You’re Naked Until Dead

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Warning: Mature Audiences Only: contains lucidity, profanity, conjecture and really bad news.

I think it was Freud who said that humans need love and work to be…uh…folks who don’t have to blow time and money curled-up all fetal and vulnerable on a couch, ratting out their mothers to guys like Freud. I thoroughly agree. Work is something to do during those awkward years between birth and death, a necessary exercise of mind and body (combined with at least an hour of working-out if the largest muscle used in your work is stuffed all hot-sweat-convoluted in your skull).

But sometime around the mid-eighteenth century a new fad took the world by storm, inspiring people, usually at gunpoint, to leave their work, cram themselves into factories, like brains in skulls, and “donate” as much as 18 hours a day to Power, who had no work, just money. Once der volk had donated enough mind and muscle to become law-abiding, patriotic citizens, that is, clay, ready willing and able to listen to whatever Power had to say — unable to do anything else —  they allowed Power to convince them that this new fad, aka The Job, was not mindless, dehumanizing slavery, but work.

Big mistake.

Turned out the fad persisted even longer than “flower-power” would at a much later date. Finally, some Country/Western sharpie wrote a ditty called “Take This Job and Shove It” and the whole “job con” was blown, pissing off millions of the original workers’ — or rather, jobbers’ — descendants, but by then it was too late.

Except for a few gigs in Law, Science and Medicine, all the work was gone. Folks could no longer get by on a few bucks earned sewing garments at home, converting nearby trees to furniture, or simply farming the land, which was now the property of Power and in no way tax-deductible. True, a select few artists, intellectuals and entrepreneurs learned to whip up corn-ball, popular books, “hit” songs and velvet Elvis paintings, but, in general, der volk were broke and had to pay big $$$ for both necessities and useless junk, now known as “consumer goods” that no one in their right minds would actually buy if not brainwashed into a sort of functioning narcosis via advertising, sponsored by Power.

Hell, in NYC it cost $50,000 to rent a parking space within a block of the SteelGlassAndCement towers many jobbers now lived in, and the only reason they needed these tiny squares of asphalt was to keep the cars they needed to commute to the cramped cubicles in which their jobs were kept warm or cool, depending on the season, in huge hermetically sealed SteelGlassAndCement towers that dwarfed the monolithic monstrosities in which they slept at night in order to wake up early for their…jobs. Couldn’t fit a car in no elevator —  had to carry the damned thing twenty flights up to yer high-rise apartment and keep it in the dining area (or kitchen, if you were a cowardly traitor and bought some pip-squeak foreign car); hence, expensive parking lots were the only option Power could provide. And the less “fortunate” couldn’t even afford cars; they had to wake up extra early every morning and cram their flaccid selves into flatulent diesel  buses, or worse, train-cars dense with other…cattle — underground, no less!

Well, why cry over spilled milk; or the no-longer-limitless (not by a long shot!) potential for  life, consciousness, “being” and all that nonsense; or the extinction of all those species of  flora and fauna, along with  human tribes, societies and cultures that existed eons before the  job con?

What’s done is done. Besides, as Power says, to the gainfully employed at least, “You’re lucky you even have jobs.”

Darn tootin’. Cause without jobs to waste away your piddly lives in cubicles you’d have…well, nothing.

Look at it this way: by some outrageous accident of chemistry and physics, and subsequent evolutions and devolutions, you are each granted about seventy-five years of consciousness in the Cosmos. An eternity precedes this consciousness, and after the bulb blows, an eternity will follow.  Shit, you can spend 70 years just watching a tree and trying to figure out what, really, ultimately, disregarding whatever factoids you picked up from NOVA or Mutual of Omaha, what the hell it really actually truly is.

Lucky indeed you  have jobs — most of you; for now — to divert you from such laggard, lolly-gagging, holistic onanism. Time is Money, Power sez, and like Money, you’ll need as much of it as you can get to buy all the stuff you want, or believe you want. So hard to know what you want as opposed to what you need, and even harder to figure out if what you want is really what you want and not some fig in your imagination, planted there by Power’s light and omnipresent fingers thrust through your wide HD screen while you dozed through the Super-bowl half-time extravaganza.

Take a look at those so-called “Native” Americans:  Sioux, Navajo, Iroquois and whatever other tribes of layabouts laid about until god-fearing Power drove them – heh, heh – “underground.”  Except for the average of 12 to 20 hours spent gathering and/or preparing food and medicines; “takin’ care of shit” like fixing tents, long-houses or other dwellings; cleaning animals after a hunt —  not to mention conspiring and consorting with one’s “Squaw” to create yet more dead-beats —  essentially all they did was look at stuff. And think. About god-knows-what. And maybe talk, though they weren’t big on chit-chat.   Religious ceremonies were simple, lacking basic instruction as to the ways of Power, featuring little, if any, authoritative commentary by medicine men or witch-doctors or what-have-you.  Just figuring out, during one’s life, what the meaning of ‘is’ is…

The average native of North America was allegedly active and vigorous well into his/her seventies or eighties; lotta kids died before eight or nine, but once you made it safely to adolescence, you could expect to be in it for a long haul.

