E for Effort

Yeah, I’m trying. I have not yet elevated my thinking to “no try, just do” or even “just do it”. But I am trying to counter my brain chemicals and keep my snout above water. Today I didn’t do a helluva lot, but did manage to walk the dog twice, for almost a mile each time. It was an effort, but I made it, she’s happy (or something akin to happy for her neurotic little self) and now we’re back in our little cavern. Such is life.

For some bizarre reason, unknown to me on a cognitive level, I have been watching YouTube videos of “Karens” behaving badly. I’ve discovered that not all “Karens” are male, not all of them are white, and they come in all ages and sizes. They are, however, all incandescently pissed off. They do not want to be told about rules or guidelines and they really want to argue with people about the law and their rights.

When grown adult people scream so loudly that veins stand out on their foreheads I am intrigued. When I find they’ve been triggered by sitting too long in a drive-through at McDonald’s or being told they must wear a mask in a retail store, I’m befuddled. Watching these folks waving their copies of the ADA law and alleged medical exemption to mask mandates is amusing. They do not enjoy being told that a privately owned business can make their own policies and rules concerning masking, and Karen is free to shop elsewhere.

This is about power, plain and simple. Don’t tell me what to do – who are you to be able to tell me what to do if I don’t want to do that? When the entire rest of a person’s world is out of their control, a mask seems like a perfect opportunity to vent their spleen. Even better, when a teenager at Taco Bell fails to provide sauce for your tacos, that seems like the perfect opportunity to make that hapless worker the recipient of every ounce of rage you have, about anything and everything.

The “Karen” mentality says you will do what I say, you will serve me without error, you will greet me with a smile even when I’ve insulted every hair on your head, and you’re going to like it. Um, hate to tell these folks…that’s not how it works. It’s often gratifying to see a minimum wage fast-food worker bark back at these folks, who seem to take great delight in explaining how they will have “corporate” fire the insolent and incompetent worker. A couple of these kids have told the nice folks, “Hey, I don’t give a @T#D about this job, and I don’t give a @T#D about you. You can take your attitude and bring THAT to corporate, but I don’t really give a damn.” Therein lies the dream of every worker who wants to tell “the man” hey – take this job and shove it.

I have certainly had more than my fair share of abuse from both “customers” and “the man”, and it’s not pleasant. It’s even more unpleasant because it is simply not necessary. Going toe-to-toe with somebody about something stupid like a hamburger or a 3×5 scrap of fabric across your face is not doing a thing to help get us through the day. What a waste of time.

Back in the day, I can remember being that angry over something inconsequential. The anger was never about the matter at hand, it was always about “respect” or wanting to feel as though I could get my way. That never worked. Maybe for a minute or so out of time, but when it was all said and done, I still had none of the power I was craving. Usually, I had a headache from screaming and hollering and sometimes punching the wall. That was not at all helpful to me, or anyone else involved.

It seems that power is addictive. We humans seem to be born addicted to it, and attempts to divest us of it results in severe withdrawal symptoms. We’ll kill for it, we’ll go to war for it, we’ll lie and cheat for it. We’ll toss every ounce of moral turpitude in the sewer to maintain control over circumstances or people, and we’ve talked ourselves into believing that’s the right way to live. If that was the correct way to go through life, we wouldn’t be in such turmoil over acquiring and maintaining power over…things and people.

Ah, well. Power in the natural world is really just a way to get work done. Ultimately that’s all it is anywhere, but I suppose the question becomes what becomes of the work. Work for what purpose? Work to accomplish what? I don’t mind working, but if I feel I’ve been made a fool of and worked breathlessly for an invalid cause, I am slightly less motivated to continue. Unfortunately, the systems we’ve built are now a perverse game of Jenga, and trying to move any one piece will topple the entire structure you’ve just built.

I suppose we forget that we have built this place. These days, many of us are trying to convince others that we need to “deconstruct” the parts of the colossus that aren’t working, but as someone wiser than me once said – people don’t want to be constantly tearing down things. They want to be building new things. That’s where the energy is, that’s where the motivation lives. Building, not destroying. That sounds like a sound plan.

For whatever it’s worth, I’m tired of fighting. I’m tired of the battle, tired of the never ending plans and strategies and games to be played. Life is not a game, I don’t think so why I need to learn to play a game to live it is beyond me. I applied for a couple of jobs that would be ideal for me, and for the employers, but I suppose I didn’t play the game right…the right key words weren’t in my resume’ and my cover letter didn’t say the right things. Fuck all that. I’m done. I’ll get a job doing something I don’t like and probably overqualified for, but I won’t have to give it a second thought. I won’t need to be a problem solver, won’t need to try and make anything better, just do what they tell me to do and then leave. Just send the paycheck and go straight to hell. Do not pass go, but you’d better give me the $200. What a sorry state of affairs to have a brain and be penalized for using it.

Anyway, that is my rant on corporate America and the state of the gross national product and the hierarchy of greed. Greed seems to be the clever disguise of power, and the more of it you satisfy the more of it you want. More, more, more. The sad part is that no matter how much of “it” (whatever “it” is) that you get, you then have to spend even more effort to keep it. Those at the top of the heap spend all their time making sure nobody is going to topple them, and those at the bottom spend all their time figuring out a way to get to the top. Some days that just seems like such an empty hole in the cosmos.

I am trying. I’m not trying to get rich, I’m not trying to achieve power, I’m not trying to control anything or anybody (except maybe the psycho dog, for her own good). I just want to be better than I was a minute ago, for no other reason than I can be. I don’t want to get to the end of my time here knowing that I gave up, or let crap set up by somebody else beat me. A Janis Ian song that I’ve always liked is “Me To You”, and it says, “I hate to see a friend go down in flames without a song, so I’m waiting by the doorway but I will not linger long.” Sometimes you have to write your own song, and I suppose that’s what I’m doing now. It really sucks to have lost your beat, but it sucks even more to be marching to someone else’s beat. I will not linger long…got shit to do.

I think without a beat, I’d be dead.

Published by annzimmerman

I am Louisiana born and bred, now living in Winston Salem, North Carolina. Fortunately for me, I was already living in NC before Hurricane Katrina decimated my beloved New Orleans. An only child, I now feel that I have no personal history since the hurricane destroyed the relics and artifacts of my childhood. As I have always heard, c'est la vie. My Louisiana roots show in my love of good coffee, good food, and good music. My soggy native soil has also shown me that resilience is hard-wired in my consciousness; when the chips are down (or drowned)...bring it on.

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