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Being Unemployed and Other Post-College Activities

I’m drinking a Coca-Cola Blak right now. It’s not particularly good, but it is intriguing because it has a wavy line (this little thing: ~) over the ‘a,’ and frankly, I have no idea what that means. Is it pronounced “black,” “blake,” or perhaps “block?” None of these make much sense except for “black,” but even then, Coke “black” doesn’t really differentiate it from Coke, which is pretty much black to begin with.

But they did get me to buy the soda (or “carbonated fusion beverage”) with this silly little gimmick, so I guess the ‘~’ did its job. I think I’m going to pronounce it “block,” but with that extra breathy sound at the end, like Bach. If that makes any sense.

OK, you’ll have to forgive me for those last two paragraphs. I haven’t written a column for this site in over six months, and the blank computer screen has been pretty damn intimidating over the past couple weeks. I had to write something to get me started, the same way you give a struggling quarterback a couple swing passes at the beginning of the game to get his confidence up. They probably won’t get you many yards, and hell, a few people probably stopped reading at the word “differentiate,” but you gotta get on the board somehow.

Just like when you sit down to start writing a paper, what do you do first? Well, personally, I type my name and the date and stuff in MLA format, come up with a title, and then treat myself to a TV break. That way I put forth the minimal amount of effort, but at least I got the paper started. Try it on your next paper.

I would use it on my next paper, but I have no more papers. I have no more tests, no more books to read SparkNotes on, and no more classes. I graduated, folks, and I have an 8 ˝” x 11” piece of paper to show for it. And honestly, that’s about all I have to show for it at the moment.

Oh, I do have an alumni email forwarding address. That’s pretty sweet.

The thing I don’t have, which you probably guessed by the title, is a job. And I guess there are two ways to look at that piece of information. You could say I’m living the dream, “LTDing,” if you will. I’m drinking a Coke Blak after waking up from a nap on a day when I slept until 10:00. I’m paying no rent, I have a decent amount of money saved from graduation gifts, and I plan on hitting the bars tonight and sleeping late tomorrow.

I’m just living the dream. Just like Chazz Reinhold from Wedding Crashers. Yeah. Yikes.

Just two nights ago, my brother says to me, “You know, there really are some pretty good jobs at the unemployment office.” He wasn't joking.

I would say that that was the moment when “it hit me,” but it’s been hitting me all summer. When you get turned down for a high school sports reporting job by a paper with the word “Whig” in its name, a paper with a circulation of under 14,000, it hits you. When people ask you what you did all day and you include things like “I decided to get the 15-inch sandwich, but I didn’t quite finish it,” it hits you. And when your 19-year-old brother, with a full-time job, tells you to check out the sweet jobs at the unemployment office, it pretty much smacks you in the face.

It seems like this summer would have been a perfect opportunity for me to get back to the website. But, until now, a couple things have been preventing this from really happening. First, as those of you who know me well probably realize, playing music has sort of stepped to the forefront in my spare time. I play the piano, and obviously I’m not too great, but I enjoy the challenge of trying to improve. Three years ago, when I got bored in the summer, I’d write a column; now, I sit at the piano and plunk out Ben Folds songs.

Second, when I get shot down by tiny papers in rural Maryland, it wears on me. The whole process has made it more difficult for me to write with any authority. I didn’t think I could write with that subtle cockiness anymore, because I realized, at least at this point, that I’m not that good of a writer.

Well, here again is where I can take one of two approaches. I’ve been taking the more negative approach thus far – letting the man beat me down and tell me I’m unqualified. But sometimes it hits you, and recently it struck me that the former approach isn’t going to get me anywhere except the Nick Lachey “Cry me a river” Hall of Fame. What I need to do is basically ignore all the above information, and then start banging out goofy-ass articles again. I mean, once I get hired for real, it could be a while before I get to use the word “goofy-ass” in print.

I need to get back in a groove, like the famed summer of 2002 when I was coming out with columns more frequently than the Wayans brothers pump out crappy movies. And I’m talking about real columns, no more Matt Foley motivational speech articles like this one. This is my one free pass.

And one day, if I work hard enough, I just know I’ll get my dream job: columnist for the Cecil Whig.

Anders Larson Archive