Well, I picked up my last helper check yesterday, $188 USD, for four days and 25 hours of difficult work performed in cold, wind, snow, ice, and freezing rain, which sum represents just north of half of one billable hour of my time, about what it would take me to write a several page letter for a client. Rather than deposit the check, in order to more fully experience the sense of marginalization endured by the working poor, I cashed it at a currency exchange, thereby giving back one-quarter hour of wages. An hour later I received an offer for a full-time Fed. job that I had written off as a longshot. So I start that gig Monday. While waiting at the UPS hub for my helper coordinator to bring me the check, I spent about twenty minutes chatting with a UPS HR person who told me I could probably work as a loader after Jan 1st and that, after 90 days, assuming I proved educable, I could become a PT Sup. She also mentioned that they do still hire drivers off-the-street. Anyway, in 2010, I'll be hedging my bets; so I think I will work at UPS as a second job to more quickly fill in the hole that 2009 has created in my once flush wallet. Two jobs, I have learned, is better than one or, indeed, none. Also, of course, should the Fed. Govt. fail and chaos ensue across the Americas, perhaps I will be able to transfer my UPS skills to the Beijing or Shanghai hub. Chinese is a tough language to pick up (it's tonal and pitch-based) but I'm a musician and have a good ear and, hey, I managed to haul around without too much stress hundreds of pounds of parcels for UPS...... Happy New Year.