"...Da-da suddenly found himself with no marketable skills. No contacts. No brains. No looks. No guile. No drive. Nothing the modern world used as currency. Caring for children had taken him out of the money stream, away from what other people thought was real, valuable, worthy of respect. (Respect is only for mothers.) It had only taken five years, half a decade to make it all vanish like his old musical career, now a phantom limb. Skills like listening, making intelligent conversation were considered archaic, mock-worthy, a curiosity. His society had been supplanted by a fey, scantily clad alien monster that stared at its fearful reflection all day and all night, with nothing for anyone who didn't feed it. In that same short span, his art had become tired, his writing obsolete, both filled with words and concepts modern humans had ostensibly forgotten and couldn't be bothered to look up; that was too much like work. Now, he marked his days with how much shampoo he used: one bottle equaled about two months; five bottles and it was the holidays! Time to tell his visiting mother-in-law that he still didn't have any promising leads. Truth was, he'd become what used to be termed an Institutional Man, and he didn't mind as much as you might think. Sure, mornings saw his eyes filled with sand as he went downstairs to make meals that were at best half-eaten, but perhaps appreciated in some future time. Despite this threat of pancake mortality, he'd smile as he stirred his instant coffee and looked at the morning trees outside, for he knew that not everyone understands the currency of hugs, the fringe benefits of life construction and maintenance. It's not like he was missing much out in the world, anyway. And yes, he'd be lying if he didn't admit that part of that morning smile was gentle schadenfreude, because Da-da knew that the same thing will happen to you one day... or you'll spend your life secretly wishing it would."
[-Excerpted from Le Prisonnier Heureux by M. Proust. Trans. by Pere Pullum-Fictus.]