DISASSOCIATED PRESS-By definition a prodigal son leaves home, ungrateful and immature. After much hardship he returns, a changed man. Seth Weitz, odd-jobber, accomplished approximately half of these steps. Technically, this makes him a half-prodigal son.
“I just wanted to take the inheritance I had coming to me, forego education, and go out and live by my own free will,” said Weitz while collating papers in a job he got through a temp agency, “But I blew through the money, then took a bunch of shitty jobs, and eventually regretted being such a rebel.”
This is the point at which Weitz’ life ceases to parallel that of the parable of The Prodigal Son. The fully prodigal son, as depicted in Luke 15:11-32, realizes he’d be better off working for the family business, with paternal guidance. He humbles himself and returns home to a father who rejoices as though the son had returned from the dead.
However, when half-prodigal son, Seth Weitz, felt regret for his choices, he also felt overwhelming disdain at the prospect of working on his father’s farm near Dubuque, Iowa.
“There’s no way I’m going home. I don’t want to get stuck in the same rat-race of debt my parents are in, “said Seth, whose 20 thousand dollar credit card debt will take 40 years to pay off at his current rate, “I thought I’d maybe work on some kind of art or something creative, I don’t know, I hope I figure it out soon though.”
Prodigal breaking points
In the traditional story, the prodigal son’s breakthrough moment is when he’s working as a swineherd and realizes that the pigs are better fed than he. This was similar to when Seth Weitz was denied a job at McDonald’s for not wearing a shirt during the job interview, and Seth realized that even McDonald’s employees were better fed than he.
“I probably should have gone home when I couldn’t work or afford to eat at McDonalds,” said Weitz, “The only thing I ever super-sized was my sense of failure.”
Lucky for Weitz, he has recently developed an apathetic sense of acceptance for the anti-climactic horrors of aging without advancing toward happiness. Now living in Portland, Maine, he has recently felt so defeated, he hasn’t said anything bad recently about his cubicle or his 40 hours per week of collating, alphabetizing and stapling.
“At least every now and then I can take a nap at work,” said Weitz, “The Prodigal Son probably never got to take a nap after he went crawling back home.”
“At the end of the day, even though I don’t really like any of my jobs, and I do sort of miss my family, I have to remember that I have a unique artistic dissatisfaction and even if I were home, I’d be equally unhappy.”
Photo credit: consumerist/flickr (McDonald’s)
Pompeo batoni (prodigal son)
Scott Ish/flickr (cubicle)
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