Saturday, February 14, 2009

Views From My Window __ Jan. 19, 2009

Hurtling through space in an asteroid field, 3CPO tells Han Solo that the odds of surviving a direct hit from an asteroid are 3000 to one. Han tells 3CPO, just before turning him off, "Never tell me the odds." That scene has been replaying in my head a lot lately as I've been looking for a job.
One of the ingredients of finding a job is desire. I have the need, and in a roundabout way, need creates desire. But I must admit, as I scroll through the want ads and see what is listed, I am rather low on passion or desire for the jobs I see. Unfortunately, the mental list I've been keeping for years of jobs I would NOT want to do is very long and growing daily.

$10/hr to stand on a corner waving a giant arrow advertising a sale at a store going out of business is rather high on that list even if it does have the whimsical job title of "sign spinner". I hold no disrespect to those stalwart folks who have that job--quite the opposite. I just hope the new president has a grander vision in mind for putting people back to work.

During the Great Depression, my mother told me, she owed President Roosevelt's job creation program for one memorable job she held. While she was thrilled to be working at all, she found this job to be particularly challenging. Her task, eight hours a day, five days a week, was to paint the eyes on little wooden pigs whose backs were covered with tiny holes designed to hold toothpicks for hors d'oeuvres. (She told me these pigs were popular during the forties but I've yet to find one in any antique or junk shop--maybe they ended up as firewood or got shipped to some third world country like much of our cast-off polyester clothing has.) Mom struggled daily to keep the pigs' eyes looking friendly, rather than loopy or demented, but she told me when she went to sleep at night her dreams were populated by weird little piggy eyes. Yup. That's another one of those jobs I'd rather not do.

Emptying port-o-potties is another job high on my list. Tax prep, yet another. The list, I'm afraid, goes on and on and on. But long ago I learned to "never say never." It is amazing how often I've found myself doing things I would never have thought I would do.

Here I am, sixty years old, looking for work during the worst economy since the Depression. Joblessness is at an all-time high. Yes, I have read the papers and listened to the doom and gloom on the TV. Like Han Solo I am choosing to shut off the noise. Never tell me the odds. I mean, after all, where would President Obama be if he had listened to the odds?

We are on the threshold of change. If conditions can line up to cause the perfect storm then there is every reason to believe that our new president is facing the conditions which can create the perfect dawn of a new reality in America. Finally, people are ready for bold action and positive change. I am hopeful. Yes, there are plenty of naysayers but I think that those holding the energy of hope and goodwill have grown to the majority. I count myself among them. Never tell me the odds. If a black man can get himself elected president then a sixty year old woman ought to be able to find a job she can stomach in a dicey economy. We can make it through this asteroid field. I can--yes, we can--make good things happen.

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