Your motif sucks

Time for a brief, kind, and gentle work story. Instead of bashing, berating, and flagellating, I’d like to mention subject “X.”

See, the company I worked for once bought out a smaller company because we were globally voracious and greedy and gluttonous. That’s the nature of the modern corporation.

So we bought out this smaller firm and of course we absorbed all the secretly unwilling employees who had been enjoying their small mom and pop existence.

Most people preternaturally prefer the mom and pop existence when it comes to their own personal work life. It’s a very selfish drive, because these same people then turn around and lust after the corporate, Walmart-ized price structure of globalism. Inexpensive luxuries come at a price but most people do not realize nor care that the ability to buy 500 rolls of paper towels for $3.99 comes with a hefty price tag on the back end. We don’t think of the back end unless it’s toilet paper we are buying at a super discount. Who wants to pay top price for Charmin when there is a brood of 6 loud, shitting people at home?

So we inherited a few hundred resentful employees and with good reason. Some acted like children, some were quietly resentful but did their job, and some were genuinely nice because they realized the deepest human truth, which is that each soul you come in contact with on a daily basis is not the ingrained splinter remnant of the big bad corporate machine, but a singular human who lives his own miniscule existence above all. Such people are able to displace all resentment or disgust anywhere but on those who were not responsible for their plight.

Subject X was gracious.

Subject X was a class act. Amiable, intelligent…two character occurrences which naturally differentiated him from everyone I have to work with. A middle-aged, over the hill breath of fresh air. He came by to shake hands and offered a hug which kinda freaked me out in the context of my jaded, artificial showbiz environs. The only time people hug there is at happy hour or strange random socially unforeseen situations (OHHHHHHH MYYYYYYYYYYYY GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOODDDDDDDDD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!) when they peck cheeks. Strange people don’t walk into your office as they leave forever and offer scant embraces. It was weird, but it happened. X sent an email to his closest acquaintances and direct co-workers and thanked every one for their help, and assistance. I would have derived much more succor from this if he hadn’t also included my manager. However, this goodbye was primarily a political move (a parcel of the “burn no bridges” toolset) in case he decided his new life didn’t fit right.

A needy man is not a man.

In fact, he alluded once to returning back to “real life” once he discovered he didn’t like the new life. I asked him, “Is this [show biz/entertainment] really “life?” He laughed and said it was in the respect he was used to it and knew it.

This is when it occurred to me, a strange horrible truth that robbed my sleep.

There is no life we truly know. There is not.
We can never know life other than what is reflected back to us in the knowledge of others.

Our own knowledge is fake and self-enclosed. If a person grew up in a shell and never knew anyone else, what could we infer of their existence?

Wait.

Doesn’t this describe each one of us? We don’t now anyone except ourselves. We don’t know what we are even portraying. We are masques.

Except X.

I believe he understood

Intrinsically, there is nothing that differentiates you, me, him, except a dose of self-knowledge.

Without self-knowledge, you are just Them. This is why I mock those who express individuality through tattoos, i-Phones, blogs, pimped rides…you’re all living out a misplaced individualism through extraneous motifs.

The only way to fully be you is through estrangement.
Never share an emotion. Be an island.

You are an illusion. Your definition is only a meaningless dictionary entry.

  • Just trying to clarify here. Actually, if I am not mistaken, the one being stoned is buried up to a certain point and then, rocks away. At the very least I am sure they are tied up. Its not like they are running from the assault.
    Remember, this is primarily practiced by the Religion Of Peace, Islamics.
    But hey, if one wants to be stoned while stoning, be my guest.

    • David

      My favorite stoning of all time was the one portrayed by Shirley Jackson in “The Lottery.”

      http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Lottery

      • That was actually one of the best movies I saw in school. I think the first time was in intermediate school. I love the fact that the one all hot to throw the rocks ended up getting it in the end. That is eternal justice at work! Did you see the remake?

        • David

          I believe I’ve only read the story but it seems I did see an old version of the story. Never saw the remake.

          • Oh, you never saw it? I know that I saw it once in high school. Well, seeing that movie was like having 3 years of sex-ed. The first time was really cool. By the time you get to the third year, YOU can teach the class. So, if one saw this movie a third time, well YOU can almost recite the dumb, excited victim. You should see the original sometime.

          • Oh, that is the one they show in school. So, you did see it. Like I said, I think I saw about 3 times. It is just weird because the excited lady is but a seemingly nice housewife. Who knew she had a pitcher’s arm with the rocks?! Check that. The townspeople had the pitcher’s arms as they stoned HER!

    • Amy

      Usually I think men are buried to the waist and women to the neck.

      • David

        If you were buried face first and your feet were stoned..I think this would be quite brutal. Suffocating while your footsies are pummeled. God that’s awful. Suffocation and live burial are awful.

