Friday, September 30, 2005

I Have Found God...

...and in doing so, found proof there is none.

Today was my first day at the new job.

Now, under normal circumstances, after four months of unemployment, this could very well make me proclaim, "Thank God."

But the new job is at a factory.

In the little blue-collar, Midwest town I live in, this is making it. This is the big deal. And that is infinitely depressing. I do not want to seem smug and arrogant or elitist, but I am not one of these people. If I was, I'd relish in my long-gone moments of personal achievement (i.e. high school athletics and prom), still approach social relationships with all the dysfunctional ineptness of (well) high school, feel threatened by my town's suddenly visible Mexican population, relish in the fact that I now have the job "paw and pa-paw" had, and live to go home and drink the introspective realization of my inadequacies away in a case of Bud. Oh, yeah - I'd also have two varieties of "Support Our Troops" ribbons and at least one NASCAR insignia on my pickup. And possibly a mullet. We both have a socially engineered place in society, but I have certain distinguishing characteristics that alienate me from them.

I am fully aware of the necessity of a manufacturing and labor force. They are vital to modern civilization. Some people are quite well suited for this type of work, and should feel some sense of pride in their participation with and contribution to society.

BUT.

The confinement of a mind (and heart) like mine to menial labor is a crime to humanity. I have, by the safest estimations, about 160 or so reasons (and sixteen years of formal education) to not be working here. But my IQ doesn't matter. I do not live in a meritocracy, and I have acknowledged my place in this oligarchic plutocracy. I just don't want to accept and acquiesce to it.

As I write this, I ache in some pretty strange places (all over), can barely breath (nose solidly congested and bleeding, and lungs aching), have myriad small cuts on my hands, my eyes are severely bloodshot and burning, and the skin on my face looks and feels as if I had a chemical peel. Welcome to day number one.

It was still dark, wet, and chilly before sunrise, and as I apprehensively approached the massive slaughterhouse labor mill, I was struck by the frenzy of movement of the worker ants building the colony. Who knew catatonia could be so...active? Then, in near-epiphany, I realized: I had become a lemming. The nightmarish fear that had plagued the fantasying of a child coming of age in small town America, had reached fruition.

For training purposes, here is no simulation environment; you are simply thrown to the lions. Before I could fully grasp the finality of the situation, I was caught up in a blur of mechanized conformity, hurling bits of steel about, connecting other bits to those bits, shooting screws, searching in vain for some sort of ordo ab chao*, all at a pace only suitable for metastasizing to automaton. Once a break in the action came along, and I could manage to wrap my mind around something other than my frantically adopted sense of urgency, I envisaged a glimpse at the bigger picture.

All those bits and pieces – and the screws and bolts I was shooting to hold it all together – were made by someone just like me (or at least in my same immediate position). As were the tools I was using. And the metal they were all fabricated with. All to create some finished product destined to be warehoused, shipped, stored again, and eventually hocked off by a continuing chain of proletariats to a consumer who is, statistically, most likely just another working-class zombie, induced into a commercial feeding-frenzy by a increasingly lethargic and apathetic, superficial, materialistic society which has idealized free market enterprise above human dignity and championed the ridiculous (and alliterated) practice of conspicuous consumption for competition and conformity. All perpetuated by an aristocracy, which includes those sitting at the board of the corporation that directs this cattle drive in which I find myself, through their propagandist partners in advertising.

The almighty dollar is the dues ex machina.

I wonder if when man first invented tools, they could have possibly fathomed that one day their descendants would be using them to build essentially unnecessary items that their fellow humans would almost voluntarily slave their life away to own. In some cases this is done in the name of leisure, efficiency, and the simplification of life. No one seems to notice that they’ll be sacrificing any leisure or quality of life to work hard enough to make the money to acquire these items.

I am a cog in a cog-making machine. I am leaning away from the ant colony and beehive analogies, past the slaughterhouse, and firmly into the den of vampires.

