Unemployment is Turning Me into a Swiftie

Or how I found humanity scrolling Facebook

Chris Sowers
Human Parts
Published in
5 min readOct 17, 2023


Photo by Chaz McGregor on Unsplash

I’ve spent a disproportionate amount of my unemployed time coalescing my thoughts and feelings about Taylor Swift. It didn’t start out this way; it wasn’t intentional. It began innocently enough, with crowd-angle video snippets of moments from Taylor’s Eras concert tour finding their way into my Facebook feed.

I turn fifty this year. So yes, I still scroll Facebook regularly.

Oh look, Lionel Messi scored another goal, inexplicably playing for a gosh darn no-foolin’ American soccer team. Hmm, somebody else went to see Barbie. Hey pictures of someone’s dinner.

Then it happens. I become aware that I’m replaying a video of Taylor scolding a security guard to leave her alone she’s not doing anything in between lyrics to a song I’ve never heard. And replaying it. I’m clearly the only one on the face of the earth who doesn’t know these lyrics by heart. There are people in the STADIUM PARKING LOT singing along, for God’s sake.

What the hell is going on here?

The day I turned sixteen, the day I became legally eligible to work in the state of Indiana, I started bagging groceries at the Mishawaka supermarket that employed my father. I’ve had a job ever since. And it’s always been my choice, never the company’s, for me to move on.

Never fired, never unemployed, until August 1, 2023.

Your position has been eliminated.

It had finally happened. Like so many before me, I’d been Great Big Consulting Company’d out of a job.

Buoyed by an exit package and a still-employed wife, and not in a huge hurry to find another employer, I started digging into previously-ignored imperfections around the house. Replaced burnt bulbs in Kid Three’s bedroom ceiling light fixture, the temperamental touchpad on the dishwasher, and the handle on the front door that had been threatening to fall off for the last three years. Replaced the back-to-back Zoom meetings that had infected my calendar from 8am to 5pm every day with school drop-offs and pickups, doctor appointments, grocery shopping.

Turns out the school pickup line is a perfect opportunity for scrolling Zuck’s…