        • Uh, if you are already suffocating, probably by the time the stoning begins, you are already dead. You miss the fine point of stoning.
          It is to see those carrying out the punishment take their vengeance out on you.
          I suppose sometimes one is blindfolded, but I do not think so.

          • Amy

            I have also seen videos where the people are blindfolded.

          • I guess that is more humane?!

          • Amy

            Depends on the person I suppose. I could understand wanting to look your accusers in the eye. Probably makes it easier on the people throwing the stones, anyway.

        • Amy

          I’d have thought “footsies” would be a big giveaway.

      • I beleive you are correct. In “The Stoning of Sorya M.” that is exactly the method used.
        Beautiful, of course.
        But as an advocate of the death penalty (for real crimes like murder), I believe Ol’ Sparky is the best one.
        So what if it shoots sparks in the air? Then you know it is working.

  • Gay State Girl

    I hear Malaysia whips their prisoners in public view. And we all know Saudi Arabia is a torture mecca.

    • David

      Stoning is a really beyond the pale.

      I would ,like to take part in a stoning.

      • Do you mean STONED or actually throwing rocks at people? Or do you mean being stoned WHILE throwing rcoks at people? Just want clarification.

        • Amy

          What about being stoned and having rocks thrown at you?

          • David

            I guess if I was going to have rocks thrown at me, stoned would be the best way to go out :(

          • BUT, where it is practiced today, Islamic nations, there is NO WAY that is gonna happen. No, they WANT you to see the anger that the whack-jobs have done to stir the people up. And they WANT you fully aware of what is happpening.

  • Don’t feel bad at all for “hijacking” the thread. Think RED EYE! Or think of it as us improving on the dark like journey that is “An Unmarried Man”.

    • Amy

      Maybe hijack is the wrong word, but I often pick one tangential point out of the whole thing and run off with it, neglecting the central point.

      I like to think all us grasshoppers are improving on our dark like journeys together.

      (I’m tempted to wax rhapsodical about chirping to each other in the dark, but gaah…that’s way too corny, even for me.)

      • Gay State Girl

        I love that metaphor.

        • David

          GSG,Happy Mother’s Day. In the metaphorical (or motif-orical) sense.

          • Gay State Girl

            Happy Hallmark day.

          • David

            Preaching to the choir. Never know when you’re dealing with the irredeemably jaded.

          • Gay State Girl

            I sat out on the festivities to study for finals.

          • David

            I hope your sacrifice proves worthy

          • Gay State Girl

            Professors always manage to sneak in an exam the day after major holidays, bt I don’t really enjoy celebrating them anyway. Now that my grandmother’s sickness has taken a toll on her behavior and sanity made her a complete primadonna, I find that studying is a convenient excuse to stay away.

          • David

            Haha, I can relate. I love using responsibility as an antidote to life.

            Primadonna is a great word.

          • Gay State Girl

            She’s really strange though. Not only does she antagonize the one’s she held dear, she has also taken a new liking to her enemies, people who have fucked her over. I prefer to sstay away.

        • Gay State Girl

          Though using the term hijack might unintentionally get you in hot water (No Pun intended but just couldn’t resist.)

          • David

            I would never eat boiled grasshoppers.

            Fried, perhaps. But I’d have to be really drunk. Which still is not much of a stretch.

          • Amy

            When I make grasshopper references I’m usually alluding to Master Po from Kung Fu.

            Ha, I like the idea of a “boiled grasshopper” as someone who is well and truly fucked!

          • David

            Boiled flesh is not attractive. It bloats and the flavor is perverted. I would try a grasshopper (fried omelette) however, with lots of Tapatio sauce.

          • Amy

            Anything about a gentle simmer tends to toughen most kinds of meat, but perhaps the rules are different when it comes to cooking grasshoppers. You do boil shrimp and lobsters, maybe you boil grasshoppers too.

            If I actually had a “bucket list” I would put grasshopper on it. Or any sort of edible insect. Unless you count the red food dye carmine (made from cochineal beetles), I haven’t knowingly eaten insects of any kind.

          • Amy

            *above* a gentle simmer.

          • David

            A simmer is in fact very gentle and the saintliest of all cooking methods

          • Amy

            In French a low simmer is “making the pot smile.”

          • David

            It’s like putting the microwave on 30 power for a minute and 20.

          • David

            Kung Fu was the greatest TV show ever.
            I worshiped that shit through my teen years.

          • Amy

            There’s that word “worship” again.

            Is this word becoming another victim of post-modern word depreciation, like “awesome” and “epic”?

            http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G2y8Sx4B2Sk&feature=colike

          • Gay State Girl

            What I have missed by not watching TV. I miss out on all the cultural references.

