Having had more than a couple of bad turns with the U-Haul boys in my day, I am wary as I enter their rental office and make my way through their extensive stock of rope, boxes, and moving tools. I am unable to discern what the function might be for all of them. There are clamps and accessories for moving things that I suspect very few people ever really require for their move, but no doubt they find customers by the thousands or U-Haul wouldn't bother stocking such items. Some towing-carwould seem to be there solely to impress easily intimidated fellows like myself, but I cannot imagine what monetary value such fearful leverage could ultimately bring to the U-Haul Corporation.

Naturally, I am forced to stand and wait my turn even though there is not one other soul in the U-Haul rental office besides me and the office manager. I assume he is the manager because he appears old enough to be, although for all I know this is his first day on the job and he is stalling around fearful of my discovering his own lack of rental and towing expertise. While I am waiting, and due to my unemployed standing in the community, my mind immediately turns to questions regarding how this manager fellow got the job, what were the posted requirements, and (always!) whether U-Haul is currently hiring. This last has nothing to do with interest on my part or qualification either one, but is simply built into the unemployed apparatus. I can't see a guy standing out in a gorilla suit with balloons in one hand and waving to kids with the other without wondering about the interview process, qualifications required and possible current openings. Being unemployed is a separate life and those who have never experienced it cannot truly be said to understand the uniqueness of the experience.

help wantedAnd while I am on the subject, I should address another issue, namely the difference between being without work and being unemployed! I have been without work, which is to say "between jobs," and I have been unemployed - and the difference is quite palpable. The without work category is a temporary and fleeting state of being, like The Night They Raided Minsky's. Unemployed is a statement of an enduring and unchangeable new nature, more like Gone With The Wind. Whether it is time, realistic options, or mental strength that makes the difference, I dare not say;  but the difference is all the difference in the world. Indeed, being unemployed, though hoped to be a temporary ailment, is very much like so many other more permanent features of American life where if you are not a member of the group, you are incapable of understanding what it is really like. Perhaps it is like being bald. If you aren't bald, such a state of affairs doesn't really seem so meaningful. "Hey, so you don't have hair on your head, what's the big deal, dude?" I feel this way when folks nod casually as I tell them of my unemployment situation. They see me as bald, but I feel like I have terminal cancer, so their casual and unemotional reaction to my plight is always rather traumatic for me. Finally, the U-Haul manager summons me forth to the excessively high counter that holds a computer screen facing away from me and very obviously situated for the manager's eyes only. Thus do we begin our conference on the particulars of my moving equipment rental request.

The above is an excerpt from: The Art Of Unemployment & The Science Of Automotive Repair

"David Douglas Ford is an entertaining and gifted writer.
His insights are hilarious and a very good read."

-Michael Nichols, Hilton Head

"I've read your unemployment book and a smile never left my face.
It's a treasure & you can bet my son will love it."  
-Paul Bogner, Purcell

"Asked to choose between symbolism and substance, Ford makes it . . . hilarious!
In thirty-five years I've known few authors with as unique an approach as his."

-Gary Gum, Amarillo

"Saying you are an unemployed insurance salesman is redundant."
-Joe Dokes, Fictional Character

"More people out of work leads to higher unemployment."    
-Calvin Coolidge, Real President


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