Banished From the Garden

I have waded through another Monday at My Crummy Job.

I can’t believe my life has deteriorated to this. I don’t even thank God it’s Friday anymore, because on my way home I am already dreading Monday. I need like a year off to unwind, then a year to travel and have a little fun, then a year to get ready to go back. Then I’d like to work half days, from home, for twice as much $$.

I’ve been struggling with the Protest Song for the past few weeks, thinking this shouldn’t be taking so long. I don’t remember spending this much time on songwriting before, and I actually wrote a lot of songs. The quality may have been questionable, but there was no arguing with the quantity. Then I remembered: I used to sleep until ten, have breakfast and drink coffee until noon, and do music all afternoon – listening, playing, writing. Then, when it was time to go to work in the evening, guess what? I played and sang until one in the morning. My whole day was music. No wonder I wrote songs faster. And I was having a splendid time, too. These days I have to make an appointment with myself. Songwriting? Well, the whole day is out, until after 6 PM. Maybe I can squeeze you in from 7:20, after the yard work, until 7:55. I’m sorry. That’s all the free time we have for you and your protest song.

Whose idea was it for me to spend my last years doing meaningless work that I actively dislike, and doing such a fine job of it, too? I am already performing the work of two-and-a-half people. And the longer I stay at My Crummy Job the more work I do, even though I could not possibly care less about any of it. Why do the jobs that pay well have to be so freakin’ crummy?

And what’s up with those guys who say “I love my job! I am so happy to be here, I’d do this for free!” In my experience, those guys are either the owners and CEO’s, or they have high-powered rifles out in their cars. They are either getting rich off my labor, or they are nutcases planning to blow me and half my co-workers away, including themselves. I only hope their aim is true.

I made a smart remark on Emma Goldman’s War On Error blog the other day, and she came back at me with a quote from a book called Flow: The Psychology of Optimal Experience, by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi (I am not making this up). Go read the post, because Goldie is quite literate and persuasive and if you play your cards right she might one day make you a French pastry, and I don’t mean turn you into an eclair. But here’s the quote, anyway:

So much of what we ordinarily do has no value in itself, and we do it only because we have to do it, or because we expect some future benefit from it. Many people feel that the time they spend at work is essentially wasted–they are alienated from it, and the psychic energy invested in the job does nothing to strengthen their self. For quite a few people free time is also wasted. Leisure provides a relaxing respite from work, but it generally consists of passively absorbing information, without using any skills or exploring new opportunities for action. As a result life passes in a sequence of boring and anxious experiences over which a person has little control.

Right on, Mr. Csikszentmihalyi! But what can you do to fix it, once I have become addicted to the money? I have heard that you should “…do what you love. The money will follow.” I did that, and the money followed someone else.

OK, sorry. I’ll feel better by morning. And I’ll feel great on payday. And I’ll be walking on air when I finish the Protest Song and record it and post it here. Don’t think you can escape this. In fact, you should all start thinking of nice things to say right now. You might want to jot down some thoughts in advance, because if you take too long when the big day arrives, it won’t seem spontaneous. It’s best to get your awestruck adlibs ready in advance.

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8 Replies to “Banished From the Garden”

  1. There’s a number of people around here who seem to think you’re a very charming and amusing fellow, but being one myself I know the untrustworthy antics of a curmudgeon and would not mistake one even if he happened to be a chameleon, too. Therefore, though you may be cute, I am not not fooled. WHAT DOES THIS MEAN? I don’t know; I forgot while I was writing it. Damn. I wish I was only a curmudgeon and not suffering from brain damage and body fatigue as well!

    Maybe I was only going to say that your latest profile photo is a good one. I can perceive the handsome young man who used to be there as well as the grumpy old charlatan you’re turning into. There’s nothing wrong with you that more pussy, more love and affection, and more creative outlets couldn’t cure. I recommend that you perform cunnilingus more often. Perhaps you would end up cunning enough to escape your morass? If it works for you, let me know; I’d like to perform like an armless sex seal myself.

    Signed, Crazy in Texas.

  2. “Right on, Mr. Csikszentmihalyi” I think you should work this into the lyrics of your protest song- like the finale of a live show where the lead singer usually says: “Thank you! Goodnight!” That is my contribution…..(-:

  3. Not long ago, whilst in the middle of an angst ridden “how the hell did I get here?” attack, my beloved partner and lifelong best friend said, “Why do you keep torturing yourself searching for purpose and definition in your life? Is it possible for you simply live everyday and enjoy yourself?”

    So, I’m doing that instead. It’s nice not to be burdened with the responsibility of figuring out a puzzle that may not have an answer. Best of all, I can focus on more important things.

    I also agree with most of what Ron said in his 2nd paragraph (with the exception of the “grumpy old charlatan” bit). I’d add that you deserve a spanking … but you already know that.

  4. Ron – You say that to all the boys, don’t you?

    t1 – It’s our protest song, and you could help the act a bit if you’d flash us your tits once in a while.

    Theresa – Yeah, I know I need discipline. But I’m not really that grumpy.

  5. Well, I may say it to all the boys, but what would you know about that?

    Also, you may not be that much of a charlatan, but sometimes I don’t have as much time as I have spunk and twaddle. Tell Theresa. I’d stick my tongue out at her, but she’d probably claim she doesn’t need that kind of tongue!

  6. I wonder what would happen if we all dropped what we feel is mundane and went for that which makes us feel complete and happy…and here, perhaps, lies the answer to all of society’s problems. People are generally pissed off with their lives and often look over their shoulders wishing they could walk in someone else’s shoes.

    I bet you someone would love your job and then the next person, would dream for the person who took your job’s job…and so on. Amazing how we live petrified by fear and self-preservation.

    There are some many brave people who just pick up and go for their dreams…is that the secret to achieve greatness??…Fearless believe in one’s dreams? What could go wrong if we would all risk everything to achieve happiness? To lose everything…what is everything?? A roof, a car, a yard and fistfuls of green exchange notes? At the end, if the leap of faith backfires, we could just get another shitty job.

  7. Ron – You’ll have to take the tongue thing up with Theresa. I’m sure she could find a use for it.

    G.D. – Probably if I met someone who would love my job I’d start to get all defensive about it and thwart their efforts to get it. Yeah, right.

    Thanks about the profile picture. I took it myself last week, with a tiny little tripod on my desk and a timer on the shutter. Why don’t you dump the she-devil and give us another one of you?

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