Because one can never get one's fill of first-person newspaper Sunday magazine stories by unemployed people in which nothing much happens, I read a cover story in the Washington Post Magazine called "Terminated," wherein a man named T.M. Shine — and, you will be shocked to learn, he blogs! — gets laid off from his job and watches life collapse into a long malaisey mope-rock montage involving blueberry pancakes, paperwork, tear-inducing episodes of Extreme Makeover, and feeling like a john while meeting his old office manager in an abandoned Krispy Kreme parking lot to pick up the possessions the corporate overlords wouldn't give him time to pack. Unlike Emily Gould, Shine is not pictured in revealing loungewear, or at all. We learn he is: "a little older than Prince and not nearly as old as Jerry Seinfeld." We also learn that Laura, the office manager, is concerned his age/looks make him somehow unappetizing as a prospective hire.
"I'm worried," she says. "Jana is beautiful and younger, and Bob is Bob, but you, you I worry about. You need someplace to go."
But it's hard not to think: "well, Trader Joe's, obviously!" In the movie, he would meet a younger, liberally tattooed ingenue, one of those twentysomething girls in that stage where you're grappling with what comes after precocious, and they would fall in a sort of resigned kind of love. And my friends would go see that movie, just so one of us could eviscerate it on the internet, because there has to be some way to retaliate against the uncomfortable suspicion that being young and beautiful is actually, in this economy and in life, such a necessary scam if you happen to be a female. We should all get to be as deeply pathetic as T.L. Shine!