Calculating Unemployment Benefits
by Brian Pilling
The unemployed line up. Their soles pound into the asphalt. It’s always raining—thousands of souls left searching—a deluge of workers with no work. The woman at the counter derisively calls out the man wearing a yellow slicker, step up you yellow-bellied sap sucker. She shakes her head. A sucker born every minute. The man mumbles, sixty seconds of slight, then sixty times that. How many hours and days and years must a man live paycheck to paycheck?
As always, solve for Y where X is the number of weeks in fourteen years of service, and Z is the indifference of politicians. Without gauging indifference, we are permitted to assign Z as the number three-hundred sixty-five.
X is known, time is constant—unrelenting. Z is the days in a year. The applicable rule is to always divide when calculating benefits. Remember, state to state, the hourly minimum wage varies. The first subject’s home address is given to us: 100 Main Street, Zapp, North Dakota, 58580. Minimum wage is $7.25 per hour. Weekly benefits can approach zero. The check to this result, prove Y is heartless, as expressed in dollars and cents.
Brian Pilling is an author and poet based in Cape Cod. He has been published in The Main Street Rag, The Berkshire Review, Cutbow Quarterly, Missive Magazine, Contemporary Jo, New Pop Lit, Hidden Peak Press, and other literary journals. Brian has two forthcoming chapbooks, The Poet’s Struggle and A Substitute Algebra Teacher with a Penchant for Poetry. Brian is a recent winner in The Cape Cod Times poetry contest. His writing is inspired by his grandfather Germoglino Saggio—an immigrant poet of note, whose work is housed at the University of Minnesota.