Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Fly On

Seeds planted in the duff
Forest leaves brushed aside
Turning brown to these eyes
Looking through the glass called I

Only the strong leave their seeds behind
To drift against fence posts
And tree stumps
Carried by the wind to distant rivers
By rivers to distant seas
To the bottom of the ocean
To the top of the mountain.

Fly on
Walk where you aren’t allowed
Go and don’t stop until you are home
Once you grow then the law means nothing
It's not pretty but it's beautiful


In linguistics, the lexicon (from the Greek: Λεξικόν ) of a language is its vocabulary, including its words and expressions. More formally, it is a language's inventory of lexemes.

I thought of this word when rereading the following fragment I wrote...

"...building mini indestructible pyramids for Chinese pharaohs."

I think that breakdown led to a breakthrough. This little fragment represents an evolutionary jump in my writing. See, I wasn't trying to be poetic. I was just throwing down words that symbolize my imagination but the words came out sort of poetic. It's perfectly understandable and yet the words have never been used like this before. This, I think, is a writer's job: reinvent language. I've been toying with that pyramid/pharaoh image for years because I think we all agree the pyramids are a monumental waste of human resources and the pharaoh had no justification for building them...except that he had free labor and an insane belief in the afterlife.

So, to reapply those symbols to my own experiences has been a challenge and I think I finally pulled it off. It's a combination of words that has never been used before to communicate an idea that is familiar yet original. It's not gibberish, but it's not normal. It's grandiose, but I'm also talking about large scale manufacturing done by many for the benefit of the few, so it isn't totally inappropriate. The things I was building, by the way, will last longer than the pyramids and are polluting every element to death.

Anyway, I like it. "...Chinese Pharaohs." It's got a nice ring to it and I was working for a Chinese CEO so it's sort of true. It's an accusation and a denouncement without coming out and being crude. It's poetic and damning. Or I like to think it is. That's what being a writer means to me.

Terminated with Prejudice...

How else would this story end? Cyberdyne didn't just dismiss me, they did it in the most spineless way imaginable, using the temp agency as the hatchet man and inventing a story about insubordination to justify it.
Now, I'm an asshole in more ways than one. We all know this. You ask me to push a broom and I'll wonder why and extrapolate that simple act into a complicated constellation of philosophical means and ends and maxims and ethics that would make Nietzsche puke. But there is no way to get the whole story here. I can only explain myself and you, dear reader, will fill in the blanks. You already know about my resistance and trouble in that difficult procedure of applying the X to the bottom of the aluminum plate. What can I say? I have problems writing. The marker ran out of ink. I wasn't trained. I needed more time. SO many excuses and all useless.
But was that the problem that led to my termination? I'll never know. Was firing me the right thing to do, for everyone concerned? Of course. This was a marriage made in temp labor hell, right down to the mugshot ID tag that I will post eventually.
So many men have been down this road. I can say I hopped and jumped to please everyone, but that would sound pandering, and whiny. I can also say that I never did anything I wasn't asked to and hardly paid attention the entire time I was working there, instead dreaming of Mexico and Kerouac and music and women. And this would be partly true. Amazingly I managed to do the same amount of work as the people who did pay attention. They paid me for my hands, not my attention span. That costs more than minimum wage to rent.
Why I stayed as long as I did is testament to how badly I needed the money. But in the end, when you are faced with a difficult decision it is better to leave with your pride than be fired by lies. I didn't expect them to stoop so low but the fact they hired me was proof they are bottom feeders. No matter what, I knew the end was near and I allowed them to finish the play instead of taking the supervisor aside and asking for a different department. I know there was no other department so it would have been a dignified way of parting.
"No hard feelings. I'll turn in my badge."
A nice handshake. The chance to pick up my lunch bag.
But this leaves a nasty taste of bile in my throat. Getting the hatchet because they say I refused to do work, barely 15 minutes after clocking out and having my supervisor thank me for working on two special projects involving aluminum chips in rejected heat sinks.
"In fact," I told my temp boss in a lapse of philosophical equanimity, "That sounds like the exact opposite of what happened."
But that is hearsay as far as the general public is concerned. I'm black listed because Cyberdyne is the one writing the list. I will not say I wish I had done better work. I only wish I had left on my own.
Next time you talk on your cell phone and think what a wonderful device it is I want you to shove the phone up your ass and try walking around all day. Feel good? Well, that's what it takes to put that phone in your hand and make it work. And in the end the record will say you were defiant and not worth minimum wage. That grave we all have in our future will be cold and dark and have exactly zero network coverage...forever. So why the fuck can't we do without it for few years?
Disregard that last comment. It's Christmas! Time to be happy! Ho ho!
Creative Commons License
Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.