#1green library stanford

I am an inarguable failure.

My life had promise: one day twenty three years ago a friend said she had just seen me on tv.  We were sophomores at Stanford; earlier that week I had walked across campus with a tall, elegant classmate. The two of us were talking together, and I made her laugh, and then I laughed with her. It was Fall, and we were passing Green Library. Her name, I think, was Katie. We weren’t really friends; it was the only conversation I ever had with her alone. Somebody filmed it and put it on an ad for something on tv.

At the end of this month— this February— I will have been unemployed for six months. This could get spectacularly ugly, and entertaining. For you. For me too, in a way. But definitely for you. And so I will commit to let you know what happens, and how it goes with me. Schadenfreude is not a Welsh word, as Martin Amis claims to have thought. But it helps to know that other people are struggling, other people may be about to go under, when all that is happening with you is that you have a cold, or you’re stressed, or you haven’t had sex in a few days.

I don’t have kids, although I am still married (but stay tuned). I don’t have a career, obviously. I don’t have any savings, or assets. I have a few skills. But I am running out of the energy it takes to pretend that everything is fine, and that I could take or leave whatever job I am interviewing for. My desperation is maturing, growing riper, sprouting thick, pale-green shoots. They are protruding, becoming impossible to hide.

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