Last morning drive to the current job after six fun and interesting years.

Firsts and Lasts

“Take a Fit”

Tellurians plodding half-heartedly to
Weekday carrels.  There is no merriment 
For the voiceless mass. 

Bosses excoriate through a variety of 
Mendacious media.  Their intentional 
Propaganda is as genuine as their workplace "family."

Our drudgery is ours. 
Our anger is ours. 
Our hours are theirs. 

-K-

Always Running

Commercialization of Coffee Shop Culture

I’ve never been adverse to working hard and getting dirty. My Pops taught me to run to first base if the pitcher walked me. He used to say, “Always run, run off the field and run on the field.” There is a great scene in the movie Bull Durham about lollygaggers that always makes me think of my Pops. My point (before I wander too far off) is I’m not opposed to the hustle, the grind, or whatever term one uses to describe the drive and determination to see things through to the end.

What bothers me, what I take umbrage with, is the commercialization of the hustle and profiteering off the hard work of others. Think about those coffee shops with their catch phrases and business models that encourage the hustle. Think about those coffee shops and their culture of the third place, the public office space, and the ideal place to study. These coffee shops are there to help you with your hustle, as long as you buy a extra-large with a double shot of your hard earned cash.

“Busy Dunkin'”

I’m all for the hustlers, the grinders, and the go getters out there working toward their goals. I admire and identify with those who are always running, but there are businesses out there who seek to profit off our hard work. Beware of the businesses that ‘encourage’ the hustle simply to make a buck off us in a sideways fashion.

-K-

Buy or Die

Phillip K. Dick on Prepping and Consumerism

Throw a rock in any direction these days and you’re bound to hit somebody who has heard about prepping. There are articles, TV shows, and seemingly countless You Tube videos meant to inform, entertain, and persuade. Phillip K. Dick’s “Foster, You’re Dead” makes some insightful connections between prepping and consumerism that are worth discussing.

I’ve been a fan of Phillip K. Dick for years (ever since my first viewing of Blade Runner which lead me to the source material Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?). I reread “Foster, You’re Dead” about a month ago and was reminded why Phillip K. Dick is considered a master of science fiction. This short story, set in 1971, centers around the fear of a possible Soviet nuclear attack and preparations to survive it. Preparations include purchasing bomb shelters that become obsolete shortly after they are installed. Dick’s story addresses the roles fear and the government play in convincing people to prepare for a possible attack.

Selected Stories of Phillip K. Dick

The first point Dick makes concerns fear. Nothing sells quite like fear. Fear can convince people to purchase things they do not need or may never use such as a bomb shelter. Most people of wealth can readily purchase such luxury items while people of less economic means are often unable to. But fear is not a luxury, and fear is profitable. Dick develops this idea through the dilemmas of the Foster family. Dick’s ability to show the struggles of the typical American family trying to prepare for a possible nuclear attack is a profound criticism of the economics of fear. The second point Dick makes concerns the government’s role in protecting its citizens. The family of Dick’s short story is ostracized because of their belief that it is the responsibility of the government to protect its citizens. The government of Dick’s story convinces the population that individuals should be responsible for their own protection, effectively abandoning them. The government’s unwillingness to protect it citizens creates a collection of frustrated groups (some with money and others without). This second point has a eerie prescience to it when read in 2022.

Prepping has become a common activity for some and a way of life for many others. Although prepping may appear to be a relatively recent phenomenon it has been part of our culture for decades. Phillip K. Dick made some insightful connections between prepping and consumerism over a half century ago that are relevant and worthy of study today.

-K-

Selected Stories of Phillip K. Dick (2013) by Phillip K. Dick.

A Final Thought on Getting By

Are You Better Today?

It’s odd that my final thought on getting by is at the tail end of a busy couple weeks spent struggling to get by (insert cliché line about life imitating art). I think many of us have, are, or will spend portions of our lives feeling like we are just getting by. When we find ourselves in that state of getting by, when we are struggling, and when we feel like we are on the hook that’s when it’s time to do some extra work.

“On the Hook”

We need to work beyond simply getting by. This is my final thought, when you feel like you are struggling to get by ask yourself if you are better today than you were yesterday. If you can answer yes to that question then you’ve moved beyond getting by and are on your way to getting ahead.

-K-

Getting Over is Not Getting By

James Joyce’s “Two Gallants”

Hard times often call for tough decisions, but the decision to use another person is not getting by, it’s getting over. James Joyce’s short story “Two Gallants” centers on two individuals who use others for their personal gain. The characters of Lenehan and Corley appear to move through life by getting over on those around them without much thought to how their actions impact others.

Dubliners by James Joyce

Joyce’s Dubliners is an incredible study of a city and those who inhabit it. “Two Gallants” follows Lenehan, a nondescript man of middle age, as he kills time wandering around Dublin waiting for his friend Corley to, “pull it off.” The reader is allowed into Lenehan’s thoughts as he ponders his current state and how he is living his life (I won’t spoil it for you, but Joyce’s use of the epiphany is subtle here). We aren’t allowed into Corley’s inner thoughts but his words and actions clearly define the type of person he is.

Lenehan and Corley are men who have become so accustomed to using others for their own gain they barely think of it. They may tell themselves that they are getting by in a tough world but in reality they are simply getting over on an innocent victim. “Two Gallants” is a good read for anyone interested in the motives and means of those who use others for personal gain.

-K-

“Two Gallants” from Dubliners by James Joyce.

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