Saturday, June 30, 2012

On Strike

Someone asked me why I was sleeping in the parking lot and I told them I was on strike against my employment agency. I got assigned a job a ways north and I drove there expecting an 8 hour gig and got 4 hours. The tile setter had fucked up the arrangement of new tiles and I tore them up faster than they had anticipated, saving some and tossing the rest, badly bruising my right calf on the dumpster and breathing more mortar dust than legally allowed by God. Brand new building. $25,000 mistake. Oggy's total payment after Uncle Sam's mexican mordida was $27. Problem is that it cost me $32 in gas to get there and back. So if I had taken the day off and walked down to Tacos More and bought $5 worth of barbacoa and Jarritos it would've been the exact same financial outcome. Of course, minus the bleeding face from flying chips of tile. It was actually the most laughably lopsided ticket I've ever had from any day labor operation. I seriously laughed when Kourtney handed me the check. Her indifference was priceless as she clicked shoe styles on the computer. The best is that I lost more money when I went to the Pakistani grocer's to cash the check. So I decided to strike because I'm a disgusting Communist.

The person waved at my half naked body, lack of signage or pamphlets, sweat dripping off my face.
"What kind of strike is this?"
"The same kind as any. Worthless. 20 Mexican scabs cross the picket line every morning to ear $20 a day."
"What picket line?"
"That's the problem. They start work before I wake up."
I mopped my face and picked a Pete Seeger song on the guitar.
"Where have all the flowers gone...?" I sang. It was like 104 degrees and the tail lights don't work and my exhaust pipe is hanging down like elephant phallus.
"Ok, I'm going to have to ask you to leave," said the man.

See, I'm a new kind of activist, the defeated kind. So I drove to the park and set up camp as far from the children's pool as possible. A man walking his dogs stopped and asked me what my deal was.
"Where you going, where you coming from?"
"It's a long story. No ending in sight."
He proceeded to tell me of taking a 1978 Honda CB 750K, my near dream motorcycle, on a 13,000 mile tour of the U.S. in 1982.
"Best thing I ever did." he grinned like a kid as he told me about camping, cheap gas, freedom.
Then he followed it up with a story that chills my fucking heart.
He works for American Airlines for 28 years, took pay cut after pay cut (thereby inhibiting his opportunity to save money) and is on the lip of getting laid off (he is about 58 years old) and his retirement benefits will be $800 a month. You think he likes moving luggage? You know, not everyone in the world can be hedge fund brokers and real estate lawyers or online game programmers or currency traders or maintain websites with snarky top 10 lists. Someone actually has to accomplish something tangible and this guy, totally typical American, who believes in tangible labor for tangible rewards, got completely fucked. He'll be lucky to get $800 a month because if some slippery tramp in the pension dept. gets sticky fingers like happens quite a bit lately, he'll end up at the day labor hall crossing his fingers to get $27 a day. I've heard too many stories like this to think it's an anomaly. Plumbers, carpenters, mechanics, and others took jobs that are tangible trades, and they honestly thought they would not be swindled by Politicians and the thinking class of pencil pushers. Now they are losing their farms to a Chinese investment consortium and their jobs got outsourced to India. But don't worry, it won't happen to you so it doesn't really matter.

In Texas they will actually pay you $10 a shift to walk a picket line...because your personal involvement has nothing to do with holding a sign. Why would it? Planned Parenthood pays college students to get people to sign up for memberships...the dues immediately going back to the college student who got paid to sign you up. Total revolving door of money with futility as an interest point. A guy wrote a program to answer/refute every global warming denier comment on Twitter but the problem is that all the denier comments were entered by conservative think tank computer bots. The propaganda against socialism and communism is similar to the marketing of high heel shoes for women. They hurt, they are expensive, they are impractical, but women buy them and fuss over them. Why? Propaganda. Only in a fearful, immature society would a person toss luggage for 28 years for living wages to go on the dole when he gets laid off while the CEO retires at 38. Because those are offenses every other civilized culture have used as reason to behead, castrate, burn and pillage. But we're cockheld by the tramp market...the thought machine feeds us dirty laundry and we clean it with our tongues.

The essay I want to write is "Living By Default" because that's the trip Americans are on right now. The ruling class instituted a marketing campaign starting from 1st grade that made conformity and docile cocksucking the rule to follow. Don't make waves. Don't rock the boat. Don't talk about Communism and don't make friends with the homeless people. Every criminal is "crazy" and every junkie is diseased. There's no cause behind the heat waves and cigarette smoking is healthy. So, what would come naturally to the unaffected, free thinker, something like going on strike for better wages, not only is resisted, but it's violently opposed. You treat people like children long enough and they start thinking like children. The default status when you are born is protected and defended though it is the very weight that drowns you and the stepping stone that is on your neck. It isn't stupidity that keeps the status quo alive because a stupid person would recognize the insanity, it's smart people being gullible enough to believe the talking heads repeatedly defining the default lifestyle and risks as acceptable and good. Again, it's not a mistake that Kansas voters shoot themselves in the neck every election, it's as intentionally manufactured as a Jack in The Box menu item.

But don't listen to me, I'm a communist who should be thankful for the opportunity to contribute to the greater construction good. Ha! I just realized it was more socialist of me to spend my own money to help with an industrial construction project, than it would be to go on strike. But that's the ultimate victory of the propaganda machine: When being "American" is defined as being "communist" then you have to be a "socialist" to be accepted as a loyal "American". Someone just committed a "ThinkCrime".

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Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.