I had invitations to five events for Christmas but I didn’t go to any of them. I had intended to go to at least one, probably two, but when the time came I chose not to. At first my demotivation was caused by depression and it wasn’t helped by the usual blathering about the real meaning of Christmas and being with friends and family. My immediate family is all in Brisbane: my father has inoperable liver cancer and this might be his last Christmas. I couldn’t be there because I have no job and couldn’t afford the fare. My sisters offered to pay for me but I refused – they’ve already given me money several times in the past so I could pay rent and buy food and I’m sick of being the family’s incompetent, socially maladroit and emotionally retarded black sheep.

I’m the most well-educated person in our family yet also the most useless. The reason I chose not to go to any of the events, and why I won’t go to any in the future until I get a decent job, is that when people haven’t seen you for a while they always ask what you’re doing. I’m too ashamed to tell them that I’m still looking for work.

Everyone else I know never seems to have any problem finding work but my life is one long season of joblessness interrupted by short spells of employment. (The last permanent, full-time work I had was the start of 2004.) The final insult came on Christmas Eve when I received the answer to my application for an administrative role with a local government: I didn’t get it. I was surprised that because I had been working as a temp in that very position for the previous three months. I haven’t found out yet why I was rejected: the offices are closed until January 5th. But I ask you, how many people get turn down for jobs they’ve been doing, unless it’s to satisfy a quota for the sake of appearing politically correct?

The second part of my shame – and the next piece of information people ask about when they’ve not seen you for a while – is that I’m single. There’s nothing inherently wrong with being single unless, like me, you’re 36 and you’ve never had a partner. When people find out, their first thought is to wonder what’s wrong with you. See the last line in the first paragraph and add to that – tested IQ of 140 and occasionally exhibits traits consistent with Asperger’s Syndrome.

That’s why I’m staying away from people I haven’t seen for a while. I haven’t been dancing for a couple of months either, but at least no one there asks me any questions. (I never thought I’d be glad no one there cares.) Moreover, my shame is part of the reason I haven’t opened the Christmas presents from my family. The other part is an irrational thought of ingratitude; a symptom of depression. The thought of the presents flips a mental switch that activates the depression and like a diseased ferret, the thought pops up, vomits its feculent gibberish and vanishes into the part of my brain it came from.

So all around, it feels like God is kicking every crutch from underneath me; especially so since I discovered something like a blood blister on a spot on the back of my arm. It was more raised globular than blood blisters usually are. I bled it and flattened it out, but I won’t be able to see anyone about it until after the Christmas break. That’s all I need: no job, no girlfriend, no money to pay to fix the motorbike or get a new helmet or a new pair of glasses, and now a potential skin cancer.

I understand why some people, especially the Japanese under Bushido, the code of honour, commit suicide to wipe out personal shame. Apart from me, everyone else in my family has a worthy or successful or honourable life. There are only two reasons I haven’t committed suicide: first, I don’t know where I’ll go after death, and second, it would be too heavy a blow for my father, who lost his wife, my mother, to cancer, is now my step-mother’s carer (she has ongoing headaches and migraines) and now has inoperable liver cancer, eighteen months after an operation for bowel cancer.

Aside from these two hindrances, I have no reason to continue to live. And thinking about it, in Western society, suicide is a cause of shame. So I’d need to make it ostensibly an accident – or better, an attempt to help someone else. Maybe to save someone from a shark, I could cut myself and make a lot of splashing to draw the shark away. The drawback is that engineering such an event is beyond my patience. Anyway, at the moment this is nothing more than theory, albeit mentally stimulating; this is useful because I’m bored with cryptic crosswords.