Thursday, October 27, 2011

Being Laid Off Blows

by Rose A. Valenta

I was looking for something to read the other day and the following summary of "The Bridges of Madison County" appeared on a film-oriented web site. However, if you are a laid-off, career-oriented, "A" personality like myself, I would not recommend that you read the book:

"The path of Francesca Johnson's future seems destined when an unexpected fork in the road causes her to question everything she had come to expect from life.

While her husband and children are away at the Illinois state fair in the Summer of 1965, Robert Kincaid happens upon the Johnson farm and asks Francesca for directions to Rosamunde Bridge. He explains that he is on assignment from National Geographic magazine to photograph the bridges of Madison County. She agrees to show him to the bridges and thus begins the bittersweet and all-too-brief romance of her life.

Through the pain of separation from her secret love and the stark isolation she feels as the details of her life consume her, she writes down the story of this four-day love affair in a 3-volume diary. The diary is found by her children among her possessions and alongside Robert Kincaid's possessions after Francesca is dead.

The message they take from the diaries is one of hope that they will do what is necessary to find happiness in their lives -- whatever is necessary. After learning that Robert Kincaid's cremated remains were scattered off Rosamunde Bridge and that their mother requested a similar disposition for her own ashes, the children must decide whether to honor their mother's final wishes or bury her alongside their father as the family had planned.

Adapted from the novel by Robert Waller, this is the story of love that happens just once in a lifetime -- if you're lucky."

Why not read it, you ask?

I hate to tell you, but this story reminds me of a silent film Concertino for Violin. If you are an A-type working mom or dad, you will never figure out how a four-day fling can turn into a life-long tear jerker.

If you want to read about boredom, imagine yourself as a stay-at-home mom or dad of several children living in a place like Madison County. After about one week of unemployment, while the kids are in school, you will put on your kid's Y-Gen jeans, just for the hell of it, to see what your butt crack looks like in broad daylight; put the baseball cap on backwards; hang a Dora doll with a slip-knot off the banister before running the vacuum cleaner; then, you will get out the baseball bat and beat the crap out of a cabbage patch doll, which will someday cost you a VAT Tax at Toys ‘R US.

If you are a sheer genius, you will understand that any strange guy in a pickup truck, like the one in Madison County, who rings your door bell to ask for directions is probably also in the sex offender database and has been casing your property for the last three months; plus isn't "Rosamunde" something Houdini was supposed to say if he ever came back from the dead? Obviously, this guy is going to eat and run, and steal a six-pack, so you would never even let him in the house.

Another thing to watch out for are encyclopedia salesmen, telephone solicitors, and motivational speakers, who try to suck you into MLM plans. Somehow, these people get your e-mail address from the unemployment office and do a great job trying to get your $29.95 to "cold call" on your friends and family. You end up not only being unemployed, but your whole family hates you and your friends think you are just another Ponzi schemer.

So, what should you do with your spare time?

Turn your basement into a microbrewery. This way, you can enjoy what you do and sell a good product to your friends and family. You can also make your new business eco-friendly, by having your customers come over with a refillable jug, reusable bottle, or other reusable container to transport the beer - just like the old days after prohibition and before the stock market crash.

You can also go into the kids' computer room and give the Numa Numa Guy a run for his money on YouTube; write jokes for Jay Leno; or you can do standup comedy. For instance, just the other day, I was standing outside Starbucks selling #2 pencils to pay the electric bill, when Jay Leno decides to go Jaywalking. He comes up to me with a mic and asks "Who wrote 'Who Moved my Cheese?" I stood there for a few seconds, dumbfounded look on my face, and the most logical answer I could think of was "Chaz Bono?"

It gets better, watch:

The book is available online at