Defining Insanity: Bob and The Great Unemployment Debacle of 2012

Bob is a master at defining insanity.

Granted, it’s the popular definition: Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

Still, it’s insanity and he performs it often. Whether he has me once again search Google for bananas or for a cure to insomnia, and never realizes he’s still getting the same results he received the day before; or if he sends out the same package to the same investor who rejected him last time, he constantly leans on repetitive action as a way of getting things done.

I’m sure in his head there’s the old fashioned rude businessman concept of We’ll just wear them down. 

While bullheaded, it might have worked years ago. But in this day and age we have something called ‘automated forms’ that no matter how many times you fill them out, if the information never alters, you will get the exact same response.

And no matter how many times you attempt to explain the concept of automated forms to Bob, you will never make any progress. One has more luck explaining quantum physics to a rhino. One has more luck attempting to fit said rhino up one’s own arse. One will have more fun shoving a full grown rhino into their anus than they would arguing with Bob about such things. Even if the rhino was on fire.

Bob’s insanity loop never became more clear than when Bob asked me to file him for unemployment.

You would think having your main source of income requesting unemployment would unnerve a person a bit. It didn’t unnerve me a bit…it freaked me out an entire shitload.

While charming, the tears of the innocent don’t actually taste great.

I went home and had myself a little cry shower, because the job I had (just recently) gotten was now descending into a holy hell of unemployment. A cry shower is when you lean in the shower repeatedly howling WHYYYYYYYYY?! as water streams down your face. It solves absolutely nothing, but in your mind you realize if there was a movie of your life, this would be an awesome and desperate scene hopefully played out by a very attractive actress (I’m thinking Anne Hathaway).

He’s got the crazy eyes.

After a while I realize no one will ever make a movie of my life because I’m crying in the shower about my crazy boss’ unemployment applications. And no one wants to watch Anne Hathaway apply for an aged Gary Busey’s (seems crazy enough to play Bob) unemployment.

This often leads to more WHYYYYY?!’s, more crying, and less hot water. In the end, I’m all pruny and Bob still wants unemployment.

Ah, but I was a young grasshopper at this point, and didn’t understand the root of why Bob would want unemployment. I had yet to truly see the dark underbelly of the beast named Bob. Without that knowledge, I spent a night in fear–formulating my plan for confronting him on our impending financial doom.

“So, Bob,” I ask as we sit down to go through The List, as if nothing has happened, “Are you going to be letting me go.”

“Why would I let you go?” He blusters, with usual Bob-ishness.

We have potatoes, potatoes and more potatoes.

“Because you need unemployment,” I say. I mean the unemployed don’t get employees.They may get food stamps, they might get evicted, but they certainly don’t get employees. Unemployed with employees is like Communist Russia with non-potato-based foods–it makes no sense.

“Oh, I don’t need it, I just think that if there’s all that money sitting there that I paid into, I should have it, right?”

I don’t think I have ever been so excited to hear that Bob’s greed exceeded his good sense. He may have a black black heart, but that crusty rotted thing is a soulless heart with money that will eventually find its way to my landlord.

That was my cracker, Bob, not yours.

On the other hand, I realize Bob is also the reason why children are starving in Africa. I mean, sure, he’s not wandering over to snatch food from the hands of African babies…but I bet if it turned him a profit he might. No, Bob is just another in the long line of rich people that think everything they own and earn should be only theirs–that all things given out must turn a profit. Charity is designed for evading taxes and making one’s public profile look good. Why give to public programs if public programs aren’t giving to you? I’m not a political person, but this attitude goes beyond the political and into basic human greed.


And now for a real opponent!

It is also a flawed logic on his part. Bob is wealthy because his parents were wealthy, he was given everything he has. It was all a big gift. He has never actually needed to work, never needed to do anything other than manage the wealth his family funneled into his accounts. Instead he’s dumped it all into failed start-ups and tickets to Man of La Mancha.

(I also find it ironic that one of the most foolish and lost men I have ever met is truly infatuated with Man of La Mancha. One day I will find him fighting windmills.)

All unpleasant facts aside, Bob believes he is due unemployment checks. “So push the button,” he says grinning at me as if he’s located a damned leprechaun to chase to a pot of gold,”and make it happen.”

Oh, THERE’S that unemployment button!

Bob also thinks that there is a random button marked ‘unemployment’ in the nether regions of the computer, and by pushing it I can magically send him checks in the mail.

“Bob, applying for Unemployment is a long process, and I don’t believe you’re applicable.”

“Why not?!” He says, starting to get angry. Remember, I’m no master at Bob-ism yet and I’m a little scared at this display of agression.

“Well, you were fired from your last position, correct?”

After running a company into bankruptcy, Bob was shitcanned as CEO and CFO. He fought it tooth and nail.

“I resigned before I was fired,” he snaps back.

He resigned the same day they fired him. A tactic that I don’t really comprehend. The professional equivalent of sour grapes. About as effective as telling a broken down car that  you were taking it to the junkyard anyways.

“Well if you resign, you don’t get unemployment.”

“Why not?”


It’s like dealing with a two year old. How can he not see the issue at hand? How can I not beat him to death for constantly questioning sound information? How on Mother Mary’s Tit did six years of education lead to me explaining the finer points of unemployment applications to my boss?

I use my best calm voice, pretend I’m talking to a three-year-old, or perhaps a teenager that thinks they’re right and is willing to throw a tantrum if you take the wrong step. Come to think of it, three year-olds and teenagers are a lot alike. They leave food all over your car, disrupt your sleep, and generally irritate the hell out of you. At least teenagers don’t pull off their underthings and poop on the floor.

