Unemployment Nine: I love a parade

I took a much-needed break from the drudgery and futility of this job hunt yesterday and went to the St. Patrick’s Day parade for the first time in many years. I had a blast and I’m very glad I went.

Blarney

Blarney

Between getting into a restricted viewing area thanks to a good friend, meeting Blarney the Irish Terrier and just enjoying all the colors and sights, it was a great afternoon. And we naturally topped it off with Guinness, corned beef and even a little Jameson.

I seriously needed the time away from this apartment and this PC. Aside from the obvious frustration of being unemployed for more than five months, I got some more bad news Monday night.

First, I found out that another good friend of mine was laid off. Then, literally minutes later, my old roommate called to tell me about huge cuts at her former place of employment (she’s fine — she hadn’t worked there for a while).

Seriously, does it ever end?

The job listings are starting to pick up a little bit, which is good, but when you consider the 70+ résumés I sent out in January and February without a single response, it’s hard to get excited.

But at least for one day, I got to enjoy life, relax and have some fun. And there’s more of that on the way.

2009 St. Patricks Day parade

2009 St. Patrick's Day parade

Unemployment Nine: Taking advantage of my freedom

My frustrations with being unemployed have been pretty well chronicled by now. But with the approach of warm weather and baseball season, while my job hunt may still suck, things are taking a turn for the better in terms of fun activities to keep myself busy.

Riu Palace Las Americas, Cancun

Riu Palace Las Americas, Cancun

Naturally, I will stay vigilant on my search for a new job. And as much fun as the stuff I’m about to discuss will be, I’d rather be employed. But it’s time to start taking advantage of the kind of time off I likely won’t have again until after I retire.

Tomorrow, I will attend the St. Patrick’s Day Parade for the first time in years. Thanks to a good friend, I’ll be in one of the viewing stands, which I’ve never done.

Next Thursday, my girlfriend and I leave for a long weekend in Cancun, at the Riu Palace Las Americas. I can already taste the tropical drinks at poolside.

Then, after arriving back in the States, hopefully with a tan, it’s time for baseball.

First, the Yankees will hold a workout at the new Yankee Stadium, open to full-season-ticket holders, April 2. Why not? I might as well make my first trip to the new ballpark.

Yankee Stadium

Yankee Stadium

The following night, I have tickets for the Cubs-Yankees exhibition game.

Then, if I can get a cheap ticket, Saturday afternoon, April 4, I may try to go to the Red Sox-Mets exhibition game at the new ballpark in Queens, Citi Field. I really don’t care where I sit, so I’ll take any ticket. I just want to see another new stadium.

Oriole Park at Camden Yards

Oriole Park at Camden Yards

The Yankees open the regular season Monday, April 6 in Baltimore, and I was able to get face-value tickets via Ticketmaster, so I’m going to a road Opening Day for the first time ever. The game time is perfect: 4:05 p.m., which means I can leave at a reasonable hour and give myself plenty of time to enjoy Inner Harbor food (crab cakes!) and microbrews (Wharf Rat Porter) before gametime, and still get home at a reasonable hour.

Opening Day at the new Yankee Stadium is Thursday, April 16, and the Yankees and Indians also have a day game scheduled the following day.

Barring lightning striking during this dull job search, I hope to attend all of those. I’d never be able to do all of this stuff if I were employed.

So I guess there is some good to being out of work, after all. But in a perfect world, I’d start a new job Monday, April 20.

Mc9?

I was adopted and never had the burning desire to research my natural parents. I’ve always been fine with the fact that I was adopted, and my lack of desire to pursue the truth isn’t based on resentment — rather, the opposite: I’ve always assumed there was a good reason for what happened and left it at that.

McJew

McJew

When I was a kid, a lot of people guessed that I was German because of my platinum blonde hair and blue eyes — practically Hitler’s wet dream. But since my hair darkened around age six, the guess I hear the most is Irish.
As I’ve grown older, I’ve actually found myself drifting toward many Irish traits and products.

I definitely like to have a few drinks, and my beer of choice from the first time I tried it has been Guinness.

I love Irish whiskey — John Powers, Jameson, Tullamore Dew, Bushmills.

I took a liking to Irish music after initially playing it on jukeboxes to annoy a friend of mine who hated it, and I consistently listen to The Pogues (just saw them this past Friday), the Dropkick Murphys, Black 47, the Wolfe Tones, the Clancy Brothers, The Tossers, etc.

And I love the way the Irish express themselves. They always seem to find a nugget of humor, often self-depreciating, in the direst circumstances.

I was brought up Jewish, but my family isn’t very religious and, after my Bar Mitzvah, I pretty much dropped religion. I still consider myself Jewish, although I love to tweak people by telling them Yankee baseball is my religion.

I’m certainly not ashamed of being Jewish, and I’d never even think about converting to another religion, but I find religion in general, frankly, to be a gigantic bore, and nothing I’ve ever heard in a house of worship ever really moved me.

Yankee baseball being my religion isn’t that far from the truth, actually. I’ve been far more moved by Yankee rallies, Nets buzzer-beaters and Cowboys sacks of the opposing quarterback on third down than by anything from any religion. If this offends anyone, it’s not meant to, but that’s how I feel.

So is it strange that I feel so much more in touch with the Irish — which I may or may not actually be part of — than with the religion of my childhood? Is it weird that being at the Pogues show Friday night almost gave me a sense of pride, or that I’m extremely excited to go to the St. Patrick’s Day parade tomorrow, while nothing in religion has ever given me feelings like that?

Before anyone makes any suggestions about specific houses of worship, religions or whatever for me to try, please save your energy: It won’t work. At the age of 41, I’m not about to suddenly see the light and find inspiration in something that I’ve found to be nothing but a bore, a chore and a task for most of my life. Religions in general make no attempt to change with the times, and they’re not for me.

Writing this almost makes me want to find out if I am, indeed, of Irish descent. But after 41 years, I will more than likely leave things alone.

That being said, I will not feel the least bit guilty while I’m hoisting a pint of Guinness in a pub somewhere in Manhattan after tomorrow’s parade. I just wanted to get this off my chest, I guess.