Saturday, 24 November 2012

Unemployed by Naomi Elana Zener

"Well, did you get my e-mail?" Jane asked.

"Yeah," Adam replied.

"And?" Jane pressed.

"And what?" Adam spat back.
"Will you please open the door and speak to me like a human being? I am your mother!" Jane ordered.
Reluctantly, Adam put down his laptop, rolled out of bed to unlock his door and then lumbered back to bed like a Neanderthal to resume his geriatric-like vegetative state. Jane swung the door open with purpose, immediately taking stock of her adult son's childhood bedroom, which appeared to have been hit by a tornado. Jane noted that the sheets on his bed were likely several weeks old, based on the stains glaring at her. Dirty clothes were strewn about the floor, as were a panoply of both empty and half-empty pizza boxes and fast food take out cartons, emanating a stench of partially rotting food.

"How can you live like this? You're a pig!" Jane cried to no reaction from her son. "So, what did you think about what I sent you?"

"I'm overqualified for that position," Adam grumbled without looking up from his computer screen.

"How's that?" Jane asked skeptically. "They are looking for someone with a high school diploma and two years of retail experience. You worked at the Gap for three years during high school, so you know how to fold shirts and pants. Not that anyone would know it by looking at your swamp of dirty clothes on the floor."

"Ma, I'm overqualified," Adam screamed. "Just leave it alone."

"Don't take that tone with me young man! You are thirty years old and living in my house, so show me some respect," Jane demanded. "A job is a job and you need an income."

"Ma, I'm a fucking Harvard Law School graduate. I was in the top ten percent of my class. I had offers from every blue chip firm on Wall Street. I have three years of corporate securities experience. I'm overqualified to be a stockroom inventory clerk at fucking Filene's Basement," Adam bellowed.

"Well, you live in a basement so..." Jane offered in attempt at injecting levity into the situation.

"You're hilarious!" Adam replied returning to perusing the search results on
"Honey, I know how smart you are, but the economy is in shambles and people are willing to take any job they can find until they can have the career they want. You of all people should understand that since you were an integral cog in the machine that helped to undo the global economy," Jane stated unnerved.

"Excuse me?" Adam queried scowling at his mother.

"Well you were part of the team that advised Lehman Brothers that asset-backed securities and credit default swaps were kosher," Jane replied. "Forget I said anything. That was the past. So you were a big deal for a little while. Now, you are no different than all of those innocent people swindled out of their life-savings from the fallout of the collapse of the economy. But, the reality is that you have no money, you have no home and you have no prospects in your profession of choice. Instead of wallowing in self-pity, you need to pull up your bootstraps, find a job even if it only pays minimum wage, shower, put on some clean clothes and become a contributing member of society."

"Thanks for the pep talk Ma," Adam muttered.
"One more thing. While you're browsing the Internet for a job, it wouldn't hurt you to sign up on one of those dating websites to find a nice young lady to settle down with. You're a catch!" Jane advised encouragingly trying to change the subject.

"Are you out of your fucking mind?" You've just told me I'm a bottom-feeding pig who was instrumental in destroying the global economy, ruining the lives of millions.  Your advice is that I should get a job doing anything that pays me minimum wage for which I'm overqualified as a result of wasting eight years of my life getting an Ivy League education for which I'm in debt up to my eyeballs. At what point in your motivational speech to me to boost my self-confidence did the idea that any of my current qualities that you have just described would be attractive to a person of the opposite sex?" Adam inquired rhetorically.

"Don't forget to clean up your room. I'm not your maid, not that you could afford one," Jane sighed as she left Adam's room.
Quixotic, Adam spent the next several days drowning out the sounds of his crowing mother, which filtered through the paper-thin walls of and door to his basement hideout, by blaring angry gangster rap. Immovable from the safety of his nest, partially due to the fact that his sheets had transformed into a second skin, Adam sent out hundreds of resumes to law firms and corporate legal departments, only to receive almost instantaneous 'please fuck off' letters thanking him for the opportunity to review his resume, but advising him that he is not the right fit for any of the jobs to which he had applied.

On a lark and having been celibate for too many years to count, Adam set up a profile on a few dating sites magically hoping against the odds that there might be a woman out there he could dazzle with his profile and Harvard gravitas long enough to get laid before she realized that he was not the golden goose promised in his online biography. Sadly, the wise and savvy women floating incorporeally in the ether of the worldwide web were able to deftly cross-examine Adam about his profile, unlocking the vaulted truth about his career retrenchment and Peter Pan-challenged dwelling situation, in both fewer questions and less time than it took Clarence Darrow to expose the truth of a witness under oath. Taking heed of his mother's 'words of wisdom,' Adam resigned himself to trolling the less reputable job search engines in the hopes of finding something that would set him back on his legal career path. Despondent and forlorn after eighteen months of celibacy, unemployment riddled with repudiations from every employer with a legal or tangentially-related position, and unwilling to accept the swelling possibility that he could be a lifetime rent-free tenant of his mother's basement, Adam came across a classified ad that held some promise:

