Hillary Clinton and I have a lot in common. She's unemployed. I'm unemployed. She's looking for a job. I'm looking for a job. She sends a ridiculous number of emails in an effort to get the position she wants. So do I. We do it daily. She receives a lot of emails, or so I'm guessing. And I receive a lot of emails. They're exclusively from her. It's a bit of a let down, honestly.
Being unemployed and living with your parents for months on end with a shiny new master's degree and no job prospects is a situation that certainly lends itself to a very unique kind of desperation. One that makes you check your emails obsessively. It's a kind of desperation I think Hil is only too familiar with given her long lasting quest for presidency. According to Wikipedia, she started preparing her candidacy in 2003. The first time around, anyway. Waiting that long for something, anything, would make anyone anxious. I can sympathize, having been jobless for a whole three months. (Okay, fine. It's five. Five months.) I open my inbox every 15 minutes like my life depended on it, completely ignoring the fact that all email notifications are pushed to my phone first. If and when I do get an email, just one email, I read it. Mull over it. Drool over it. Open it again, and again, and again. I do all of this on the off chance that maybe, just maybe, there's some underlying message hidden somewhere in the text that holds the secret to getting my first job out of graduate school. Meanwhile, Hillary seems to continuously submit to a compulsive urge to hit that send button. And when she sends her latest message out into the ether, I refresh and am almost guaranteed a new, bolded, unopened email from my one and only correspondent.
She calls me 'Friend'. I like that. 'Friend'. She doesn't even have to use my name because we're such good pals. Her messages are more or less the same. In a way you only behave with your closest of friends, she asks me for money every time. It's never a lot. One dollar here, five dollars there. 'Just chip in, Friend,' she writes. 'If you're with me, Friend.' I think about it. One dollar, five dollars -- in the grand scheme of things it's not that much to part with. And it would be for a Friend, of course.
I haven't helped her out yet. I play the 'I'm unemployed and also I have a loan to pay off' card, praying she doesn't bring up just how comfortably jobless I actually am. I'll admit it. I'm lucky to be job-hunting this way. I stay at my parents'. No rent and no bills. No overstaying my welcome on a friend's couch in the apartment they share with five other young professionals, who make some money, but not quite enough for their own place. Instead, I just go visit when it suits them and my virtually free schedule allows. There's cable and wifi here too. The latter, of course, used mostly between healthy Netflix binges and painstaking perusal of endless job boards. In the interim, my parents and I will see movies and go shopping. My mother makes delicious dinners that I gobble up. And, behaving in a way I was most certainly not raised, I don't help too much. Some, yes. But not that much. Instead I just bask in it all, thoroughly enjoying this complete suspension of reality that'll end the moment I get hired. When I do get a job, I'm not sure what excuse I'll use on My Friend, Hillary.
As it is, I think she's a little annoyed with me. In October and November, I signed up as a volunteer for her campaign out of sheer boredom. During those two months, she was calling me Friend. By December, when I still hadn't chipped in a dollar AND I had signed up to volunteer for Bernie's campaign too, her language suddenly changed. She started using my actual name erasing all the affection from before, just like a displeased mother does when her 3-year-old eats all the candy and lies about it. The emails don't start with 'Friend' anymore, they begin with 'Meenakshi', and it makes me feel like I'm in trouble.
Things got heated on New Year's Eve. She sent me an email with the subject line 'You and Me, Meenakshi'. That kind of a subject line from someone who used to sweetly call you Friend and has suddenly stopped...well, it's not going to be good. I was dreading opening it.
'Meenakshi -- this is one of the last times I'll ask you in 2015. If you're with me in our fight to make history, I need you to chip in just $1 before midnight tonight.'
That was at 1:38 p.m. and I didn't respond. I'm sure she could understand that I was busy getting ready to celebrate. Bill had even gotten involved the day before, telling me that I needed to chip in. I'd ignored him too.
At 9:27 p.m., Hil tried me again. 'Meenakshi -- I will never forget the people who stood with me at the beginning of this campaign. This is the last time I'll ask in 2015.' (I didn't add the bold. That was all her. I was starting to feel a little bad).
There was a button just below her message baiting me to click it. 'Meenakshi, donate $1' it read.
I could smell the desperation oozing through her confident words about how she and I were going to make history, how it was a big year, how she needed me to believe in the progress she was working for. No. What she needed was my dollar. She was even bolding text in an effort to guilt me into helping. I didn't take kindly to being guilted into a donation, so I ignored her again. To her credit, Hillary was true to her word. That was the last time in 2015 she asked me to chip in.
2016 has been different. She still emails but not quite as much. Rather, other people email me on her behalf, still asking for money. They don't call me Friend, either. It feels a little cold. Before it was Hillary calling me Friend and asking for my help. Now, it's Michelle Kwan and Robby Mook asking for donations instead. It's like she's been working a new strategy these last few months. A new strategy in this era where America's affections teeter from one extreme to the other -- from the Donald Drumpfs of the world to the Sanders.
After Super Tuesday her campaign congratulated me. And then they did it again. They told me there was more to do: "Meenakshi, donate $1."
In all of my searching for hidden meanings in every email that might lead me to my first job, it finally hit me. That's all I need: a new strategy for the latest chapter of my never-ending job hunt. After all, Hillary and I have a lot in common. She's unemployed, sending out and receiving lots of emails and so am I. But now she's trying a slightly different approach, or so it seems. Maybe I will too.
I'm thinking about borrowing one of Hillary's ideas: I send an email. It's a mass email and I address it to every single person whose email address I have. I'll use Facebook too. I'll write,
'Friend, It's been a big year for me. I graduated from my master's program, moved in with my parents and am working hard to get this job. I'm looking for that first paycheck post-graduate school. I need to know that you believe in me. If you're with me--if you think I can do it, if you're ready to help, chip in $1. I'm counting on you. Thanks, Friend!'
I think it could work, I'm just not sure if Hillary will answer.