Friday, February 03, 2006

Putting the 'mutual' in mutual obligation. This week, my tedious Centrelink obligations meant that I had to apply for ten jobs in two days. Did I tell you that things have got so bad that I've resorted to asking for money from my Uncle Johnny? Well, they make you apply for ten jobs a fortnight, and if you don't show up at interviews or accept job offers, no matter how distasteful or unrelated to your experience and interests, then they'll cut you off. After three months, they start getting hard-arsed and requiring you to do the dreaded 'mutual obligation'. I have put 'part-time work' down as my preferred mutual obligation activity. It was all very depressingly Orwellian, down to the absurd bureacracy. The secret, apparently, is to lie your pants off and not be afraid to contradict anything you've previously told them.

Unfortunately, I am probably the most lamely honest dole bludger since that woman who wrote a gobsmacked sob story for The Age about it. I have actually applied for these jobs, rather than just copying down phone numbers of hospitality ads in the Epicure. On the plus side, it has made me far less picky and hesitant - even if I'm not especially well qualified, I'll apply anyway. And I don't get too depressed if they reject me or never even get back to me, because it's still something for the ole dole diary.

As a result, I have got myself into somewhat of a pickle. I have to go to a job interview on Monday, proofreading classified ads for a company called Salefest. Yes, Salefest! In McKinnon. I don't even know where that is, except that it's in Zone 2. I don't even care if they read this, because I totally don't want the job, but I had to fill out my dole diary somehow. I put in a crappy application, yet they called me back within hours asking me to interview with them. They must be having trouble getting someone in: this job has been advertised for weeks and I've deliberately avoided applying for it. I have been trying to put them off by rescheduling the interview saying I am having trouble meeting a deadline, but she just thanked me for the courtesy of rescheduling! Gah! Obviously I can't put a foot wrong with these people. What a farce.

I have always been one to make sex analogies for every occasion. So I was thinking today that it's a pity there's no Centrelink for single people who can't get laid. Just imagine. You would apply to Sexerlink and they would make you provide all sorts of humiliating documentation to determine how long it had been since your last root, including a "separation certificate" from your last partner. Then they would make you proposition ten people per fortnight, and write down their names and phone numbers in a booklet. (Sexerlink would have the right to call up these people and confirm that you did in fact try it on). And it doesn't matter how unattractive the person: if they are willing to sleep with you, you've gotta fuck 'em.

So after three months of letting you give it your best shot, it would be time for Mutual Knobligation to make sure you're "knob ready". They'd make you answer a questionnaire with questions like "Are you willing to travel up to 90 minutes to answer a booty call?" and "If required, can you start a new relationship with one day's notice?" They'd make you attend compulsory pick-up line and body language seminars with your Knob Network Partner. You'd be compulsorily subscribed to RSVP with a lame profile that your Knob Network would prepare for you, and you would have to show up to dates with anyone who asked, regardless of how little you want to have sex with them.

And you'd have to hand in fortnightly forms with people's names and phone numbers. They'd ask:
Sexerlink would still force you to proposition people and go on dates, and would only stop bothering you when you got into a steady relationship. You'd hate it, but it would be good for you, too, because you'd have to get over your pickiness, crippling shyness and loathing of being pushy. You might enjoy yourself. And you might even fall in love along the way.

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