Attention Unemployed: Are you highly educated? Hold multiple degrees in any of the areas of: law, finance, science or engineering? Are you literate and enjoy reading about current events, especially those concerning politics and the economy? Are you goal-oriented? Are you a natural born leader? Do you have good hand-eye coordination? Small fingers? Do you know how to ‘google’? Are you good at asking questions, but know how to follow instructions without question? Can you read a recipe? Do you like watching movies? Looking to work in a collegial team environment that allows for the spotlight to shine on your individuality and sense of independence?  Look no further because we have the job for you!  Please send us your resume by e-mail to: with an explanation of what makes you ideally suited for this opportunity. In anticipation of an interview, and kindly note we interview every candidate who applies, you should prepare by watching old episodes of MacGyver, Perry Mason, the A-Team and The French Chef, and spend a few hours per day playing the following video games: Duck Hunt, Gang Wars, World Domination, Grand Theft Auto, Air Force Delta Strike and Trauma Center: Second Opinion.  This job will earn the respect from your family and peers that you so richly deserve, give you a sense of belonging, restore your self-esteem, which will help you meet women, and offers a competitive salary, benefits package and bonus.

With great haste, Adam e-mailed his resume to the address provided, buoyed by the prospect that after submitting several thousand applications, finally he would be guaranteed an interview. Confidence somewhat restored, Adam half-smiled at the prospect of a face-to-face meeting, as he knew he always blossomed in front of an interviewer. Adam’s optimism grew as the notifying 'ping' from his e-mail notified him that he had mail.

Thank you for submitting to us your very impressive resume. We are quite eager to meet you and wondered if it would not be too presumptuous to inquire if you are able to come to our office tomorrow for an interview? Our address is 1351 Price Street and we would be delighted to meet with you at 3:00p.m.  Please advise.

Not wasting time, Adam replied with alacrity accepting the scheduled offering. Recognizing that the disheveled state of his bedroom would require extensive excavation in order to unearth a clean, unwrinkled suit to wear for the interview, he called upon his loving and supportive mother to look for one. Adam set about preparing furiously for the interview, which was in less than one day's time, per the advertisement's instructions. Plus, he still had to shave and shower. Flush with Red Bull coursing through his veins and a double hit of his ADHD medication, Adam spent the next eighteen hours without a speck of sleep sourcing and watching reruns of the delineated television series online and playing the required video games, which he borrowed from his younger brother. Semi-fresh, shaven and clean, Adam left the day of the interview confident that he would transcend his avocation drought and return home cocksure with fresh employment in hand.

"Good afternoon, Mr. Adam," Mila said cheerfully from behind the reception desk in the offices of 1351 Price Street. "Won't you please sit down? Mr. George will be with you momentarily."

"Thanks, but you can just call me 'Adam'," Adam replied taking a seat on a well worn in sofa.

"Very good Mr. Adam," Mila countered.

"Mila, please send in Mr. Adam," a static and muffled voice ordered via the intercom.

"Please Mr. Adam, through the first door on your left," Mila instructed. Adam took leave of the sofa striding assuredly into Mr. George's office.

"Welcome, welcome," Mr. George said as he shook Adam's hand. "Please sit down Mr. Adam."

"Thank you, but please, call me Adam, Mr. George."

"Ok. And you may call me Mr. George. So let's begin as I have many questions for you. First, how would you describe yourself?"

"Well, I would say that I am a highly educated lawyer, who stood at the top of my class at Harvard and is willing to work hard to achieve success," Adam offered.
"What episodes of each of MacGyver, Perry Mason, The A-Team and The French Chef did you watch in preparation for the interview?" Mr. George inquired.

"I grew up watching The A-Team, so I've seen every episode. But, I did see approximately ten episodes of each of Perry Mason and The French Chef," Adam replied.
"What was your favourite MacGyver episode?" Mr. George wondered.

"I liked the one where he uses an army knife, duct tape, a broken light bulb and a paperclip to blow up a helicopter," Adam replied knowing that he had only ever seen two episodes of MacGyver in his life.
"Very good. I especially liked Season Six's episode three entitled 'The Gun,' which originally aired on October 1, 1993. It was the episode where a police officer was shot with a gun used to assassinate a presidential candidate. I really like the ones where government leaders are targeted for execution," Mr. George explained. "However, I am not a big fan of Saturday Night Live's spoof called ‘MacGruber.’ To denigrate the impressive talents of a man who can make a bomb out of some gum, shoe polish and a twist tie is very insulting.  But, I digress.  What is your greatest weakness?" Mr. George asked.