          • David

            Does Kung Fu even constitute a cultural reference anymore???

            It is so esoteric and fringe. No one gives a crap about Kwai Chang Caine.

          • Amy

            Part of the fun of making obscure references is the joy of someone actually getting them.

          • David

            Hear hear

            I used to watch Kung Fu and felt elevated in a spiritual sense. I took Grasshopper’s teachings to heart.

          • Amy

            My college boyfriend (this was in the 80s, pre-9/11) once attracted some unwanted attention from airport security for jokingly saying to a buddy in the men’s room, “Hakim, do you have the bomb?”

          • David

            Oh wow!

            Post 9/11: waterboarding.

          • Gay State Girl

            I always wondered if that expression had its roots in forms of torture. I wouldn’t want to imagine.

          • David

            Our torture is in a class of its own. People just depress the shit out of me.

          • Gay State Girl

            I hope that wasn’t a reference to my earlier statements. I wasn’t planning on inflicting physical pain on my kids, just hard work.

          • David

            There is a difference.

            Infants are to be coddled and nurtured at our own peril. This is their most helpless stage.

          • Gay State Girl

            I saw a Caribbean woman hitting her daughter over the head in broad daylight.

          • David

            I think once they are about 4 or 5, they are fair game (to parents only). There is no benefit to disciplining infants.

          • David

            I’ve watched this video about 5 times now.
            I’ve come to several conclusions.

            -If I had seen this before I had a child, I might laugh, but still be aghast.

            -I’ve had a child and it fucking reduces me to a monster when I see it.

            -Why do we even try? Why do we vote and act like we matter?

            -Amazing the survival mechanism infants are capable of

          • Amy

            I read about this earlier today. Haven’t seen the video. I’m not squeamish about many things, but I steer clear of videos of kids being hurt. My blood pressure and heart rate go through the roof and I want desperately to stomp the life out of whoever is doing it. Which is only a useful instinct if I have the person in front of me and have the right to be judge, jury, and executioner. Since the woman is on the other side of the planet I just run the risk of having a stroke.

          • David

            This truly speaks to my point about how this video affects parents v non parents.

            Once you’ve sat with your infant child for years, you see them in tihs picture. This is rough for me, and I have very little heart.

          • Amy

            I was already a big softy about kids before becoming a parent–when I first saw that photo of Elian Gonzalez crying in fear of the Feds I burst into tears.

            http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Inselian.jpg

            But it morphed into something a lot fiercer after becoming a parent.

          • Gay State Girl

            Are you going to go for the Mexican torture, or Chinese (or rather Korean) medicine?

          • David

            I’d like to go for the “get away from the human race” bit.

          • Amy

            Ha, I remember this. Maybe it will drive that other song out of my head. Hoist on my own flaming petard.

          • David

            I saw them 3 times in the 80s. What energy. What a message!

      • David

        I like to think of it as wolves howling.

        • Amy

          It’s an apt analogy, given the way they socialize over long distances.

          Next time I hear the coyotes going bananas at night, I’ll think of all the howling as a very active comment thread.

  • Amy

    Now I’m starting to feel bad for hijacking the thread. The bit about expressing individualism “based on extraneous motifs” was not the point of the post.

    Looking back over my life, though, the people like the hugging man (at least it wasn’t one of those awkwardly long hugs!), the ones who demonstrate perspective that transcends the current situation along with a genuinely kindhearted respect for others–they sometimes appear to be few and far between. Most of us are too distracted by the concerns and whims of the present.

    • David

      I welcome the hijacking.

      I’m not so vain as to believe my word is king. All human conversation plays out as a tree of thoughts. One subject bequeaths another.

      Everything I write here has the implied understanding that it spirals into chaos and random rumination.

      Happy Mother’s Day, Amy!

  • “This is why I mock those who express individuality through tattoos, i-Phones, blogs, pimped rides.”
    First, leave the blogging out of this kernel of truth. Seriously.
    Second, the whole tatt thing is really gross. I mean, don’t these idiots realize what they will look like at middle age?
    Check that!
    I know a woman at least in her early 60s who, I kid you not, went with her granddaughter and she got an ankle tatt.
    WTF?!
    Chalk that with getting drunk or stoned with your kids.
    But yeah, there is no bit of individuality in getting a tatt. It is, well totally cool now. But not with me.
    I have a middle-of-the-road kind of cell phone. Yeah, I can check my e-mail. Oh yeah, something you seem not to do! And look on Facebook. But it is not a “smart” or I-phone. It is sort of being in but not part of the world.
    And what is the point of getting a car that is more than a house payment or a rent payment? For what? To drive cool and live in squalor?
    Like I said, in the usual strange way here, you stumbled into the truth.

