. I’ve been told this before by several people, including this same uncle in the 1990s. And yet, here I am, leaning as left at 35 as I did at 25 and 15.

Why? I like to believe it’s because I force myself to think long-term. The universe is bigger than me. When I’m gone the world will not pause to mourn. It will move forward like a speeding Buick smearing bugs across its windshield on a hot summer night. The universe will not notice whether I am here. I’m okay with that. So it is one of my goals that the world be a more accepting place, a more logical and forward-thinking place, for my children and grandchildren – and their grandchildren – than it is during my time. So, yes, I am proud that the President of the United States is an intellectually elite, personable, realistic, plain-speaking, ambitious, technologically savyy, fair, diplomatic person. And I think, although I find his race and the race of all people subordinate to their brains and how they use their brains, it is a good thing for the United States, and therefore the world, that his mother is a white woman from Kansas, his father is a black man from Kenya, and his name is Barack Hussein Obama. Much of this country is stuck in “old-think.” It’s time to try out some new ideas, even if they fail with great consequence, to discover new and important successes.

Second, I sped through David Perlmutter’s book ‘Blogwars,’ an academic study of the evolution of political blogging. As a member of the media, or perhaps a former member – nah, I’m still active – it is my duty to challenge the status quo. By modern definition, to be a Republican is to live in fear of change, or rather, fear of social alterations. I cannot and will not condone such a stance.

There is a lot of libertarian in me. I want the government – and, for that matter, all those who have zero impact on my life, and me zero impact on them – to stay out of my affairs. Stay out of my life. Neither of the U.S.’s two major political parties are willing to do this. Where they differ are the motives behind their intrusions. Democrats feel they can live your life better than you can, so they want to offer lots and lots and lots of help – too much help – that corrodes one’s ability to react, survive and thrive in the face of adversity. Their actions disempower us and make the world “easy,” which is dangerous. Adversity is good. Challenges are good. Struggle is good. It helps us discover who we truly are and strengthens our character. Speaking broadly, Democrats are that mother who won’t let her preschooler climb a jungle gym because he might fall; when that preschooler gets to elementary school he is excluded from playground games because he never learned the tools he needed to keep up.

Republicans are different because they insert themselves into our lives not to try to make things better, but to tell us what we can’t do. They tell gay people they can’t get married. They tell pregnant women how to use their bodies. They tell their own citizens who have disagreements with this country how they can and cannot protest – even peacefully.

It’s a no-brainer for me. If the government is going to interfere in my life, I’d rather it have good intentions than bad. That is why until Republicans are able to show me something different, I will be voting Democrat.