A Brother's Story : Part 2
The progress of economic debilitation.
A Brother’s Story: Part 2
Work? There wasn’t any for those looking in los Angeles, California.
The bigger they are; the harder they fall. And L.A., the biggest economy on the West Coast; had one of the highest rates of unemployment in the nation; it had fallen hard!
When the economy crashed in L.A., millions of well meaning, hardworking citizens; went down with it.
Black; white, Hispanic; it didn’t matter. At the height of the recession; L. A.’s official unemployment rate exceeded 16%. No fewer than 3 million people; eager and willing to work, were left in an endless loop of application and rejection. My brother Patrick; was one of those people.
Moving back to L.A. in the fall of 2008, would prove to be a financial,as well as an emotionally debilitating event; for the unemployed estimating engineer that was my brother.
He would latter tell me, that he had submitted no fewer than 124 applications for employment; without the benefit of an acceptance letter.
Sure, he would work a week or two at low paying warehouse stocking or driving jobs. But, taking into account the commute time; fuel costs, and the added expense of after school care; for his son Joseph, Pat would lose money working.
My brother would soon become an expert at the submittal of job applications; via work websites. He was registered on no fewer than five work sites; such as Monster, and the Ladders.
According to Patrick… They weren’t working either!
"The sites were in the business of selling lists, as well as charging prospects for resume writing services; and employers?, for listing of job openings."
These companies were simply in the business of job hunting.
According to Pat, "Every H.R. director in the United States used these services to stay in compliance with state and federal laws; as they pertained to the fair access of employment to all that might qualify."
He would share with me his belief that it was not uncommon for a posted job opening;,to be filled internally; before hitting the Web.
On our weekly phone call, I began to hear the frustration in his voice, downgrade to an anti-social rant;as he seemingly grew measurable less fond of humanity; as time marched toward an inevitable financial, as well as psychological bankruptcy.
A recession forced closure of business, followed by divorce; lead to a seemingly well planned and executed move, that would none the less result in further disappointment.
The one shining light in Patrick’s life was his youngest son Joseph. An unusually large and bright lad of 15, Joseph joined his father in L.A.; to live as well as attend school. According to Pat; living with Joseph was both a blessing and a burden. As the money ran low, Joseph’s tuition, as well as the food bill, would later compel Patrick to fly him back to the Redwoods; for a summer session with his mother.
Pat began to lose weight as he adjusted his own intake of food; to subsidize the diet of his growing teenaged son.
As a single father, working two part time jobs, while hunting full time for a sustaining one; the load would prove to be a bit too much for my Brother.
His health began to noticeably deteriorate. The once 300 pound man, would lose no less than 80lbs in six months. He would Attribute his weight loss to a new dietary, exercise program.
Sure, we as a family kicked in a few bucks from time to time. The school that Joseph attended created a partial scholarship for the boy. A sweet kid; as well as a decent student.
You could hear the pride in his father’s voice as he spoke of his son.
Turns out that acid reflux can kill you.
You can pop as many tumms as you like; acid reflux does not repair itself. Exasperate the condition by consuming a few too many parts of Jim Beam with your water; and you have a recipe for disaster.
Pat had suffered with acid reflux for decades. It would come and go as he changed his eating and drinking habits. The problem is that stomach acid will burn and scar not only your esophagus; but the hiatal sphincter muscle as well. Change your diet; loss 60 or 70 pounds, as Patrick did in 2009; and you have a chance at reversing some of the causes of excess stomach acid; but, you haven’t reversed the damage residual of years of “walking it off.”
Good news! A bit too late…
I received the phone call from Patrick sometime in October 2010. He had received an open door invitation to interview with Home Depot; as an outside home improvement sales manager. Patrick was guardedly excited.
He bounced the position off of his Big Brother; I told him to go for it!
Pat made it through the three stage interview process, and had committed to company sales training in Atlanta Georgia. Having to spend his last few bucks on an Airline Ticket;was a bit of a stretch. The journey would prove to be a fateful trip.
We stayed in touch by cell phone; as he participated in sales seminars, lectures; lunch and dinner. The classes went well! It was the eating that became the challenge for Pat.
Pat could not hold down his food. It would come back up before it could be digested; not pretty!
Returning home to L.A.; after a week in Atlanta, Pat was scheduled to begin his carrier with Home Depot; that following Monday.
On Monday morning, Joseph found his father Patrick passed out on the Bathroom floor; in a rather large pool of blood.
Not a good omen for his first day of work; on the first 'real' job Patrick had secured in over two years.
To be continued.