Unemployment by Aaron Lake-Smith
Posted by Matthew Moyer on September 22, 2010
Aaron Lake-Smith takes a break (unfortunate wording, I know) from producing the top-shelf Big Hands zine to release this one-off minizine, a long meditation on unemployment. Around the time of Barack Obama’s inauguration (a fascinating contrast of HOPE with a depressing daily economic reality), Lake-Smith finds himself joining the ranks of the jobless. What follows is a fascinatingly honest look at the jumble of emotions that comes with being booted to the sidelines of the capitalist machine. While he knows he should be using his time for self-improvement and to work on creative projects, instead he finds himself racing to his computer first thing in the morning to check for job leads and to see if incessantly emailing resumes paid odd, thereafter wandering his neighborhood like a zombie.
A small triumph of turning down underpaid temp work is followed by a rush of doubt and panic, but mostly the days just grind on. The most affecting section is when he stumbles onto a copy of the anarchist zine Days of War, Nights of Love (also available from your Zine Library) and it sets off a chain of memories and thoughts – Where did I go wrong? Should I give it all up on hop on a train? Why am I pitching stories and hustling for work when I think the game might be rigged? His reverie is brought to an abrupt and crushing end when the hipster clerk gives him an “Aren’t you a little old for anarcho-punk?” look. In the end there are no answers, no resolutions, and no jobs forthcoming – and yet, even though he knows better, Lake-Smith a little hope (lowercase) that maybe we can all pull through this. Required reading.