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Book of Jobs Part 1

INTRODUCTION

by Chris Auman


As I sit in my cubicle ready to begin another sleep-deprived work week powered by a steady diet of bad restaurant food and no less than two quarts of coffee per day, I lapse into that familiar late afternoon coma. After eight hours of soul-sucking work, proofing and editing an endless stream of catalog pages for a big box retailer, my body and brain are further weakened by the thought of the eight hours still ahead of me followed by four more grueling days of the same. As I stare into my ViewSonic Graphics Series G220fb 19” monitor, I find myself wishing that I could live inside that screen. Not in any Tron sort of way, nothing all Star Trekky like that, but I wish that I could live—if only for a few short minutes—inside my screensaver.

The screensaver is set to a slideshow of nature scenes: a close-up of a drop of dew hanging precipitously from a single blade of grass; a bumblebee caught mid-flight in a dance of courtship with a prairie flower; the translucent blue waves of the sea crashing onto the white sands of a tropical island beach—deserted by every object save a single twisted piece of driftwood—and my favorite; a small stream of water flowing through a thick green forest. Did elves live in that forest? Maybe a hobbit? Bilbo, is that you rustling around in the undergrowth? Frodo? Ah, but fucking A! This is not some wild hobbit chase through wooded glens. This is reality. I am chained to this cubicle in the service of an advertising agency that for legal reasons I’ll call SuckCo. But I’m not ready to tell this story yet, because this latest, hateful adventure has its origins elsewhere. In fact, there is a long and twisted trail leading up to this juncture. A trail filled with sweat, toil and tears, and unfortunately, very little financial reward. Character was built, I suppose, and life experience was gained, so perhaps it was not all for naught, and of course it’s not over yet. Not by a long shot.

Although I have no desire to learn any statistics or do any real “research” on the subject of “work in America,” I would guess that most people work or have held down a job or two in their lives. I would also guess—and again, no research has gone into this—that most people work long and hard most of their lives and the rewards are trifling. At least that has been my experience so far. The old adage that we were fed in our formative years concerning the ‘doing of what you love’ has proven to be a crock of steaming, bubbling bullshit, and yet despite this lie, we still must toil at our labors. But has it really been that bad? I mean really? Yes. Yes, it has, but the silver lining to this dark and stormy cloud is that I can retire in twenty-five or thirty years... but probably not. There will certainly be no social security to look forward to. I have no 401(k) plan or pension or—what’s a pension anyway? Don’t know, don’t have one, but my point is this: I will probably be working to the grave and will probably be asked to dig out a few shovelfuls of dirt since I’m going down there anyway.

In spite of this sobering reality, I have expended a lot of time and energy trying to come up with that one idea—that brilliant revenue-generating cash cow of a plan that will keep me in the black for the rest of my life. It just hasn’t happened yet.

As I mentioned above, my research on the subject of work has been limited to my own personal experiences and my reflections on jobs and how they suck. Thinking about all the jobs I’ve had in my life, I don’t know if it’s a lot, not a lot, or right there at average. I’ve held some jobs for a few years, some for just a few weeks and some for only a few days—hours really, but I’ve never been fired from any of them.

So let’s begin at the beginning then shall we?

Weekly Allowance >>


Originally published in RW#22, 2014

RW #22

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