Is that what you want? Eighty or so healthy years of doing nothing but using your mind and body to their full potential and hanging out with friends and family just shootin’ the breeze and enjoying yourselves?  Producing nothing of real Market Value?

Parasitic. Unprofitable. Obscene.

Fortunately, Power had to slaughter these lowly beings to near-extinction for the Fall ratings sweeps…so you don’t have to worry about such ne’er-do-wells interfering with your busy schedules, your “hectic modern life-styles” as the TV commercial sez.  You have serious work to do. Like finding a word to replace “leveraging” in your advertising copy because it’s passé, finished, used-up.  “Engaging” or “embracing” might be more relevant to your present condition.  But that’s your problem to ponder in your cubicle.   Or discuss with your fellow jobbers while you’re walking to — well, anywhere, thanks to the glorious cell-phone.

Why do you think Power invented those things?  Remember the old days, when the phone just squatted in a room somewhere so you could avoid its importunate ringing if you erroneously believed you needed some “free time?”  Now your insistent callers, who also live “hectic modern lifestyles,” can  follow you around, bleeping or buzzing or singing (if your communications-package included singing; singing ain’t free, Jackson!) until you answer. Often, the caller on the other end is none other than service-provider reminding you, via recorded message, that “Time is money.”  The month is up; time to pay for Time.

C’mon. Let’s talk sense, or for the unemployed dead-beats among you, cents — ha,ha! ho, ho!

You all know that most of the energies of this “civilization” or whatever Power calls it, are geared toward preventing The Lie from being caught in flagrant delicto, exposed butt-naked; it must remain chaste, demur, unimpeachable.

That Jeremy Bentham was the visionary. Only an absolute panopticon of cameras, windows, enclosures, 24/7 surveillance and forever could ensure the modesty of The Lie. Soon as that slip drops and skin’s exposed, they got people on it, running like firemen on Dexedrine to dress the Lie in coats of many colors.

So, yeah, the job, the financial system by which a small minority who have stuff – a lot of stuff; I mean, seriously, a whole lotta stuff –  exploit the jobbers or dead-beat unemployed, convincing them all to want stuff, lots of stuff, though they’ll never get it, or if they do get some of it, even a lot of it, Power has millions of jobbers on the job creating more stuff with double the allure; the “edu-tainment” that propagandizes you to love The Lie, and naturally, buy stuff with money from your (hee, hee!) jobs; the clutter, rot and ugliness of cities composed of synthetic…stuffs and machines that long ago replaced that welfare-Mother Nature; illusions that you’re “free” and “happy” and the costly drugs that convince you these illusions are real in case you happen to get wise…all of it is nothing more, or less, than the Lie exposed in its blubbery, flubby-dub birthday suit.

What all of this means is…well, nothing really. Who told you to expect your 70-80 years of consciousness might mean anything other than nothing?  I never promised you a rose garden — cause they’re expensive!

“What’re ya gonna do?” as you hard-boiled (i.e., defeated) city-slickers say.  Relax. Enjoy the ride. The whole thing lasts only — at most — 50 or 60 years past your release from career-intensive, work-force preparation, or “school,” as you say in the vernacular.

Then:  nothing. No jobs, no ugliness, no lies.  Forever and ever. Nothing to do, nothing to think for an eternity.  Ah, sweet, blessed oblivion!

So buck-up, chin-up, cowboy-up and cheer up. There’s only one life to live — lucky for you.

Oh, by the way: have a good day at “work!”

Adam Engel lived for your sins -- and he lived well! -- in Fear-and-Trembling, Brooklyn, one of the last gangrenous toes of NYC not yet severed and replaced with a prosthetic gentrification device. Engel has traveled the farthest regions of cyberspace, where Dark-matter meets Doesn't-matter; and Anti-matter, despite its negative connotation and dour point-of-view, excercises rights of expression protected by Richard Stallman's GNU/Free Software Foundation and CopyLeft agreement, if nobody and nothing else. Having spent many years studying Boobus Americanus (Summum Ignoramus), allegedly the most intelligent mammal on earth -- after its distant relative, Homo Sapiens -- in various natural habitats (couch, cubicle, bar-stool, ball-game -- televised or 'real-time') -- Engel has thus far related his observations of and experiences with this most dangerous of predators in three books -- Topiary, Cella Fantastik, and I Hope My Corpse Gives You the Plague (the combined international sales of which have reached literally dozens, perhaps as many as seventy, with projected revenue to top three digits by decade's end! Truly a publishing phenomenon). Engel is Associate Editor of Time Capsule Books, a division of Oliver Arts & Open Press, published in limited editions for a tiny, highly specified, though eclectic, target-audience: people who actually read books. He can be reached at Read other articles by Adam, or visit Adam's website.