Friday, April 11, 2014


I am minded of an old saw about raining and pouring.

As I think is fairly common for those in my position--i.e., not having enough money--I have taken on some freelance work, having submitted my name to the university's writing center as a conversation partner and proofreader and having signed on with a writing group. I had long since put my name in with a tutoring agency, which worked better in The City than away from it. For a while, I only got a trickle from such things--a welcome trickle, to be sure, but not enough to pay any bills. That, however, has seemed to change recently. I have had several large orders come in from the writing group, for which I was glad (because they came with larger payouts, so that I could use the money to pay a bill this time), and I have at least two proofreading jobs on my desk, one of which is due Sunday afternoon. The other is something of a rush job, although its due date is not confirmed. All is in addition to my usual work in the classroom and on The Work, and it will be somewhat complicated by my having been summoned back to jury duty.

How I will handle all of the fun and excitement that is coming my way is unclear to me. It is quite a bit to do, and, despite how bad I am at it, I am a family man, and so I have obligations within the home as well as outside the home. Hardly unique, I know, and I perhaps ought not to grouse about it so much; it is the traditional role, and I should be happy to conform to sets of standards from which I benefit due to societally conferred privilege. I am a heterosexual Anglo-Saxon Protestant man of the middle class, exactly the kind of person whose assumptions are supposed to be taken as (and determined by) the social systems that have been set up and that have grown up in the US. I am supposed to feel the privilege of being called to serve as a juror and to have so much work to do as I have, and I should never not be working. That is the American way, as I recall, the embodiment of the much-touted Protestant work ethic that in the day of the old folks who complain bitterly about the young (Do I still count as young?) was "what made this country great." In that system, a man should work until he cannot work anymore, and then he should be ashamed that he did not get more work done--but he dare not give voice to his shame, because expressing emotion is a weakness, excusable only in rare and certain circumstances that do not apply at the moment.

If I return for a moment to the metaphor implied, that work is like water and currently falls abundantly from the heavens, I have to wonder how many of us stare blankly upwards, mouths hanging open absently, the water filling our lungs as we numbly wait for...something.

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