I’m going to be honest: I get jealous over stupid shit, and I bet if you really think about it, you do too. When I saw a story this weekend about a fired Cracker Barrel employee whose husband demanded answers from the company’s corporate Facebook page, I got jealous. Not because I ever wanted to work for the company—their food is gross, they have almost no options for vegans except baked potatoes, and all that old-fashioned crap in their gift shop is just for people my parents’ age—but because of all the viral attention she got after being fired. I mean, I’ve been fired. Lots of people get fired every day, and most of us don’t get the kind of viral attention that will surely lead to tons of new job opportunities for Brad’s wife, Nanette.
Although I know absolutely nothing about Nanette or the Cracker Barrel she worked for, I’m going to go ahead and take a guess at why she was fired. She worked there for eleven years, and they probably wanted to replace her with a less-experienced employee they could pay less. (Again, I know nothing about this situation and could be totally wrong. For all I know, she was fired for forgetting to order more Clark Bars and made-in-China ceramic crap for the lobby gift shop or something.)
But I know firing people and replacing them with cheaper, inexperienced idiots is common. Last year around this time, I was fired from my job for a very similar reason. When I asked if I had done something wrong, my supervisor said, “No, we’re just reorganizing the department and going in a different direction.” The following Monday, I applied for unemployment benefits, and a few days later I was told I wouldn’t be getting them because my employer claimed I was fired for cause. I should have known they were going to screw me over on benefits when I read my termination letter, which said absolutely nothing but, “As of February 12, 2016, your employment at Greedy Bastards, Inc. is terminated.” (Name of company has been changed to protect the guilty, me from a libel suit, and also for sheer accuracy.)
So I’m sitting here thinking I went about things all wrong. I’m not married, but I could have had a relative or friend demand justice on social media. Not because I would want to work for Greedy Bastards ever again—truthfully, I hated the job and the only thing I miss about it is the money, plus who wants to work for someone who might stab you in the back like that at any time? Fuck that shit. BUT I bet Nanette is getting tons of job offers right now, and will likely have her pick of jobs, and that’s not something most people get when they’re fired. Hell, she doesn’t even need to take another job—she could probably start a blog or a YouTube channel and actually make money off it right now, unlike the vast majority of people like me who toil in obscurity, writing blogs no one reads, because they don’t have the popularity of this one person out of thousands who get fired every year, and that makes me jealous.
Why do I get jealous over stupid things? I don’t know, but I do, and I’m not going to stop. Please don’t tell me the grass is always greener, or to be grateful for what I have, or to have a positive attitude, or any of that other bullshit the richest one percent spread around to encourage the masses to settle for less. (As far as I’m concerned, all this gratitude crap is code for, “I’m rich and I want to stay that way, so stop eyeballing my money.”)
This is not the first time I’ve gotten jealous over stupid shit, and I attribute all these incidents to my lack of money. Period. I remember one time I was running on a treadmill at the gym, and the TVs were all muted but had closed captioning, but usually the commercials weren’t captioned. So this particular day an ad came on that I hadn’t seen before. It appeared to be for some sort of spa—there were all these shots of palm trees, swimming pools, people getting hot stone massages. And I became insanely jealous, thinking how much I hated the people who could afford to go to this beautiful spa when I couldn’t even afford to drive to my cousin’s wedding or get a room at the Motel Fucking Six.
Then the ad ended at they popped up a slate, and I finally got to see what this place was that I so desperately wished I could afford: It was a rehab clinic for addicts. Okay, I’ll admit I felt a little silly when I realized it was basically a fancy prison and they just edited out the bars on the windows. I mean, you would have to have bars on the windows at rehab, right? But ultimately, I still wished I could afford to go to a place that nice—just one where I was free to come and go as I pleased.
Another time I was watching one of those extreme makeover shows—I don’t normally watch that kind of crap, so it must have been rerun season and I was desperate—and this woman lost a whole bunch of weight. Now, she didn’t do it alone—she had a chef cooking her healthy meals and a nutritionist telling her what to eat every day, she had a personal trainer forcing her to go to they gym every day, and all those things were provided to her free of charge by the show. And she had encouragement. When she couldn’t get up off the floor after doing one push-up, they all patted her on the back and told her she was doing great. At the end of the show, they bought her a brand new car to celebrate her success in losing fifty pounds.
And that made me insanely jealous. I mean, I lost fifty pounds too, about seven years ago. Yeah, I used to be a fat couch potato. And I did something about that, by myself, with no support. I didn’t have a personal trainer or chef. I didn’t have anyone patting me on the back and telling me good job when I ran a mile or forcing me to exercise every day. I did it myself. I started doing steady state cardio, then switched to high-intensity interval training (HIIT) after reading a magazine article about it in the checkout line.
With HIIT, you basically go as fast as you can for twenty seconds, then at a moderate pace for forty seconds (or some other interval in which you sprint for roughly half the time you run at a moderate pace). I had not lost any weight doing steady state cardio for even an hour a day, but after only a week of doing HIIT for ten minutes a day, I had lost five pounds. The next week I lost five more. HIIT is hard, and you’re only supposed to do it every other day, but I did it every day, and it’s a hell of a lot more taxing than one push-up, and I didn’t have anybody patting me on the back or telling me to keep going, but I fucking did it on my own, and I’m okay with that, BUT WHY THE FUCK DID THAT LADY DESERVE A FREE CAR AND I DIDN’T?
Because it made good TV, that was why. As with Nanette and her awesome new platform, having millions of people interested in you makes all the difference.
What stupid thing have you been jealous of and why?
W. T. Fallon is the author of Fail to the Chief, a political satire in which the presidential election is carried out via reality show, which is almost as bizarre and far-fetched as our current reality.