unemployment vs. nonemployment

One of the great ironies of my life is that I spend my work days trying in vain to fill well-paying positions, then my evenings trying in vain to talk unemployed men into doing odd jobs for pay, and then I turn on the evening news and hear how there are no jobs. I know that unemployment is at 10%. Sometimes I just can't feel it.

Let's set aside the $70/hour jobs I can't give away. Let us assume that the skills required are so niche that these professions are utterly recession-proof.

Let's talk about the $25/hour job tearing up my bedroom floor, winterizing my house, etc. No particular skills are required—only time that I do not possess. And so I've offered this work to three unemployed men. No response. Bupkis. Crickets.

I'm just waiting for one of them to bemoan how rough it is out there. Please, God, let that happen.

Part of my problem is that I live on a peninsula where not working is the local culture, nay, art form. I truly know more adults without jobs than with. And even if I hire a plumber to, say, fix a drain on Tuesday, I have zero expectation that I will ever hear from him again. Fixing drains is work, after all. And in on the Metamuville peninsula, locals treat work arrangements like the rest of us treat the statement "let's do lunch."

"Oh, your drain? You didn't think I was really going to fix that, did you? I was just being polite."