"Chocolate," Adam advised deadpan to no reaction. "Ha, ha, I was only kidding. Perhaps, it is that I have too liberal a sense of humour."

"There is nothing funny in the work we do here," Mr. George retorted. "There are serious ramifications if you do not carry out your assigned tasks."

"I'm sorry, you misunderstood me. I take my work very seriously, but sometimes I like to make jokes to ease the tension," Adam offered.

"Ah, I see. I, too, like to make with the funny, but only on special occasions," Mr. George replied. "Perhaps this is a weakness that you can control?"


"And what is your greatest strength?" Mr. George asked.

"I will do everything necessary to get the job done to the satisfaction of my employer," Adam replied noting Mr. George's contentment with his answer.

"How many hours do you normally work?" Mr. George queried. "I make this inquiry because this is more than just a job, it is a lifestyle."

"As many as the job requires," Adam advised.

"How do you handle stress and pressure?"
"Very well. In fact, in my former job, where I was a securities lawyer, I had to deal with immense scrutiny from the Securities Exchange Commission to provide information under strict deadlines that would satisfy the regulator whilst protecting my clients.”
"Did you practice each of Duck Hunt, Gang Wars, World Domination, Grand Theft Auto, Air Force Delta Strike and Trauma Center: Second Opinion in anticipation of today's interview? And if so, what were your scores?" Mr. George demanded.
"Yes, I played each one and every time I played I always achieved scores in the ninetieth percentile or higher," Adam countered.
"Do you prefer to work independently or on a team?" Mr. George inquired. 
"Either is fine, but if truth be told, I do tend towards more independent thinking so I would say between the two I like solo missions," Adam advised.
"Good to know as we have many opportunities for unassisted assignments," Mr. George counseled. "Why were you fired?"

"As you know, the world economy collapsed as a result of a series of securities that flooded the market that had little to no value," Adam whispered.

"You mean credit-default swaps?" Mr. George interrupted.
"Yes. Well, I worked for a law firm that provided the legal advice that endorsed the use of such securities to the various financial institutions. When the crisis hit, we were all fired and ever since I have been wearing a scarlet letter of sorts tainting me in the job market," Adam replied.

"So, you are the one who helped to unravel the U.S. and western World economies," Mr. George whispered audibly to himself. "Impressive."

"You're the first person to acknowledge the magnitude of what happened in such a positive manner," Adam said with surprise.

"What have you been doing since your last job?" Mr. George asked ignoring Adam's remarks.

"Nothing," Adam replied. "I've been living in my mother's basement, not working and not earning a dime for close to two years now. I am desperate for work, as many Americans are."
"Then why have you not sought work at Walmart or McDonalds? Certainly if you are desperate you could have found paid labour. Why do you want this job?" Why should we hire you?"

"I respect that fact, but I also did not want to demean my education, abilities and expertise. I truly believe that there is a position out there that requires my skill set," Adam stated emphatically. "Based upon the information in your advertisement, I think that this job suits my experience. By the way, can you please give me some more details on what the job entails?"

"Let me see your hands," Mr. George instructed ignoring Adam's question. Mr. George beamed as he noted the slender, yet stubby nature of Adam's delicate fingers. "Are you willing to travel?"
"Definitely," Adam replied.

"How do you feel about lifetime job security?" Mr. George asked.

"I'd love it!"
"Have you ever sat in a dark closet in freezing temperatures without going to the bathroom for a continuous twenty-four hour period wearing four layers of clothing?" Mr. George asked.

"Um, no," Adam replied hesitantly. "Have you?"

"Oh yes, several times. In fact, if you accept the job, it will be part of your training," Mr. George explained. "What are your salary requirements?"
"I'd like to make what I did when I worked on Wall Street as a lawyer," Adam explained. "However, I recognize that I am starting from ground zero and I do not know what the going rate is for this job. Could you please share a few details about the job description?"

"How do you feel about alternative sources of remuneration" Mr. George asked paying no heed to Adam’s question.

"It depends on what you mean by 'alternative.' If you mean a comprehensive package that includes a lower base salary because there is a large bonus based on job performance, plus all expenses paid, generous vacation entitlement and a comprehensive medical-dental plan, then yes, I would be happy with such 'alternative' sources of remuneration," Adam advised.

"What will you do if you don't get this position?" Mr. George asked.
"I suppose I will return home to my mother's basement to continue pounding the pavement. I cannot imagine that I would become more hopeless than I already do. Perhaps if I don't find anything suitable to my background, I will have to apply for a job at a mall, which will likely lead to suicidal ideation landing me thrice-weekly on a therapist’s couch," Adam joked.

"More of that humour," Mr. George noted. "Is there anything I haven't told you about the job or company that you would like to know?"