And now for my free money!

Anyways, I approach the unemployment explanation carefully: “Bob, if you could get unemployment after resigning, then most everyone would just resign and collect their checks. The system wouldn’t work.”

“Then I was fired, put that on the form.”


Check the map, I swear it’s a right after the Red Sea.

I sigh the kind of deep sorrowful sigh the Jews must have when realizing they probably took another wrong turn in the desert and likely someone was sinning so some of them were going to get smoted before they made it to the freakin’ promised land.

“I can’t lie on a government form, Bob.”

“You won’t be lying, it’s my form,” he said, essentially green-lighting me to assist him in Federal fraud. Did I mention how much I love this job?

“I don’t feel comfortable with this, Bob. Plus, they don’t give you unemployment if you’re fired. Then everybody would be getting themselves fired and live off the government.”

“I’m not asking you to do anything illegal.” Yes he is.

Not a one of these given.

“And I don’t want to make you feel uncomfortable.” Like he could give a flying monkey’s fuck.

“But push. the. button.”

This last phrase is enunciated as if my English wasn’t quite good enough for me to understand the first time that it was the moment to hit a magical computer key and send free money his way. It was also the end of the conversation. The first of many conversations on unemployment that would prove his insanity and become the final breaking point for my professionalism.

I completed the form, saying he was fired, which in reality he was, so I guess the fraud charges aren’t pending just yet. And sure enough a month later he gets a letter saying he is not eligible for unemployment.

“This can’t be right,” he says, waving the official letter in my face, “Get them on the phone.”

The epicenter of the Unemployment Department.

I once was on unemployment. I don’t believe they actually have phones. I think they have an intricately connected system of automated answering machines stocked with endless loops of bad wait music. I think that there are only five employees in the entire Unemployment branch of the government and not a single one has a fuck to give to anyone else.

“Bob, I will never get through to them, those phone lines are always tied up,” I protest. But as we know, me protesting is my own display of insanity. I mean, over and over I try to feed him good common sense expecting a favorable and different outcome and every time he responds with the idiocratic crapola that he thinks is better than God’s word. I am insane, because the outcome will never differ, unless I change the approach. See: GIVING IN. See: GIVING UP. See: QUITTING YOUR FREAKING JOB AND GETTING A LIFE WITHOUT BOB.

Hah, he pays me too much for me to change that pattern just yet. Guess I’ll wallow in my own constant definition of insanity.

And that’s another call for Unemployment I won’t be answering today.

“I don’t care,” he says to my argument about the endless hours I will spend on the phone with Unemployment’s selection of muzak, “This is what I pay your for.”

I wonder if he ever received unemployment whether or not he could continue using that phrase. Perhaps I could point out that, No, Bob, you are not paying me to do this. Currently the United States government is paying me to research Human Growth Hormone and its possible uses for immortality.

Even if I did say that, nothing would come of it, and I’d still be Googling the fountain of youth at the end of the day.

Look at all the work I’m doing.

So I tell Bob I’m calling Unemployment and I walk over to the bar and sit down and order a beer. The bartender asks me what I’m up to, and I say, “Calling Unemployment.”

“Where’s your phone?” she says, noticing a distinct lack of bluetooth ear.

“It’s much more effective to send out a wish and a prayer,” I say, downing the bottle, “I’m gonna write a request, stick it in this and toss it in the ocean. I expect I’ll hear back from them in due course.”

I think the bartender believes I’ve already gone mad. Perhaps I have.

Dear God, someone please answer!

Eventually Bob gets tired of hearing my statement that I can’t get through and he takes it a dangerous step into ‘my territory’ by insisting we call Unemployment together, sitting in the office listening to muzak. I have rarely had long stretches of torment. I remember my appendix exploding, the days in the hospital after my car wreck which left me with a shattered elbow, and one particularly long one-woman show that made no sense and included the kind of nudity no one wants to see. None of these excruciating moments could even compare to the Unemployment Muzak Incident of 2012.

I was left hanging out in the Bob-scented atmosphere, trying not to touch the pillows since he’d revealed he ‘likes to lay down’ on the couch I sit on daily, worried that unemployment would never pick up and all four hours left in the day would be in the Bob-aroma with his snorts and snuffles accompanying the image of him picking at his nose and shuffling papers back and forth, nothing ever really getting done.

No unemployment for you!

But sometimes God remembers me, sometimes He shines down His grace and mercy. Or He just feels really shitty that I somehow got stuck in the service of a lesser demon and gives me a goddamned (not sure if that phrase works here) break. Anyways, one of the five lone unemployment employees picked up, and explained to Bob that if he was fired or resigned, he is not eligible for unemployment.

Bob nods and agrees.


I smolder within, a volcano of boiling hot I-TOLD-YOU-SO anger.

But it’s done, we’ve applied, we’ve been rejected, we’ve had it explained so we can move on…right?

Just push the button!

Two weeks later Bob has me apply for Unemployment. “Push the button,” he says and when I bring up our phenomenal call, he doesn’t recall what she said to him. “Just try again,” he says, picking at a particularly stubborn booger, “You never know. They might just give it to us this time.”

The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.

This, dear readers, is why I am scared.

Because every day I walk into work hoping it will be a steady, sensible, good day.

And these expectations are insane.

I am losing my mind.


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