March 25, 2003
A Sad Story

This afternoon I took an hour-long walk to the mouth of the Genesee River and back, partly for the exercise, partly to ponder my newfound unemployment (more on that later). I found it conducive to thought as well as (I hope) weight-loss: I guess that makes me a peripatetic philologist.

Crossing the railroad tracks near my apartment reminded me of a sad story from a few years back. I was driving to the Jiffy Lube in Tuscaloosa for an oil change when I passed a little boy (8 or so) standing on the sidewalk looking very glum. His skateboard was stuck in the railroad tracks. It hadn't occurred to me before -- or to him, obviously -- but where railroad tracks cross streets and sidewalks, they have spaces beside them that are just wide enough to let the wheels of a fully-loaded skateboard in, but narrow enough to make it very difficult to get them back out. There was a lot of traffic and no place to park, so I couldn’t stop to help. Twenty minutes later, driving by again on my way home from Jiffy Lube, I saw the boy standing in the same place, looking even glummer (but not crying) and holding half a skateboard. I don't know whether the other half was shattered beyond retrieval or had somehow gone with the train -- probably the former.

Thinking about it now, I suppose there was a bit of a silver lining. He looked like he was trying to figure out how he was going to explain it to his parents. That shouldn't have been too much of a problem. If he’d lost it down a storm drain or something like that, they might have suspected that he'd sold it for cash or in hopes of an upgrade. But half a skateboard, brutally amputated by something that obviously weighed many tons, is pretty good evidence of a more thorough disaster. I wonder if he still has it, six or eight years later. It would make an interesting souvenir.

Posted by Dr. Weevil at March 25, 2003 01:29 AM

Well, it seems there's no need to comment on your new found unemployment. You just have. And there you are standing on the sidewalk as your skateboard (your job, your paycheque) has been run over by the behemoth (don't know your particular circumstance - the economy, the corporation, whatever). What do you do with half a skateboard? It's worse, in some ways, than having no skateboard left at all.

Posted by: on March 25, 2003 10:51 AM

Obnoxious pseudo-Zen patronizing quasi-philosophy from someone still employed:

In difficulties we find our strengths. It is not events that determine how we feel, it is how we react to events that determines how we feel.

"If you do not call an event or condition a failure, it cannot represent failure to you."

-Vernon Howard

His website's worth checking out:

Best of luck.

Posted by: Robert Speirs on March 25, 2003 12:10 PM

Reply to obnoxious pseudo-Zen patronizing quasi-philosophy from someone whose husband has been out of work since December, when the company he worked for for 23 years folded: That's all true, probably, but unemployment is still a pain in the butt.

Posted by: Laura on March 25, 2003 12:57 PM

Reminds me of a quote from Dr. Christian Bernaard:
"Suffering doesn't ennoble. Healing does."

Posted by: Frank C on March 26, 2003 12:37 AM

Oh, jeez.....that sucks.

Eight days after 9/11, I lost my job (the best one I'll ever have).

Dr. Weevil, if there's anything I can possibly do to help, don't hesitate to call on me. I know I'm just a blogger in Jawja, but I know exactly what you're going through and if nothing else, send a few prayers and good thoughts your way.

Posted by: Ricky on March 27, 2003 08:21 PM

Looks like you're in my neighborhood. Hope things work out. I was out for a year, but now have a better job than I could have imagined. Something to hope for?

Posted by: Chuck on March 28, 2003 09:10 PM

I'm saddened to hear that your job is gone.

That usually is disheartening in the short run. But don't lose heart. You are immensely talented, and my bet is that you will find something a lot better. I know it's a cliche - but when one door closes ...

In any event, all the best.

Posted by: Robert Musil on March 29, 2003 05:38 PM

skateboarding is fun

Posted by: bob on December 6, 2003 09:38 PM