What exactly is the opposite of anthropomorphic? Because this truly is dehumanizing: a methodic, slow, certain, (intentional) disintegration of any perceived nobility from our species. Furthermore, I got the job through the modern-day equivalent of legal pandering: the industrial pimp known as a temp agency (the only way to gain employment with this particular entity). While I am purely a commodity for the factory, I am merely product for the agency, who is almost certainly making half of my wage per hour of my labor so its corporate client can forgo treating its drones humanely without such annoyances as benefits and union obligations. Oh, and did I mention I’m making a whopping $8.50 an hour?

Tomorrow I’ll take a packed lunch and jug of Vaseline, because if I can have one part that doesn’t sorely ache, I would like it to be my rectum. It is too late for my heart.

* both literally and in the Hegelian Dialect, Orwellian sense

7 comments:

Shinsyotta said...

You have to move out, dude.

I Am said...

It really saddens me to know that someone like you has to take a job like this. What are you doing about it? Move. Get a masters degree. Send writing samples to media outlets and get some sort of editorial gig. Do whatever you think will be most effective, but don't accept it. You can't accept it.

Tanooki Joe said...

"In the little blue-collar, Midwest town I live in, this is making it. This is the big deal. And that is infinitely depressing. I do not want to seem smug and arrogant or elitist, but I am not one of these people. If I was, I'd relish in my long-gone moments of personal achievement (i.e. high school athletics and prom), still approach social relationships with all the dysfunctional ineptness of (well) high school, feel threatened by my town's suddenly visible Mexican population, relish in the fact that I now have the job "paw and pa-paw" had, and live to go home and drink the introspective realization of my inadequacies away in a case of Bud. Oh, yeah - I'd also have two varieties of "Support Our Troops" ribbons and at least one NASCAR insignia on my pickup. And possibly a mullet. We both have a socially engineered place in society, but I have certain distinguishing characteristics that alienate me from them."

You know, I really must protest this characterization. I, too, have worked at factories, and while a handful of people fit this description, most would not (not the least because a good deal of them were minorities). Not everyone who works at a factory is some sort of underachiever. Most are good people, but though one set of circumstances or another, have been stuck with this horrible job. Most of them encouraged me to continue my education (I work during the summer to pay for college) so I don't get stuck in this sort of job forever. I live in Michigan, where the economy is in the shits, and around her factory work is about the best you can get without a significant college degree. People just really don't have any opportunity for social mobility.

You've gotta find a way to keep your mind busy. The physical travails are nothing compared to the mental ones. Play music, do something. And for the love of God, make sure you get sleep. Entire weeks of my life are nothing but fuzzy blurs of machinary and grime. It'll eat away at your mind if you don't fight it.

Good luck, DUB.

LBBP said...

It really doesn't matter whether you are "one of these people" or not. What matters is what you want to do with your life. Unless you enjoy what you are doing you will never be happy.

Right about now is where an opportunistic theist would come along and say "it's not the job, it's that you don't have a purpose, let God be that purpose." And, in one respect they would be right, everyone does need a purpose. Your purpose for now should be to get the fuck out!

There are always better opportunities somewhere. The economy is jumping in Vegas. Housing costs are outrageous but working at a casino pays better and you don't have small pieces of metal flying around. (OK except maybe by the slot machines)

Good Luck.

DUB said...

It's not quite as easy as "move". I really wish it was, but when you have no money and earn less than you owe every paycheck, it severly complicates things.

The story goes a lil' bit deeper than just this. Add in multiple felony convictions (another story, another time), no vehicle, absolutely no money to my name, $20,000+ debt, a very long stint of unemployment, child support in arrears...and I'm living in this horrible black hole of a city.

This is pretty much my only choice that doesn't involve "Would you like that super-sized?" And I almost couldn't get this job.

One of my earliest posts touched on my education situation.

But you all are right: what I need to do is get out of this town. This is my main goal. Coming up with the money to do that is the issue.

But that's life.

Tanooki:
I wasn't saying factory workers are like that: I'm saying Marionites are like that.

Tanooki Joe said...

True enough. My thoughts while writing it were "on the other hand, maybe he lives in a hellhole."

DUB said...

If hell wasn't so often used to describe the final destination of most of my favorite people, I'd say "hellhole" pretty much sums Marion up just about perfectly.