It’s Groundhog Day!  Desmond Tutu, Ballerina Tutus and Deep Thoughts About Unemployment on 2/2

“Okay, campers, rise and shine!  And don’t forget your booties, ‘cause it’s cold out there today…. It’s Groundhog Day!”  — radio announcers in the movie Groundhog Day, 1993

Just Another Fruitless Friday

If you know the Bill Murray Andie McDowell classic romantic comedy as well as A Dude does, every February second when you wake up, you hear the radio announcers (in your head) loudly proclaim their glee about what day it is.  It being Austin, Texas, it’s not snowing or even  freezing, but it is a little cool.  Whether Punxsutawney Phil sees his shadow or not, there are still six weeks left until the spring equinox.

groundhog day
If A Dude were religious, this movie might be his Book of Mormon.

And when you’re an unemployed bum (or perhaps it’s “arse on the dole” in Britain?), like in the movie, each day feels pretty much like the day before.  Drag self out of bed?  Check.  Shower?  (Or not.)  Check-ish.  (It’s better for the hair and skin.  Not so much for friends.)  Bike over to job club, hear a really fantastic, happy, well-fed, healthy-looking, optimistic speaker who knows YOU CAN DO IT!  Yawn, but Check.  Then sit through Toastmasters, which makes sense if you want to be a public speaker, but not much sense when you have a pounding headache and fatigue from either not enough or too much iron in your blood.  Check – mate.

Instead of slogging another five miles to that class where a very nice man who really does know a lot tells you how to make your Linked In profile actually lead to a real job for the first time in recorded history, you opt to go to the work search center.  Workfarce, you call it.  Because it is.  Otherwise known as “The Place Bloggers, Writers and Other Wanna-Be Authors Go To See Their Dreams Die.”

job club to workfarce 020218
One of my Strava rides for today.  Still going slowly due to apparently deoxygenation of my blood from lack of a metal.  It’s like Kryptonite, but they put it in cows.

But first, on your way by bike, a guy yells out his car window for you to get in the bike lane — to turn left! which is perfectly legal to do from the non-bike, LEFT TURN LANE.  And then he starts filming or photographing you with his cell phone — which is illegal — and threatening to tell City Council — via Instagram.  I hope he does, because I was right and he was wrong.  Dead wrong.  He did this while having an expired paper license plate which A Dude could not photograph because the car guy was fleeing like a big, fat coward in a big, fat car.  Also illegal.

Once past that ridiculous, mind-numbing interaction, you spend hours entering old jobs into your state job application profile — which got deleted by, of course, Workfarce — and that literally no one on Earth cares about.  You talk to the kindly but clueless 29-year-old staff person about how taking a job paying $10 an hour just to work on your Spanish would probably not work out.  (Translation:  Result in suicide.  Or homicide.  Co-worker-cide.  One of those -cides.  This is written in jest; it is not a cry for help.  Or threat.  Really.)

A Scanner Darkly Reads the Job Boreds

Maybe you then scan the job boards like Indeed, Monster and so on for a place that you might really enjoy working at – if a hiring manager were to ever in reality answer you and invite you in for a chat that led to a job.  You send your resume anyway, because that’s what the government requires if you are to continue getting your paltry dough.  Besides, it’s not the employer who’s to blame, it’s your fault you’re jobless.  It’s 2.3% unemployment, so what makes you so special?  You got something against Walmart, dude?  Well, yes I do.  EVERYTHING.  I have everything against Walmart.

You try to make more connections on Linked In.  Like that awesome speaker!  But you need his email address, so you write his contact web form which makes you feel like a real winner.  He doesn’t reply.  He’s jet-setting back home to that place for winners, Las Vegas, or one of the really cool hotels he bragged about staying in.  Seriously, he’s a great guy, though.  You read the stories and comments on Linked In.   Then get sick of Linked In and almost delete it from your phone, computer, and mind.  But you don’t because it gives you this warm, sticky feeling inside you kinda like.   You think it’s called “hope.”

You wonder if you even really still exist ever since getting laid off, since have heard from exactly zero of your former co-workers.  Text the one that you saw last night while walking, saying “You passed me in your car!”  When they text back saying “Sorry I missed you,” you literally wonder if for a second they meant they had a sniper rifle pointed at your head, and at the last second the wind gusted so the bullet missed your brain by millimeters.  And then think no, that used to be my friend.  A really good one.  At least from 8:30-5:30, M-F.

Two Blog or Not Two Blog?

Or, you could stare at the news and try to not get all apoplectic.  Go shopping for iron-rich foods because the pills aren’t working.  Send some volunteer bike messages.  Take a walk.  Do yoga.  Which you really do all that.  But then you think, “I should really re-start my book.”  Then you decide today is not the day; the stars are not aligned.

Bill Murray event
He’s coming to Austin March 18th with a cellist to do some artsy show.  Really.

Instead, you wonder what Bill Murray is doing at this exact moment.  Does he hate Groundhog Day?  Or does he call his portfolio manager and ask, “How many millions have I made from that dumb movie this year?  Mwa hah hah hah hah!”  Bill Murray laughs all the way to the bank.

Or, perhaps, you sit down at the laptop, open up a blank document, and think about what to blog about.  And come up with a catchy, punny title without really having thought it through.  Yeah, go with that.  You do that today.  And hope that someone reads it.  Then, you do it again tomorrow.  And then day after that, and so on.

Until Andie McDowell (or preferably, Halle Berry) falls in love with you.  Or, on some bright sunny day in rural Pennsylvania, a groundhog comes out of his hole and says, “Screw it, I quit groundhogging!  I’m going to start my own blog so I can be REALLY famous!”

Desmond Tutu.  On 2/2.  Not wearing a tutu.  Do you get the pun yet?

For all  you sticklers out there, Desmond Tutu is alive and fairly well at age 76 despite three bouts of prostate cancer.  And if you thought for a second that the man of peace, former Archbishop, key player in the ending of and healing from apartheid in South Africa was irrelevant to a bike blog (though obviously my blog is about more than just bikes), here’s a hilarious gem of a quote he said that will knock your cool little bike socks off:

“Give a man a fish and feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish and feed him for a lifetime. Teach a man to cycle and he will realize fishing is stupid and boring.”                                                                                                                                                              – Desmond Tutu

Oh, and here’s a picture of a tutu, being worn by a bear, on a bicycle.  I think this an absurdist political comment on Putin’s sway over Trump, especially on a day that feels alot like a precursor to what calls a “slow-motion Saturday Night Massacre especially now because of that stupid Nunes memo.  Or maybe it’s just about the cruelty of circus animal stunts (note the mask).  Hope it was a happy Two Two for you, too!

bear tutu bike
Free the bears!  Offer them clip-in shoes, helmets, better bikes and proper kits.


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