I am depressed.
I need a Jamba Juice.
There is a small problem though. I have no money. Literally none. This makes buying things rather difficult.
I didn't want it to come to this...
I reach under my bed and come up with a small wooden box. The box used to contain over $200 in change--I'd been saving it since I was a kid. All that's left now are a few quarters, and some half-dollars and silver dollars that I never intended to spend. I reluctantly pluck out two half-dollars and the last of the quarters. The pile of change in my palm is small and pathetic. Looking at it fills me with a deep sadness. I don't believe I've ever been this low in my entire life.
In the car, my gas-light burns angrily. It taunts me. "How could you let it go this far? What did you think was going to happen? That you would be miraculously saved by... by what? Look at yourself. You have nothing. You are nothing. And you have no one to blame but yourself!"
I keep telling myself to turn around, that it's not worth it. I know I'm just buying a smoothie, something I do every day, but the circumstances make me feel like I'm about to blow someone for coke.
I shuffle in and am greeted by the same teenager who always mans the register. I order my usual and sheepishly count the change out into his hand. I've paid with change many times before, but I think my eyes may have betrayed just how low I have sunk. He looks at me differently.
"You know... if you work on the street, you get a 50-cent discount."
"If I what?"
"Well, you're... homeless, right?
I stare at him for a moment and a laugh builds up deep inside me, then escapes as a hearty guffaw.
"You think I'm--"
"Oh sorry. I just thought..."
I know exactly what he thought: "Ted Kaczynski comes in here every day wearing the same gray sweatshirt and jeans and pays for his smoothie in change. He's homeless. No question."
I stop laughing and smile at him.
"You just made my day man."
He smiles back, awkwardly, revealing a mouth full of braces and a state of utter confusion as to how his comment could possibly make a non-homeless-person's day. Eventually, he busies himself making my smoothie.
A short while later I am on the street, a smoothie in my hand and a smile on my face. The clouds have parted, revealing blue sky and a blazing sun; my early morning darkness overcome and all but forgotten. It is a beautiful moment. And I am happy.
Then it hits me.
A year ago I was a well-dressed, clean-cut guy getting paid an insane amount of money to show up late, eat lunch, and miss meetings three days a week.
Today I was mistaken for a homeless person.
I've been struggling to make sense of it all, to find some meaning other than "my life is going to shit." So much has changed. I hit the lowest point in my existence today. But one thing that hasn't changed is my sense of humor. I was laughing then and I'm still laughing now. My life is funny. The details may have changed, but my outlook has not.
One man's pain is another man's pleasure.
Be the other man.
Tragedy once removed is comedy.
Behind every gray cloud is a bright blue sky and a warm yellow sun.
I believe in these things. I really do. I will find my way in this world. There will be peaks and valleys, of course, but I know that if I continue to find the humor in life--no matter where that life takes me--I will always be happy.
P.S. I got a job. And, well, there's just nothing funny about that.