The Sickboy Chronicles – Unemployable

“I have done my best to tolerate the indignity of my current role which, despite my best efforts to elevate it, has turned out nothing like that which we discussed in my employment interview 18 months ago. I have tried to proceed with a singular motivation to do the right thing and to nudge others to do the same. I am proud of what I accomplished here, but at last I am completely put off by the air of arrogance and condescension that surrounds you and your team. For all that I have done to contribute to the success of this organization and the people in it, I have never asked for anything but to be treated with respect. Unfortunately, the pathologically egotistical leaders among you have been unable to grant me my one request. So I will be moving on. Thank you for everything. And Good Luck.”

Yes, Sickboy really talks like that sometimes, particularly at work. And with those words he joins the ranks of the unemployed yet again. This time he’s not going back. Never again will he subject himself to the mind numbing inanity of corporate America and the deluded drones that inhabit it. Don’t be fooled – MBA is nothing more than a euphemism for lobotomy. In a world of buzzwords, conformity, and self-preservation at all costs, there is no place for objectivity and a racing mind full of common sense and good intentions. This is no mere case of sour grapes. The culture of business is truly offensive. Sickboy had no choice but to unplug from the machine.

Having shed the shackles of his cubicle once and for all, Sickboy heads to Tony’s to celebrate his insanity.

Immediately Chloe senses that a burden has been lifted from the shoulders of her most irregular regular.

“Sickboy! You look like your in good spirits for a change. You look… relaxed.”

“Yeah, Chloe, well I finally did it. I said my piece at work. I called them on their bullshit, and told them that I’m moving on. They won’t have me to do their dirty work any more.”

In less than a second Chloe’s sardonic reflexes kick in.

“It’s about time. I’m sure they were just devastated. What are you going to do now?”

“I’ll figure something out.”

The truth is Sickboy has no idea what to do next. Unemployment was not the most practical choice, especially given the current state of the economy, but the existential burdens of postmodern capitalistic life had become too much to handle. Sickboy has yet to find his calling, and it is becoming more and more likely that his condition may prevent him from ever finding it. Sickboy is an artist without a medium… unless, of course, self loathing and social implosion come to be considered art.

As Sickboy sinks into oblivion, Chloe probes a little further.

“What about writing? Some of your stuff was pretty cool.”

Chloe is referring to the mental masturbation that Sickboy posted online last Spring. He would chase down a thought and try to blow it up to the size of a page, scribbling about love and friendship and drinking and depression and creepy, crazy, manic, creative flow. It was another awkward episode in one perpetually awkward lifetime.

“No. I’m done with that shit. Sometimes I still can’t believe just how weird that was. I can barely bring myself to show my face around here any more. Thank God for medicine.”

Of course, by medicine, the boy means Jim Beam.

Chloe pours him two shots, one of Beam and one of encouragement.

“Look, Sickboy. Don’t be so hard on yourself. I’ve been tending bar for 15 years, and I have seen a lot of drinkers, drunks and bar stool philosophers. You’re not so bad. I mean, you’re not the strangest guy to ever pass through here. Something will come up.”

“Geez, thanks, Chloe.”

“Don’t get me wrong… you’re definitely strange… but in an interesting way. A good way. And you know what… I like you. And you know who else likes you?”

“The bourbon distillers of Kentucky? … for demanding their supply?”

“No, smartass. Jenny, that’s who. Jenny likes you.”

Sickboy lights up like a kid on Christmas morning. He’s such a simple being.

“Wow. She’s the best, Chloe. I love her. I really do.”

“So why do you keep coming around here and getting wasted all the time? Can’t you just hang out? Get your shit together, kid. It’s painful to watch you.”

Chloe is right. Sickboy is pathetic – a grown man so lacking in confidence and direction that he can only drink to the point of dementia and then scribble little diddies on his PC the next day. There has to be a better way.

“I know, Chloe. I know. I’m a fuckin’ idiot. I just struggle so much all the time. The way I feel about that girl… it just seemed right to tell her in weird and memorable ways. You know what I mean? But then the tide rolls out and takes my confidence with it, and I just keep sinking deeper into the wet sand. I need a girl willing to take a chance on me, but I hate to put that burden on someone I care about so much. See? It’s a Catch-22.”

Chloe smiles.

“You know, Sickboy. I feel like I’m getting to understand you a little more each time you come around. I’m rooting for you.”

“Great. Now I have to add YOU to the long list of people in my life who I have let down.”

Then Sickboy throws back what turns out to be his last shot ever. After one last look around the bar, he steps outside and merges with the foot traffic headed west on Newport Avenue toward the pier. On the street in Ocean Beach, Sickboy finally has found a home.


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