You’re fired! The search for the gift begins

by wands on July 6, 2009

Firing One: The South African nonprofit

you-are-not-your-job-text-picEvery year, a week or two before my birthday — or perhaps on the very day  — my ex-boyfriend’s sister would head for the dollar store, dig around and find 10 items that looked like they might cost a-dollar-and-a-half because, well, I’m sure she still prides herself in being a discriminating shopper.

Included in her stash might be a bottle of bright blue body lotion, made in China, that I suspect — had you mustered the courage to try it and survived — you could have rubbed over your naked body at Halloween and gone as a blue Martian; a tinny silver necklace with cat figures because — wouldn’t you know it? — she was a cat person; a picture frame around a message that read: “With maturity, the sweeter the rose, the softer the thorns.”

She would e-mail me before my birthday and ask if her brother and I would come for dinner so that she might give me my gift. I’d forward the message to her brother and say: “You go!”

It usually ended up that we went. When someone grovels and pleads and says “come on — it’s my sister — we won’t stay late” and he’s paying three quarters of the rent and the entire PG&E bill, he has some leverage.

And so I’d get yet another gift bag that, yes, I knew also came from the dollar store. Crammed inside would be the things.

Did I want the things? No.

Would I choose those things? No.

Did I take them? Yes.

What else could I do?

OK. So maybe there’s a better analogy and maybe I could have rung her neck but you get the idea. The first layoff was that sort of gift. It’s not something you’re asking for; it’s not something you want; it’s something thrust upon you that you really have no option but to accept.

Except there’s one subtle difference between the gift and the layoff.

With the gift, you can think “holy crap, why the hell did she give me this godawful junk I’ll have to find space for in the cupboard (because I’m a hoarder and I hate to throw things away)?”

With the layoff, for your sanity, you have no option but to buy into the equivalent of the old “it’s the thought that counts” b***s***.

You know? Like, remind yourself body lotion is good — and so what if its toxic?

In other words, you can say stuff the gift.

And you can say stuff the layoff.

But if you don’t find a gift in the layoff — you pretty much stuff yourself.

(to be continue)

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: