An Irregular Column
by Mykel Board
Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep!
Where is that fucking clock?
Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep!
Goddamn! Motherfuck! What a dream! A beautiful Negress pulls the hairs out of my balls with her teeth. One by one. Her close cropped head like two pieces of velcro rubbing on the insides of my thigh. SHIT! I gotta get up. Now! Up!
I pull my legs toward my chest. It's easier to blow out the gas built up from last night's Olde English. The effort is loudly successful, but it tires me out. I argue with myself.
"UP! UP! You gotta get up." I say
"Come on. Five more minutes. Just five minutes." I beg
"NO! Make some coffee. Get dressed. Take that train uptown. You wanna get fired?" I reply.
Viscous sleep coagulates in the corners of my eyes. I pick out the white flakes. Snot sticks my nostrils together. I push my thumb inside, swirling it around, trying to catch the big one.
"ENOUGH FUCKING AROUND! GET UP!"
With a herculean effort, I manage the task of sitting. The effort nearly finishes me.
How'm I gonna make it through the day? I can't even make it to vertical.
I rock back and forth, forcing the mashed potatoes from the inside my skull. A leg slips over the side of the bed. Another. Resting a hand on either side of my naked ass, I push up... up... up. I'm on my feet. I rock back and forth a bit more, then steady myself. I'm standing! My first accomplishment of the day. Naked, I walk the five steps from my bed to the dresser.
I slam my toe against the two thirds empty beer bottle. The beer sprays along the floor, splashing the new TV. I bend down to straighten it. Using yesterday's underpants, conveniently lying near the bed, I mop up the spilled beer.
Then onwards to the dresser. The top drawer is socks. There are six or seven of them. No two the same. I choose at random, and put them on, stepping in a puddle of spilled beer that I missed.
Next drawer-- t-shirts and underpants. I pull out something blue. There are no underpants.
"Coffee, I need coffee."
Wearing only a t-shirt and socks, I wobble to the stove and put on the kettle. Then I wobble further to the bathroom to check out the week's dirty clothes. Picking through the unwashed mess, I look for the least disgusting underpants.
"I've got to do a laundry, one of these days. If only I had time. Maybe Saturday. I can stick in a load of laundry. Then go to the post office and pick up the mail. Then get back to put the clothes in the drier. While the clothes dry, I can shop for the week, drop off the groceries, pick the clothes up at the laundry. That'll take care of Saturday."
That's the kettle. The water's boiling. I put on a black pair of underpants, figuring that even if they're dirty as the others, they don't look it.
Back at the stove, I shut off the water. I get a dirty mug from the sink full of dirty dishes. Opening the coffee can, I look at the few grains of coffee at the bottom. Knowing I'll never make it out the door without the coffee, I scrounge through yesterdays garbage. Ah! An old coffee filter with the coffee only used once. I carefully pick up the filter and put it in the holder. Then, I sprinkle the few virgin flakes on top and pour the water into the filter. A thin brown liquid drips out the hole on the bottom.
When the mug is filled, I gulp it down without gagging. Refreshed enough to get my pants and shirt on, I go back to the dresser and do it.
I check my watch. It's twenty to nine. I've got to be there at nine. The train takes twenty minutes, if it comes right away. I grab my wallet and check it. Three dollars. That'll pay for the train. Now where're my keys. I can never find those fuckin' keys.
My desk is piled with last month's unanswered mail. That's the first place I check. I pat down each pile of paper, looking for a metallic lump. My elbow hits a precariously placed book. It falls, carrying with it five inches of mail. The book bangs the floor as the papers flutter around it. There, on the now-naked spot, are my keys.
Before I grab my keys, I pick up the book. It's a week overdue. I haven't had a chance to look at it yet. Still, I don't way to pay for it, so I take it with me, hoping I'll be able to get it to the library during lunch.
I grab 'em and head out. I slam the door and take the elevator down to the street. Out the front door. Halfway to the subway.
SHIT! I slam my palm against my forehead.
I can't remember if I locked my apartment. I stop, turn around and run back. The door is locked.
Back down the elevator, out the door, down the street, buy a token and join the scores of others on the subway platform. A man next to me takes a tie out of his briefcase and pulls up the collar of his blue shirt. He wraps the tie around his neck and knots it, pulling it tight against his adam's apple. God bless life that I don't have to wear a tie.
The train screeches into the station. People press up against the doors and windows. The doors open and they explode outwards. A woman in a grey suit uses both hands to part the crowd so she can pass. I've got to fight them, get in before everybody else does. Before the leavers finish leaving. It's the only way I can get a seat. Everybody else has the same idea.
I don't make it. Having to stand, I try to position myself so I can at least slump. I move across the train and lean against the far doors. The rest of the crowd comes in and pushes against me, forcing me hard back against this door. I've got six stops.
At the next stop, the doors behind me open. I spill backwards, but don't fall. I'm held up by people tying to get into the car before the others leave. They want to get a seat.
At Grand Central Station, I push through the waiting crowd. Assholes force their way inside without waiting for us to get off first. The big clock on the information booth says I'm already five minutes late. They'll be pissed, but fuck 'em. They need me.
I stop to buy a bagel with butter. I need something in my stomach besides the coffee that's already pumping the day's first shit through my intestines.
"No bag," I tell the old Greek at the deli counter. "I'm gonna eat it while I walk."
I reach for my wallet and remember that I spent my last three dollars on the token to get to work. I hand the bagel back to the Greek.
"Sorry," I tell him. "No money."
"That's all right," he says. "Pay me next time. I know you. You're a good person. You work for a living. Not like some of these bums. Here, take it. You'll pay me."
He pushes the bagel back into my hands. I thank him and run out the door, and down the street-- eating the bagel as I run.
Now ten minutes late, I get to the office. I say hello to everyone and look at the clock. Nine hours to go.
Coffee break is at ten thirty. A guy comes around with a little cart. I can buy a Danish or even Twinkies if I want. I don't. I need the ten minutes to get to the bathroom so I can shit out what the morning coffee loosened. Both stalls are occupied.
I cough loudly, so they'll know that someone's waiting. Paper rustles. A toilet flushes. A middle aged man in a suit, wearing wire rim glasses, comes out. He washes his hands and smooths his hair, looking in the mirror.
I rush into the stall, gagging at the smell he left. I try to hold my breath and relax enough to let the shit fall. I check my watch. Four minutes left. I know nothing will happen if I'm a few minutes late, but I don't like to be. It looks bad. And I was late this morning.
A feel a turd slip and splash into the toilet. Another slides through my intestines, up the left side across the top and slowly, ever so slowly downwards.
"Come on come on!" I urge my peristalsis. "I've got to get back!"
I feel the turdtip nose it's way out, and inch by inch drop southward. I check my watch. No more time. That'll have to do for now. I squeeze, pinching it off mid-drop. A quick wipe and then back to work. It's eleven fifteen. Six and three quarters hours to go.
Lunch is at twelve thirty. I have to get to the bank. That book has to go back to the library. I hope I have enough time.
The line for the cash machine fills the bank lobby. I get on it. An old woman struggles with the machine. She's probably fresh off the boat and needs a translator. I look at my watch and tap my foot loudly. What's the matter with her? Doesn't she know some people work for a living?
Finally, I make it to the machine. Amazingly, it still has money and even works. I put in my card, take out twenty, and push another button to check my balance.
"Yo!" comes a voice behind me, "you gonna push all the buttons? You can do that later, when there isn't a line around the block."
Quickly, I put the twenty in my wallet and get out of there. I stop at a pizza parlor on the way to the library. I order a slice.
"Don't bother with a bag," I tell the guy. "I'm gonna eat it and walk."
"That'll be a buck sixty." He says.
I hand him the twenty.
"Don't you have anything smaller?" He asks.
"That's the smallest the machines give," I tell him.
He grumbles and gives me my change. I take a napkin and sop up the olive oil from the top of the pizza. I don't want it dripping down my arm while I'm walking on the street. It does anyway.
I'm about halfway through the slice when I get to the library.
"No eating inside," the guard tells me.
I shove the rest of the slice into my mouth and walk in the door. There is a line to return overdue books.
Finally, I get to the front, pay my fine and get out of the library. I've got to be back at work in ten minutes. I reach in my pocket and fish out sixty cents. I'd better stop and pay the Greek or I'll never remember. Speaking of remembering, wasn't there something I was supposed to do tonight?
Reaching inside my jacket, I grab my datebook and check under today: Fellini festival with Dawn. It says. Tonight is City of Women. I never saw that one. I could probably pick Dawn up, hit the movie and then get laid. That'd be a worthwhile evening.
The Greek thanks me for the sixty cents. He knew I'd pay, he tells me. I'm a good person.
I make it back to the office with an entire minute to spare. It's one thirty. Four and a half hours to go.
At four thirty comes the second coffee break. I hit the bathroom again. I've got to finish what I started last time. Besides, the pizza isn't treating me too well.
This time, the bathroom's empty. What luck! I've got the whole ten minutes to relax and give myself over to God and nature. What a joy! It's the day's high point. Aaah! This is what heaven must be like. I drip to the end. The real end. Clean, no more inside. I could die here and now. This is nirvana.
I look at my watch. Time to go. What a break! Sometimes, I think that's all I really need in life. A good shit. There's nothing else to live for. Life would be perfect, if only I weren't so damn tired.
An hour and twenty more minutes. I need more coffee. I don't know how I'm going to last. That sleep I didn't get last night has climbed into my head and exploded. I feel like I'm walking through Jello. Everything moves in slow motion-- especially the hands on the clock. An hour and seventeen minutes to go.
A nap, if only I had a nap. I'm gonna have to call Dawn and cancel this movie tonight. Getting laid is nice, but I can't afford to loose any more sleep. I won't be able to get through another day.
A picture of my bed forms in my head. The porno mags, the ever-ready roll of toilet paper, the striped sheets, the pillow fluffed and ready. The bed waits for me, soft, with an old brown quilt to keep me warm. I could just fall in. I wouldn't have to take off my clothes. If I could only just be there now. Lying down. Closing my eyes. Dreaming. Not even dreaming, just closing my eyes and drifting off. I could sleep for a month.
I shake my head hard. Still have an hour of work left. I've got to make it through.
SIX O'CLOCK. Jacket on. Pow! Out the office door. Not even a so-long. Despite my exhaustion, I run to the elevator. Through the revolving doors.
A bum asks me for money. I pretend I don't see him. Into Grand Central, down to the subway platform. I push through the crowd trying to get out of the train. I'm gonna get a seat this time, motherfuckers.
Somehow God wakes me up when I get to my stop. The time between the subway and my apartment is a blur. I don't know how I got here, but I'm back. I push the DAWN button on my automatic phone. Her machine answers. She's not back from work yet.
"Sorry Dawn," I tell her machine, "I can't make it tonight. I... er... I'm not feeling well." Well, it's the truth-- in a way.
The bed. The glorious bed. I can sleep. I turn on my answering machine and disconnect the doorbell. No one can bother me now.
I untie my boots. That's as far as I get. I fall into the bed and drift off into a dreamless sleep. At least, it's dreamless for awhile. Then there's this naked Negress. She's kneeling between my legs. I feel the sides of her head, like velcro against the inside of my thighs.
Beep! Beep! Beep! Beep!
FUCK! I reach up to turn off that alarm clock and get ready to go to work.
We could now reproduce our 1948 standard of living (measured in terms of marketed goods and services) in less than half the time it took in 1948. We actually could have chosen the four-hour day. Or a working year of six months. Or imagine this: every worker in the United States could now be taking every other year off from work, with pay.
Juliet B. Schor in
The Overworked American
Basic Books, 1991
Work is evil. It's an evil I've tried to avoid, but have recently been forced into. I want to travel. My credit cards are up to their limits. I've got to buy presents for my friends and relatives. I need a job.
Uncle Timmy got this column almost a week late, because I was too busy working-- and too tired. They like me at my job. I can take time off when I want. I'll be in Thailand all of February. So it could be worse. But still, it's work.
Commies and capitalists glamorize work. They say there's something ennobling about it. They imply that people who work are better than people who don't work. That's a lie.
Before I go on, I should make clear what I mean by work. I don't mean the physics definition: the expenditure of energy in order to do a task. By that definition, this column is work. So is fucking.
What I mean by work is having a job. I mean going someplace at a specific time, for a specific length of time, and getting paid for it. It's a nasty business.
Bob Black, who might not even be mentioned in this issue, wrote a brilliant piece called The Abolition of Work. In it, he explains the evils of day-to-day work and its general stupidity. He shows how most jobs are nothing more than moving paper (or electrons) from one place to another? If they disappeared overnight, no one would notice.
"But what about productive work?" say the welfare reformers, commies, conservatives and liberals. "People should be doing something, not just sitting around watching television."
Those people are wrong. Last year, I wrote about the recycling myth. I explained how we use more energy to gather, pick-up, and process recycled goods than we save by recycling. The greater evil was that recycling encourages guilt-free consumption. Consumption, I wrote, is the cause of pollution, and environmental destruction. Anything that aids consumption aids those effects.
I was a bit erroneous in that column. The villain is not consumption, but production. Consumption is the result-- not the cause of environmental-- and human tragedy. We can't consume what no one produces. If nobody made pet rocks, Pac Man head antennas or Patriot missiles, nobody could use them. If nobody decided to make vinyl obsolete and release music only on CD, nobody would have to work an extra hour to pay for those CDs. You can't create goods and services out of nothing. To produce, you have to destroy. Productive work destroys natural resources, free time, and useful human minds.
Well, what about those things that we produce that can save time and effort. They can free us from labor.
The reality is that labor-saving devices don't save labor. They just mean we have time to make more stuff. Americans have been doing more of something than folks anywhere else in the world-- except Japan. According to Juliet B. Schor, full time workers now work a whole month more than they did in 1950! All the labor saving devices, all the conveniences-- have made more work!
I'm not going to give you theories or statistics. If you're interested (and you should be) read The Abolition of Work, by Bob Black. Also check out Juliet Schor's book, but be forewarned. She's a Marxist-feminist so you've got to sift through a lot of shit to get to the good stuff. (For example, she says-- without evidence-- that if men had to do housework, toilets would be designed easier to clean.) She has done her research, though. It's amazing what has happened to this society because we value work.
Unemployment? Can you imagine a country where we can't have universal health coverage because it would put too many insurance people out of work? Can you envision a place absurd enough for people to beg for the 'right' to screw nuts onto bolts all day? You live in one!
Unions complain about automation-- but we already have automation. We're the robots!
"But what about the garbage?" You ask. "If we have a society where no one has a job, who will pick up the garbage?"
Who picks up your garbage now? Who takes it out to the curb and dumps it in the can? You do! You do it not because you get paid. You do it because garbage is unpleasant and you want to get rid of it. It's not a job. It's something you just do.
People complain about unemployment. I want to see more of it. Encouraged it. More welfare, not less. Take folks out of productive evilness and make them useful non-productive members of society. The guy on the corner asking for spare change destroys nothing for his money. He hurts no one and uses no resources in his job. He's a model citizen.
Until we can all live like him, lets stop seeing our value as humans in what we produce. Let's look at what we learn, teach, explore. Let's look at how little damage we can do in our lives. That should be our value.
--> I love mail, even junk mail. If I don't want something, I throw it out. What's the big deal? If I really hate the group it comes from, I return the business reply envelope-- empty. I never answer my phone, so sales calls don't bother me either.
BUT there are folks more easily annoyed than I am. For them comes this tidbit of information. You can get your name, address and phone number removed from junk mail/phone lists by sending a request to: The Direct Marketing Assoc., 11 West 42 St., PO Box 3861, New York NY 10163-3861. Your requests must have your name, address and phone number with area code.
--> Does Corrine still read MRR?? I just found an old letter from her dated May 11th and apparently still unanswered. She didn't put her address ON THE LETTER (Remember people lose envelopes!) so I can't write back to her! Corrine wrote her letter in May. By the time this comes out she'll have outgrown MRR and be reading either Forced Exposure, The Wall Street Journal or both. But just in case, Corrine! Write again, with your address ON THE LETTER! Same goes for all you buckaroos. My address, as usual is PO Box 137, Prince St. Sta, NYC 10012. E-mail: Mykel@wps.com
-->Anarchist brains? Because of increasing censorship, I have to require an age statement from folks who buy NOTHING BUT RECORD REVIEWS through the mail. It's got the dog-sex audiotape. I hate doing it, but prefer it to being gang raped by a 200lb convicted murderer in prison.
Someone from the Philadelphia area asked (and paid for) an issue. His first name is Hank. His last name is illegible. He signed the age statement, and wrote I hope you don't call yerself an anarchist on it. He stupidly did not, however, write his address-- either on the statement or the envelope, so I have no way of sending him the zine. Yep Hank, I don't call myself an anarchist, but I bet you do.
--> Hey mass murder fans: Two things: One if you read MRR two months ago you read a rave review of a zine called Answer Me! The reviewer complimented the editor, Jim Goad on his writing skills and zinability. The reviewer forgot to mention that equally responsible is Jim's wife, (and editrix/writer), Debbie. Now if I were the sexist accusing kind...
BTW, Dale Austin, a reader in jail in Wisconsin sent me Jeffrey Dahmer's address (Columbia Correctional Inst, PO Box 900, Portage WI 53910) All you admirers are free to write him there, but remember, jail+notorious people+mail (often)=trouble.
--> Too Late for Xmas Dept: I got a press release from Violet at Humiligram (PO Box 931091, Hollywood CA 90093). For only $7 you can have your own or a friend's name inserted into a Humiligram. Your friend will be the submissive character in paragraphs like this:
Her glance now returned to (Your Friend's Name) who had finished undressing and was now down on his knees, staring at the ground. His face was vacant and dead, and his slumped shoulders and down turned head exuded shame...
--> From PO Box 674, Ashland OR 97520, comes a leaflet from The Anti-Sex League. Yep, they're against it-- all of it. In marriage and out. They're leaflet is hilarious. A perfect parodious extension of femino-Christianity:
Some forms of sex are already illegal, but with your help we can do better!...boycott stores that sell condoms, picket churches that allow postmarital (sic!) sex! Help stamp out sexual perversion by stamping out sex!
Funny as a pregnant lesbian.
-->Irony of the month dept: Barbara Jordan sends out a fund-raising letter. In it she brags about financially breaking the Klan with lawsuits. She tells about her support of a campaign to make other organizations pay when their members break the law-- even if these people don't act as part of the association. She's speaking about the activities of The Southern Poverty Law Center. The group's main focus is to financially ruin those they disagree agree with.
This center is also beginning a new organization. This one aimed at children. It's name? The Teaching Tolerance Project. Funny, huh?
--> Hey Jax (Jacquline Prichard), I tried to write you about your zine, but my letter was returned. What's your address?
--> Dept of Unpretentious Creativity: I got a copy of Rhode Islandah zine from Heidi Branton (3138 Olverhuslse Rd NW #126, Olympia WA 98502. If that address is wrong, try 8138). It's an all hand-done perzine that tells about Heidi's life, thoughts, her home state, her favorite local restaurants, her feelings about having the same first name as a famous Hollywood Madam, her adventures trying to sell the zine. It's all very low key, not shocking or confrontational. Almost like a personal letter to anyone who wants to read it. I love to see non-trendy stuff like this. I just wonder what she's doing in Olympia.
--> New definitions dept: The December 28 issue of The Advocate,
"America's National Gay & Lesbian Newsmagazine," has the following quote from author Terry Castle, "In my opening paragraph, I refer to Greta Garbo as a lesbian, despite the fact, as some readers will know, she occasionally had affairs with men as well as women... I think it more meaningful to refer to her as a lesbian."
There are girls who call themselves lesbians even though they fuck guys. That's called a "political lesbian." But what do you call it when you say someone else is a lesbian, even though she fucked guys. Sounds like name-calling and homo-baiting to me. When are these narrow monosexuals gonna realize that there are other ways of living than the stupid little boxes they call sexual identity?
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