I Have No Job And I Must Eat

part one

I had a stupid dream last night. I went to my old job on some super important quest. I don’t remember what the quest was, only that it was super important, like the whole world was gonna end if we didn’t fabricate some special equipment or some dumb shit. I showed up at the shop and everybody was happy to see me, even my old boss, who was personally responsible for stealing tens-of-thousands of dollars in unpaid wages from us over the course of two years. The shop was very different from real life in this dream, that’s how dreams work, silly goose, it was like a super secret command bunker. Actually, now that I’m thinking about it, it looked like it had been pulled straight from HBO’s hot new show Peacemaker, which I’ve been half-heartedly watching when I wake up at three in the morning and can’t get back to sleep. I walked in and sat down in front of a bank of monitors, strange dream-logic told me that the conversation we were having, about whatever the fuck it was we were talking about, was super important. I don’t remember much else, I had a blaster-pistol, and I managed to somehow fly over the city with my arms spread wide, like Mother on HBO’s hit show Raised By Wolves, which I watched last year in a depressive fugue and have been looking forward to watching the second season which just dropped earlier this month! At the end of the dream we were all cheering and celebrating, like at the end of some dumbass Adam Sandler movie, so I assume everything worked out. Now, you may be wondering why I’m telling you all about this stupid fucking dream, well, because it’s poetically evocative of a particular condition; the condition of the twenty-first century human, the condition in which nothing fucking matters. Things do matter, of course, like love and health and happiness and family, even sex and video games and cool sunglasses and shit, but we’re forced, by the power structures of the day, to only care about them in tiny, easily manageable and marketable bits, to replace the things that matter the most to us with the generic concerns of production and consumption. No matter how fucking complete you’re able to make your life, if you’re not producing profit, you’re a useless drain on society; and no matter how fucking miserable a mother fucker you may be, if you’re making them dollar-dollar bills you’re a valid and valued member of society. We aren’t allowed to spend our time doing anything that doesn’t benefit Capital. Order is enforced with physical, social, and psychological violence, and we even do it to ourselves by jumping through all these fucked up internal hoops we’ve created to justify it all to ourselves because it’s the only way to assuage the pain and fear we all feel. Believing that there is a better way to do things has become too painful for many people to endure, or even abide, and those who manage to keep the flame of hope burning are otherized and ostracized, ridiculed and ignored. I want to have crazy sexy dreams with acrobats and Slavic ballerinas and D-list celebrities, or dreams about talking pepperonis and mathematically impossible fractal pangolins, or playing TTRPGs with Old Dirty Bastard and liberating the Global South. Instead, I have dreams that leave me waking feeling utterly useless because I’m not a good little productive worker.

I don’t have any skills. Or any marketable skills anyway. I like to think I’m decent at a few things, like allowing people to feel safe enough to let their guard down getting along with them in spite of glaring differences in background and beliefs; driving, mindless labor, being physically strong, explaining things to people face-to-face where I can rely on nonverbals and the natural give-and-take of conversation because when I write I just stuff too many words in too-small spaces and leave readers feeling frustrated and more confused than before they engaged with my writing. I know how to take professional photos, whether or not they’re good I’m not so sure. I’m good at hurting people’s feelings, and forgetting important things; I’ve always been really good at the pedantry surrounding punk and metal subgenres. Other than those things, however, I’m basically useless. Oh, I forgot, I’m also really good at deluding myself and convincing myself that nothing is my fault. Due to my lack of any real skillfulness, and also severe depression and anxiety, I am currently unemployed. Luckily, my partner makes enough money to make up for the fact that I’m no longer bringing home any bacon, or any Morningstar Farms smoky veggie strips. Thing is, things are getting a bit tight now, and I find myself in the position of preparing to go back to work. It is what it is, but I can’t really bring myself to care all that much, I sometimes really feel like I’d rather go live in my car than return to the world of objects and control and fanatical financialism because, I gotta be honest with you reader, it just fucking sucks and I don’t want to do it.

Finding a job sucks. It’s not all that difficult to just go out and become employed somewhere. Finding a good job, however, has become so near to impossible that I really don’t want to try anymore. Now, I’ve legitimately had the best job I could possibly imagine, but I somehow managed to fuck that up, and while getting back into that is something I’ve been wanting for a while, when it comes down to it there is a strange resistance to the idea somewhere deep inside my mind that I haven’t quite managed to overcome, or even fully understand. I’ve had some really, really shitty jobs, too. But, the majority of the jobs I’ve had have been pretty unremarkable. All that being said, work sucks, work always fucking sucks. Even when you have an amazing job, there are things you’ve just got to do, concessions and sacrifices you’ve got to make that encroach on your ideals and your personhood and even prohibit you from being as effective in your function as you might be. And hey, I get it, that’s what society is, after all; placing others and their needs before yourself, your desires, and sometimes your own needs, and society is actually pretty fucking awesome, it’s the only place to get good sandwiches, and all the other cool things we enjoy and take for granted and couldn’t live without. Or at least wouldn’t want to. Work sucks so goddamn much because the authoritarianism and disciplinarianism of the workplace force us to become inhuman creatures, with no agency and no will and no impetus of their own. You might just be one happy mother fucker when you get to work in the morning; you just came from home, where you’re allowed to explore and expand yourself and experiment with new ideas and even just exist without having to justify yourself to any external power structures, but by the time lunch break rolls around all the humanness inside of you has been leeched away and you’ve become a fungible marionette of the interlinked, oppressive power structures that rule our lives and demand every ounce of effort we can muster while causing us to develop vast, detrimental mental and emotional complexes and provides nothing but bare-minimum compensation in return, and often not even that.

