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SHADOW GAMES: Take What You Can Get

Posted By Todd Drew On November 13, 2008 @ 12:42 pm In Todd Drew | Comments Disabled

Marcus Carter showed some wear on the 2 train this morning. The stress of too much work and too little pay was catching up with him.

“I sleep okay,” he said, “but I’m still tired all the time. I guess it’s from worrying about having to wake up in a subway tunnel or under a bridge next month.”

They have cut him to part-time at the warehouse in Hunts Point. He got another job washing dishes at a downtown coffee shop, but the pay isn’t very good and the hours are worse.

“The traveling and the split shifts mean 18-hour days,” Carter explained. “I also work weekends at the coffee shop and my paycheck still comes up short, but the bills keep coming.”

So Carter keeps looking for anything he can get.

“There ain’t much out there,” he explained while scanning the newspaper classifieds. “Actually there are jobs, but I’m not qualified to do most of them: CPA, dental hygienist, medical assistant, sales manager.

“Maybe I could do something in sales,” Carter reasoned. “But who would buy anything from me? Who’s buying anything, period?”

The sports pages were more promising.

“Here’s something,” Carter said. “This baseball story has all kinds of information from an ‘unnamed Major League executive.’ That sounds like a growth industry with free agency ready to start. ‘Unnamed’ means there’s probably not much responsibility. ‘Major League’ means a job in baseball. ‘Executive’ means my mother would be proud. Perfect!”

Carter laughed at himself.

“Guys like me don’t get those kinds of jobs,” he said, “but at least it was funny.”

You take what you can get on the 2 train these days.

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