  • Gay State Girl

    I had to look Miltown up. Were you refering to the tranquilizer or the ghettolicious hoods of Milwaukee?

    I grew up on Allan Sherman. My parents own his old records.

    I feel really guilty when people reveal their ballpark age to me. I feel old too.

    • Amy

      The tranquilizer–one of the verses of the song Allen Sherman sings in the video refers to parents taking it at home while their kids are out, presumably to calm their nerves.

      My folks had a copy of “My Son, the Folk Singer,” the one with “Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah.”

      Don’t feel guilty on my account!

      • Gay State Girl

        I wish I had grown up in the ’60’s. The ’90’s was great enough but I wish I could have experienced it with a more mature mind and in under a better circumstance.

        • Amy

          Although I was there for some of it, I can’t remember the 60s–I was a 70s kid. The house pretty much looked like the one in That 70s Show.

          • Gay State Girl

            Haven’t watched it much. Were your parents dopeheads?

          • Gay State Girl

            Sorry for asking.

          • Amy

            I don’t mind. Though I’m laughing as I type. My parents were teetotallers. No drugs or alcohol whatsoever. Christian Scientists are like Mormons in that respect.

            I was thinking of the aesthetics of the show–bright earth-tone colors (orange, avocado, mustard), big abstract daisies on the dishes, wood paneling on the walls, stuff made out of macrame.

          • Gay State Girl

            When attempting to capture an era, the media tends to do it up to the nines, making it into a caricature. I hope they are more subtle with shows from the ’90’s, though I’d love to make fun of this past decade.

          • Amy

            Actually when watching that show I’m always recognizing stuff from my old house or my friends’ houses, articles of clothing we wore, etc. As I recall the 70s really did look that weird.

          • Amy

            Just one example–there was this chair in the living room, made of translucent brown plastic, sort of shaped like a big scoop, with a steel base that allowed you to spin the chair like an office chair, with wide-wale, yellow corduroy cushions on it.

          • Gay State Girl

            Do you still have your parents?

          • Amy

            Not anymore–they passed in ’03 and ’04. My inlaws passed not long after, so the kiddo has no living grandparents. I knew all of mine and three great-grandparents besides. I took that for granted as normal, but it seems I was greatly blessed.

          • Gay State Girl

            I’m sorry. They must have pretty young. Pity your son didn’t get to know his grandparents.

            I was the only grand child to know all four of my grand parents.

          • Gay State Girl

            I’m a ’90’s kid. I have some fuzzy memories from the late ’80’s, but they were mostly personal.

          • Gay State Girl

            What part of Virginia did you live in?

          • Amy

            I grew up in Massachusetts, but lived close to Washington DC for 15 years, part of that time in Northern Virginia.

          • Gay State Girl

            Your husband was from a rural area right?

          • Amy

            Yep–they didn’t pave the roads in his part of town until the late 1970s.

  • Gay State Girl
    • Amy

      Now I know I’m old–I know what Miltown and “the Frug” are. And Allan Sherman, LOL.

  • “messagea” s/b M E S S A G E S!

  • Hmm, maybe subject X you know, returns messagea. I don’t know. Someone here does not.

  • Amy

    I was thinking about the “personal motif” theme today, particularly as regards teenagers, for whom these sorts of expressions seem to be excruciatingly important. One of John Hughes’ 80s movies was on TV (Pretty in Pink), and I mused at the very 80s sartorial details, the oversized jackets, slouchy socks, punk hair, etc.–all the things that looked ridiculous just a decade later, along with decades before and since. When did teenagers begin to hyperfocus on these things (or should I ask when their parents began to allow it)? Was it in the 1920s? I’m not exactly sure. It exploded in the 1970s.

    However did teenagers manage to express their individuality in previous centuries? Of course I’m being sarcastic, but it’s not as if teenagers were so much different in the 20th century. Though most of them aren’t trying to express themselves so much as look cool to their peers (and unlike their parents). It’s not really individualism. Most teenagers don’t want to be an island.

    • Gay State Girl

      It ain’t that way anymore. “Cool” is out the door even when I was in high school. Youtube killed the video star. But people still are sheep. They’ll find a niche style, idea, or legendary figure and emulate it to the bare bone.

      • Amy

        Maybe I’m stuck on 20th century-style teen culture and how focused it was on the generation gap. Geez, I’m getting old.

        Come to think of it, I can’t get my head around whatever the “Oughties” (whatever you want to call the first decade of the 21st century) featured in terms of fashion and etc. It’s not as easy to define as the 70s, 80s, even the 90s.

        • Gay State Girl

          The actual pop culture for the 00’s was complete trash, thank God the internet offered alternatives. I miss the 90’s :(