We are forced, everyday we go to work, to suppress our actual self and allow an alien, consumptive other to inhabit our bodies. This alien invader exists solely to be productive, in an economic and strictly non-personal sense. It uses our body to complete tasks at the behest of the uncaring, inhuman employer. It puts our body in harm’s way, for many people directly, but also by pushing our bodies beyond the limits of sleeplessness and malnutrition and those pesky mores and morals. It robs us of our most precious time and energy, and it disingenuously represents us to the world. What little time we have left to ourselves we must use to rehabilitate our bodies, minds, and souls and prepare for whatever is coming next, which is very likely to be more of the same hostile shit. What was promised to us in kindergarten, when they brought in the cop and the engineer and the random office-man to tell us how bright our futures were, has been stolen. In fact they never intended us to have it in the first place, they knew all along that we are all damned to this life of exploitation and meaningless repetition, and they pulled the wool over our eyes with mythologies and ideologies and institutionalized illusion. “Work hard and follow the rules,” they washed into our brains “you’ll have a happy life!” Bitch, when the fuck am I supposed to be happy? When I’m paying bills, or when I’m freaking out because I don’t know how I’m going to pay all the bills? When the fuck am I supposed to enjoy the fruits of my labor, when I’m sleeping, when I’m too feeble of body or mind to work anymore, when I’m dead? Look, I’m not over here claiming that employment is actual slavery, I’m not claiming that everybody is equally oppressed and exploited, I’m not saying that work is always, and nothing more than, this horrible dehumanizing thing — some of my fondest memories are of the camaraderie that develops particularly at work; I’m illustrating the fundamental nature of work within both the Late-Capitalist framework of the day and the looming Digital-Feudalism that sits astride the rapidly approaching horizon. No matter how much you may love your job, no matter how aligned you may be with the stated values and goals of your employer, you are forced to subjugate yourself ultimately to the will of Capital via the profit motive; even if your job is to eat cotton candy all day, the invisible hand of the market will eventually wrap itself around your throat and you’ll find yourself faced with the fact that you are wasting your life at the whim of the machine. And, let’s be honest, not very many people make a living eating cotton candy all day; most of us have at least unpleasant, if not outright miserable, jobs. We are not permitted the privilege of chasing our dreams, we are not permitted the luxury of even dreaming, and if we do find ourselves possessed by a particularly persuasive dream it becomes, rather than an achievable goal or a source of reprieve or inspiration, a source of torment and despair.

Why do so many people hate themselves? I spend a lot of time thinking about this question, and others that seem equally juvenile in their insipid, earnest naiveté. I know I’m an edge case, but the amount of time I spend legitimately considering whether or not it’s even worth it to keep living is pretty fucking embarrassing. While I think I have admitted to myself that I will eventually very likely take my own life, I’m pretty sure I’m more enamored of a Deleuzian death than a Fisherian or Foster Wallacian — taking my life as an old man as a final means of wresting back control and not as a youngish man with grand plans for changing the world; and who knows, by the time I’m an old man I might have decided to die of cancer or a heart attack or some other polite, bourgeois cause of death. But, knowing that most people probably don’t entertain the idea of suicide as often as I do doesn’t change the fact that we are all suicidal maniacs anyway. The self-loathing that people carry around within them is evident in their behavior. It’s why, rather that find ways to be at peace with the world and our lives within it and maybe even figuring out how to work together to achieve truly great things, we rely on relentless consumption and adherence to the rites and rituals of extrinsic identity groups to both justify ourselves to the outside world and compose the bulk of our meaningful — though it’s not — interaction with ourselves and others. Why try to be happy when there’s an entire miserable world out there full of infinite ways to distract yourself from your own internal miserability? Blame the communists, blame the women, blame the queers and kids these days and music and video games and Jews and anybody and everybody else, just don’t dare admit to yourself that the problem is much closer to home, that would run the risk of destroying the convoluted structure of lies that were told to us as children and that we’ve internalized as a means of justifying the morbid state of living in which we’re all trapped. We all fucking hate ourselves because the only way to survive is to enthusiastically debase ourselves and call it discipline and responsibility; we are forced to abandon our very souls and assume identities devoid of any content save the economic drive to produce and consume, and none of it to our own benefit or enjoyment. Eventually a conflict develops between the actual self we stifle and starve, and that consumptive, alien other that inhabits our bodies and keeps us trapped within the game that we all know we can’t win. Whether or not we admit it to ourselves, we are aware that this is the case, and we begin to resent, and even hate, ourselves; we hate what we are and what we’ve become, we hate what we are not and never will be, we hate everyone and everything and there is no way to actually deal with it; unless we’re willing to put ourselves at great risk by playing a different game altogether, and that’s simply too terrifying for many people to even consider. That’s why those miserable morons who worship Donald Trump as the sublime figurehead of the systems that objectify and victimize us all are so pious in their fervent hatred of any and all who don’t signal their strict obedience and fidelity to the form. Dedication to vague causes obscures the lack of consent we are forced to take on the chin and the pain caused by simply existing in our modern hellworld — and this is true for the Left as well as the Right, I surely wouldn’t be writing any of the dumb bullshit I write on the internet were I living a happy, fulfilling life; maybe I’d be writing poetry or robot erotica or Star Trek FanFics, or maybe I’d be doing something else entirely.

Part two is coming soon, I gotta go do some adult shit, but I’ll finish. Eventually.

Thank you for reading! See ya’ soon!!



I complain about things

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