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I'm Not Dead Yet

For those who missed the post, I will be officially out of work on Sept. 30th, due to some "right-sizing" (read: down-sizing) at my firm. Today, another partner came in to offer his condolences. Word travels slow around here. There was no official announcement, so I expect this week to be a slow, steady flow of people coming in here to offer their condolences. They've also been offering help, which is greatly appreciated. I never mean to sound ingrateful. But, I also am a little tired of explaining the situation. Yes, I will be out of work. No, I am not worried. Yes, I have enough time to find a new job.

I came a new realization today: I am not getting laid off. I am getting a raise! That's right! Because wherever I go, I have a 75% chance of making more money than I do here (I only say 75% because if I get desperate, who knows what will happen). So, why should I be upset.

The second thing I thought of was how minor this little speed-bump is in the road of life. It brings me back to my month in Ireland, where I was part of a Fordham Law trip in the summer of 2002. There is always a lot of drama when you put a group of 20-30 yr olds in a hotel for 30 days in a foreign land. Think Real World, but with no cameras to embarrass you 5 months later.

One day, I was at a pub (as per usual) with a large group. I was feeling lonely in a sea of people, as only a foreign country and 60 strangers/travel companions can do. While I was moping around, half-drunk and entirely bummed about little nonsense, a pair of kids, maybe 12 and 13 came over. They were one boy and one girl, and from their actions and look, I could just about guarantee that they were siblings. Now, it was probably after 11pm, and also probably closer to 1am. The kids were thin. The had worn-in clothing on, with tatterred blankets wrapped around them like shawls. They were clearly homeless.

The boy starts talking first. He asks for change. I'm bummed, I'm lonely, and as a rule, I don't give money to the homeless. But this was different. These were children for fuck's sake. I reached into my pocket and took out 2 coins, totalling 1.50 euros. The boy grabbed the money and the girl reached out to her brother, clinging at the hand with the euros. "Give me!" she pleaded. The boy held his hand tight, "It's mine! He gave it to me!" Now, typing this, it sounds like a scam, but I was there and it was no scam. These siblings were fighting over the 1.50, which is probably a damn good take on the streets of Dublin. Addressing the thin, pale girl, I said, "It's okay. I have some for you, too." I reached into my pocket and found another 1.50. "Now there is some for both of you. Share."

I wanted to ask them how they got to where they were. Were their parents abusive? addicted? crazy? Were they even around at all? Here I was feeling sorry for myself, when I realized just how lucky I was. I had a family that cared about me. I had food and shelter and money.

Those kids must be 14 and 15 now. She could be selling herself on the streets, if she wasn't doing so already. He could be doing the same. Either of them could be dead by an overdose or a beating at the hands of a 100,000 would-be attackers. I couldn't save them. But I can remember them. And I do. Whenever I'm down. Whenever I'm miserable. At least I'm not pre-pubescent on the streets of Dublin. And neither are you. Buck up, folks! I'll get another job. You'll find what you are looking for. And if you don't, at least you are who you are and not some other poor shlub.

posted by Jordan @ 5:01 PM,


At 12:21 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

and we are...the best thing going..... today!!!

At 12:51 AM, Blogger GaryC said...

If that one isn't worthy of a BG comparison, nothing is.



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