We're All Damaged

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Reader Mail is Insightful and Sexy

I received an interesting question today at The Norman Nation’s official e-mail address, thenormannation@gmail.com. Assman1410 asked, “Hey, Matt Norman, you unemployed bastard, for the love of God, what in the hell do you do all day long?”

Well, Assman, that’s a good question. It’s no secret that I was recently let go from a prestigious position aboard The Death Star—a company known around the universe for destroying the souls of the innocent with its deadly SuckRay®. As an unemployed person living in a foreign country during a global financial crisis, it’s fair to say that I’ve had a bit of time on my hands lately.

At first, I was so happy to be free of the unholy empire that was my Godless former employer that I filled most days drunkenly running around the city giggling and knuckle-bumping confused strangers. However, after a month or so, I curtailed my daytime drinking and found more constructive ways to spend time. Here, Assman, is a typical day in the life of Matt Norman. As you can see, I’ve broken it down into four stages:

Stage 1: Waking Up
This might sound easy, but, I assure you, it’s more complicated than you think. You see, it’s absolutely essential to wake up at the exact same time as my employed wife. Furthermore, I must pretend to be chipper, productive and fully in charge of all of my emotions—including crushing sadness—otherwise she’ll inevitably begin desperately regretting her decision to marry me. I’ve looked at the video footage from our wedding; unfortunately the vows mentioned nothing specifically about unemployment.

Stage 2: Working Out
An unemployed person can kill many hours half-heartedly running on the treadmill or lifting weights at the gym. Although incredibly confusing due to the fact that the weights and distances here are listed in kilograms and kilometers—which I don’t even think are real things—exercising presents the all-important illusion of productivity. “Hey, look at that unemployed guy over there lifting those weights. He must not at all feel like a worthless drain on society.”

Stage 3: Eating Lunch
Every day I go to lunch at Subway, and I order the exact same thing. The store manager, a lovely man from Pakistan, doesn’t know any other Americans, and so he often asks me questions about my homeland. “In the United States, are dogs allowed to ride in the passenger seat of cars?” he asked me yesterday. I told him that they are, and that in a state called Georgia they’re allowed to actually drive, provided they pass a simple eye test. Convincing him that I’m not making things like this up is usually good to fill at least an hour.

Stage 4: Being a Writer
As the author of two unpublished novels, dozens of unpublished stories and an internationally famous blog with a following of more than 73 people, I know a thing or two about writing things that very few people will ever read. It’s pretty exhausting. Today, after merely five hours of work—and only two fits of uncontrollable crying, which is way fewer than usual—I managed to write the first four sentences of my new novel. Of course, I can’t show them to you yet because I’m totally going to rewrite them tomorrow, but I can assure you that I’m off to a really good start and that I’m not even thinking about that half bottle of Jack Daniels sitting in the kitchen. Things are going super!

Do you have a question? Send it to thenormannation@gmail.com today.


  1. I'm so happy to hear of how well you're doing!

  2. I am happy that you didn't mention internet porn once.

  3. With that kind of loyalty to Subway, couldn't you get an endorsement deal like that guy Jared? You'll never need a job. That fits together well with the pregnancy weight and the working out...see, it's all coming together.