Thursday, June 25, 2009

Doing time in the Unemployment Office:

I was unemployed for a few months in 1985, and so I enrolled with the state of NJ for unemployment benefits. This office treated the unemployed like cockroaches. We had to stand on many long lines, with no place to sit. They hadn't heard of "take a number and sit down." After the first time there, I always brought my own folding chair. When people saw me sitting, they felt I was 'beating the system', and they cheered me.

At last, I queued up on the longest line, to get an actual check. When I got to the front, I faced a tired old lady, murmuring in a singsong voice, "our computers are down, we have to do everything the slow way, you'll have to wait ..."

I told her, "I'm a computer programmer. I know how frustrating it is when computers go down. I sympathize with you."
"No!" she screamed. "You CAN'T sympathize with me!"
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