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Merriam-Webster Word of the Day

Cartoon of the Word vol. 1

Northside Madison
 
Ambrosavage's Cartoon of the Word (of the Day)

Sir Alexander Korda's Guide to Full Employment
(Or, How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Start Spending) 



The day before I left for Paris, my employers presented me with a bon-voyage present: a pink slip. They had gathered amongst themselves and decided it would be wrong to allow me to depart on an European excursion with the delusion that I would have a job when I returned. Yeah, my former employers - wonderful, wonderful people.

So, a day later, I found myself thinking about unemployment as I sat on the balcony outside of my suite of rooms at the Hotel Home Latin in Paris' bustling Latin Quarter. While sipping a beaujolais from one of the hotel's elegant plastic cups, I thought, "This makes sense: vacationing in one of the world's most expensive cities when I don't have a job!"

It wasn't until I returned to the United States (while reading a copy of Michael Korda's Charmed Lives between job interviews), that I discovered it did make sense. Charmed Lives is a family chronicle of Sir Alexander Korda, a Hungarian immigrant who rose from humble origins to the heights of movie moguldom, founding London Films and becoming a Knight of the Realm.

Alexander Korda, it was said, was a man so charming he could talk money out of an empty safe. Here is what Korda said to do when entering a town penniless and with no prospects (i.e. unemployed): rent the biggest suite in the best hotel, dine in the finest restaurants, tip lavishly and travel by limousine; do this and people will give you money! And people did! During the height of World War II, during the black-out of London, Korda's hotel suite burned as brightly as an ocean liner in a vast and darkened sea. Caviar was consumed, champagne flowed, cigars burned brightly, gay laughter echoed down bleak, empty, war-torn streets.

Sir Alexander Korda helped me realize my job-hunting strategy was all wrong. People do not give jobs and money to people who need jobs and money; people give jobs and money to people who have jobs and money! Therefore, I have thrown out What Color is Your Parachute and am now using Charmed Lives as my job-hunting manual.

Following the book's advice, I have sublet my cheesy one-bedroom U-District apartment and am writing this article from the Cascade Suite of the Olympic Four Seasons Hotel, Seattle's finest! All around is the hushed silence is the crisp crackling of serious loot! The room-service waiter has just delivered my afternoon martini. My travel agent has just confirmed my rooms for my return to the fabulous Hotel Home Latin in Paris. My parents have just called wondering if I have yet to find work. "Oh, please," I say, laugh politely and hang up.

Having successfully rented the most luxurious hotel suite in Seattle, I consult the manual for the next move in my job search. Of course! Dinner in one of Seattle's finest restaurants, traveling there by limousine. The limousine service is easy to take care of; dozens are listed in the Yellow Pages. The "finest" restaurant is a little trickier. Having foolishly always limited my lifestyle to my income, I have no clear idea as to what one of Seattle's finest restaurants might be. A few discreet phone calls and I settled on Palisades as the sort of joint where one might drop a hundred bucks before hors d'oeuvres are served, virtually assuring access to bored, half-tanked international financiers!

While refilling my glass from the quaint cut-glass decanter the room-service waiter has left for me, there is a knock at the door. It is, I think, someone who wishes to give me money. Actually, it is a representative from MasterCard, somewhat concerned about my rather extensive, rather expensive, rather overdue account. I tip him lavishly. He goes away.

I take my glass and wander over to one of my suite's many floor-to-ceiling leaded glass windows. Any city looks different when viewed through the windows of a luxury hotel. As seen through the windows of the Cascade Suite, Seattle looks far different from the crime-ridden, violence-prone, gun-happy, congested 'burg I have grown used to. Now Seattle looks as exotic as London or Rome and shimmers with the promise of high adventure and fabulous wealth always offered up by the mythical Emerald City.

I raise my glass and toast my new hero, my mentor, my guide to full employment, Sir Alexander Korda. What color is my parachute? Green. Very green.

- John Ambrosavage is a Seattle-based unemployed writer and cartoonist who lives in five-star hotels and tips lavishly. Send money.


Contents on this page were published in the April/May, 1994 edition of the Washington Free Press.
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