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On Friday, February 19, my wife and I were officially assigned a trustee to oversee our bankruptcy. Although it was a solemn affair, we left the court in relatively good spirits to head back home, where our daily parental duties awaited us.

Listening to a conservative talk-radio show recently, a caller mentioned his wife's job loss. However, instead of talking about their own situation, the caller blasted all of his wife's coworkers who had also lost their jobs but were, he claimed, enjoying the opportunity to live off the state instead of working to provide their own financial security. Of course the show's host agreed with the caller as they lamented together the crumbling American values in our society today. Instead of supporting his wife in this time of need, apparently this guy was more interested in what all his wife's coworkers were doing. Host and caller relished their roles as both judge and juror while expressing their hatred for anybody who doesn't think or act as they do. It is made clear that people like me are lazy and un-American.

My best friend called me the other day to say that a guy he knows just got a job at a facility near my town. It's the same facility to which I've already submitted six applications for six different jobs. My friend keeps his calls down to a minimum while keeping an eye out for me at the same time. Toward the end of our conversation I blurt out, "It's fuckin' hard, man," as I weep openly over the phone. He has called me on one of my "dark" days when I'm oppressed by heavy thoughts. I hang up and decide to go for a walk. Within minutes of being outside, a recurring fantasy of mine plays in my head like a movie. It starts with me checking myself into a psychiatric ward somewhere far away.

I tell the woman behind the counter that I just need a quiet room with a single bed. I explain that I won't cause any trouble; I just need to lie down for a while. She sizes me up on the spot, then relents. An orderly leads me to a corner room with a view of a green lawn and a small pond. I immediately lie down on the bed, curl up in the fetal position, and drift off to sleep. But it's the waking-up part that remains "fuzzy." As a musical track plays in my head, I get an overhead, roving-camera-eye view of the room. Am I covering my face in shame? Staring blankly at the walls? Is my family there? Friends? Am I exhausted? Rejuvenated? When the image fades away I wonder if this is what "checking out" really means. Returning home, I make an appointment with my physician to discuss my depression.

Tuesday, March 16

I bought three self-help books this week to help rejuvenate my spirits. Although the first book was light and fluffy, I tossed the second one in a grocery-store bargain bin after reading the first five pages. "Everything that happens to you is your fault," the author tells me. "Fuck you," I tell the author while throwing his pile of dog crap in the box. Maybe his words can reach another reader. I'll find my own way to happiness and fulfillment.

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  Topics: Lifestyle Features , unemployment, recession, job search
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    Just over two years ago, I lost my job. I knew what was happening the moment my boss's eyes broke contact with mine to glance outside his office window.
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