August 06, 2009

Your Assignment, Should You Choose to Accept - 8/6/09

It's that time again, for the compelling and/or funny prompts from Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop. This week's prompts:
1. What's ailing you? Diagnose yourself with a syndrome.
(inspired by Kimberly from Kamp KK)

2. Share with us something you made by hand.
(inspired by Texan Mama via email)

3. Fess up. Tell us what you found after spying on someone.
(inspired by The Scattered Mind of a Tattooed Mini Van Mom)

4. "How are y'all doing it? This summer, I mean? I cannot remember ever being as busy as we've been over the past two months. Those of you who are blogging daily, being as witty and entertaining as ever...I beg of you...HOW?"
(inspired by Lula of Lulaville)

5. What are you afraid of?
(inspired by Life with Kaishon)

Let's give #1 a go, shall we?

I have been diagnosed with EUM - Eternal Unemployment Melancholia.

I have been unemployed so long, if I were Dumbo's mother, I'd have had the time to give him a new sibling. I have even been unemployed so long, I have all day to look up the gestation period of an elephant.

I decided to list my syndrome like they do on WebMd.


What is Eternal Unemployment Melancholia (EUM)? EUM is characterized by pain in the coccyx (tailbone, aka ass), a lighter wallet, and a more ample derriere, due to the endless hours spent in front of the computer looking for a non-existent job. Eyestrain is common among EUM sufferers (and suffer they do). Foot pain is common among patients who pound the pavement looking for work. EUM sufferers are also at an increased risk for Carpal Tunnel Syndrome, from playing too many damned games of Bubble Shooter searching online job sites while waiting for that next job to come in.


EUM is caused by this swirling maelstrom of negativity called the economic recession. As long as corporate America cares only about profit, and more jobs are outsourced to India and China, EUM will be a prevalent diagnosis. The incidence of EUM has increased dramatically over the last two years. DOL estimates that rates could run as high as 10.8% before relief is felt.

Even without a definitive diagnosis of EUM, patients are themselves aware that they suffer from this disorder. Constant comments about sitting on one's ass collecting unemployment are counterproductive.


Resentment, especially of people who flaunt their good fortune
Pain in the coccyx (tailbone)
Weight gain/loss
Verbal outbursts
Inability to change out of pajamas until well after noon

There is also a strong psychological component to EUM. Patients with EUM often report feelings of hopelessness, uselessness (like normally found in clinical depression), and report a diminishing sense of self-esteem.

Important Note:

Friends and family members of the patient should NOT constantly remind the patient that something must be wrong with them, that there's no reason not to have a job after this long. This is VITAL. Stop it, all of you.

How is EUM diagnosed?

Diagnosis is not made by a doctor. Commonly, the patient's state Department of Labor determines when a patient is classified as having EUM. Typically, diagnosis is made after 26 weeks' of unemployment compensation has been dispensed.

Note: In this economic downturn, patients have been given an extension of unemployment compensation, resulting in a later diagnosis of EUM.

How is EUM treated?

Duh, by getting a job, of course! EUM will spontaneously go into remission when the patient finds comparable gainful employment, though feelings of resentment tend to take longer to resolve.

Patients with EUM cannot visit their physician for care. EUM patients have no health insurance, unless they can afford the exorbitant COBRA insurance rates.


  1. I'm going to have to add EUM to my list of illnesses. At this rate I'll be in hospice in weeks. {*grin*}

  2. COBRA is a load of crap. Seriously. I love your diagnosis. Though you might also be spending too much time on WebMD.

  3. Kristen,
    I only went there ONCE to get the headings. True, I did stay there once I got there...but it was just once, I swear!

  4. I think EUM mught reach epidimic proportions. You are not alone.

    P.S: I love Atwood too. I met her at a writing conference and followed her around like she was a rock star. She was so sweet, didn't even apply for a restraining order.

  5. Hubby is unemployed and I'm the one suffering from EUM... which is totally unfair and possibly outside the boundaries of communicable diseases you can impose upon your spouse. Just sayin'

  6. Hubby is unemployed and I'm the one suffering from EUM... which is totally unfair and possibly outside the boundaries of communicable diseases you can impose upon your spouse. Just sayin'

  7. Yuck. I am now TOTALLY going to hope I avoid EUM like the plague. And like Ebola. And MERSA.

    Nope, I do not want make it sound less than pleasant.

    Here's hoping you're CURED soon!

    Hallie :)

  8. Visiting you from Mama Kat's blog. I really enjoyed your post today. Very witty -- and how true! I will come back and visit for sure!

    ~ Jennifer

  9. Cute post. I am very familiar with this syndrome, as my hubby suffered from it for far too long.

  10. I hope you find a cure for your gut-wrenching disease!

  11. Oh, this made me feel frustrated and sad for you. Too bad you can't make a million dollars with your blog. It sure does have a catchy title : )

  12. sadly I think many are suffering from this same disease!!

  13. Your EUM made me laugh. I'm in a bit of a different situation now but I understand a little bit. At least you have humor about it.

  14. That was BRILLIANT!!!

    Maybe you should write for money!

  15. I'm so sorry that you are suffering from this very real illness.

    BTW, your blog is lookin' mighty pretty.

  16. Thanks for finally CORRECTLY diagnosing my husband's ailment. I think you should see about having this officially posted on WebMD.

  17. I am hoping to never suffer from EUM! You did a great job of the disgnostic!
    Oh and I don't think there is anything wrong with you!

  18. Awesome. Love the list of symptoms!

  19. This is so well written, but I'm so sorry you are experiencing it!

  20. After hitting some of the other posts from Mama Kat's Writer's Workshop - yep, gonna have to add THIS syndrome to my list.
    I'm in month SEVEN of unemployment. First was elation - OMG I don't have to go to HELL every day anymore!!! Then fear - how is a measly UC check going to do anything? Then hope - I'll get a better job. Now that we're (both hubby AND I are suffering from this) fast approaching the cutoff of even the extended benefits... true panic is setting in. WTF are we supposed to do now???
    Just waiting for that miracle cure (amazing turnaround, recession is OVER) to come. Or at least a greeter job at Walmart, at this point :)

  21. OK...this was a brilliant post. Sad that you could write it ... but brilliant.


Thanks for stopping by. I love your comments...I get all warm inside just reading them!