"Well I'd like more details on the actual job. Also, why did I need to watch 'The French Chef'?" Adam inquired.
"Ms. Child's cooking show makes understanding a recipe easy. We want to know that you can comprehend and follow basic instructions," Mr. George advised. "Plus, each employee takes turns cooking for the team and we really like French food."

"And Perry Mason?"

"To learn how to withstand cross-examination techniques," Mr. George replied.
"Why did I need to practice playing all of those video games?" Adam queried. "And, why did you need to see my hands?"
"To determine what your manual dexterity and fine motor skills are like," Mr. George apprised. “With such high scores and perfectly proportioned hands, you are perfect for the work we do here.”
"Don't you want to know what my goals are for the next five to ten years?" Adam asked.

"Not really since we offer lifetime job security," Mr. George replied.

"Don't you want to know what was it like working for my last supervisor?" Adam queried.
"It is of little consequence to us. Your last supervisor does not work here and regardless, we have ways to deal effectively with employee discord that eliminates any turmoil that may arise," Mr. George explained. "In any event, much of this job does not allow for such disharmony to last long."

"How do you evaluate success?" Adam inquired.

"By completing your assigned duty, you are immediately promoted to the next level, thus, we will know you have been successful," Mr. George replied. "So, do you accept the position?"

"I think so," Adam said hesitantly as the job sounded almost too good to be true.

"Congratulations! You are the newest member of our sleeper cell's covert guerrilla task force. All of your meals, accommodation, medical coverage and travel will be paid for by the company. Upon the completion of your mission, you will become the hero you've always wanted to be, which will garner the respect and recognition of your family and friends that has been elusive to date," Mr. George advised joyously. "More importantly, when you transcend your planar existence, you will be rewarded with the commission of seventy-two vestal virgins."

"I'm confused. What is the exact job title?" Adam vacillated.

"Suicide Bomber to be precise," Mr. George touted.

Adam bolted from Mr. George's office at supersonic speed, faster than the speed at which Felix Baumgartner broke the sound barrier when he skydived from space, noting that he needed to quickly find the nearest FBI bureau in order to enter the Witness Protection Program.

 © 2012 Naomi Elana Zener.  All rights reserved.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Hanging Chad by Naomi Elana Zener

Come on folks, step right up and gather round,
Look at the binders of men and women that I've found.
Intellect, charm, wit all for sale to serve thee.
Selection abounds at this slave auction, Democrat or GOP.
Political correctness, good taste, not the Elephant's strong suit.
Further irking pesky Liberals, Repubs now have ethnic support to boot.
If women's rights sounds like a 1950s oxymoron to you,
There are men and women to vote for that bleed Tea Party blue.
The Fetus is the cause célèbre du jour,
In political theater, they're the actor, oh so pure.
No matter how conceived, consensually or by Christ's will,
Lady, you're now a holy vessel, for you no Morning After Pill.
Broadway loving gays may decorate the White House, not the military.
Take your airport restroom tap dance to Canada for human rights equality!
Terrorists are the new 'black,' against whom united Conservatives stand.
Right to bear arms, large army, GOP's motto to protect this great land.
Lower taxes, cut social spending, sayonara Big Bird!
You're sick? No insurance? No doctor! Not a notion that's absurd.
Economy will thrive, foreign trade grow, middle class jobs to survive.
Wealthy and having a bleeding heart, two concepts that don't jive.
Then support the bayonet-wielding jackass wearing pink,
Morally superior, Democrats think their shit don't stink.
Universal healthcare, a cornerstone of domestic policy,
But, it comes at a price, in this town lunch ain't free.
To the stratosphere and beyond taxes will soar,
The man propelling this great idea, a philosophizing bore.
Donkey Kong will dazzle you with dead Bin Laden pie smashed in your face,
While from your bank account, disposable income disappears without a trace.
Fickle 'friend' of Israel, one day best buddies, the next bullying foe,
Yet women's rights remain paramount, abortion lives on with the right to say no.
Domestic agenda: gay rights, job creation, end foreclosures, reduce deficit.
If you make $250K or more, Dems chewing more of your money than they bit.
Right to marry, divorce bliss to be enjoyed by all.
From their perch, sanctimonious theocratic ideals to fall.
You're ill? Don't fret, medical insurance is made available for everyone.
Fewer deaths from lack of coverage, gone are undertakers' day in the sun.
Spend money to save, on the Bank of China become more reliant.
Not to be canceled, Oscar the Grouch smiling, to Liberals he's not defiant.
Democrat is the die you've cast in this modern era election race?
You won't have enough Rubles to fly Branson's rocket ship to space.
Conservative or Liberal, vote in a President for the Stars and Stripes,
Live for four years with your choice, let the media air your gripes.
If between a rock and hard place you now sit, don't be sour.
Fly north of the 49th parallel and join me in my satirical tower.

© 2012. Naomi Elana Zener. All rights reserved.