I might as well work every day because my life has no purpose.

Let me go through what happened today: I woke up around 6:20, ate breakfast, morning routine, biked to work. Moved some crazy sort of asexual-but-probably-lesbian nerdy messy lady. It was a long day. I got home at about 7:15. Boiled water for pasta while cutting my hair, ate. Sat in front of my computer thinking about the day a little bit, pondering tomorrow. I spoke to my housemate briefly about the weather, and the Red Sox. Caught some of the game but mostly just bored. I enjoy work but I can't say that moving some lady's shit is the love-of-my-life, my passion.

We give our customers feedback forms. Sometimes I want to give them my own feedback, like, "you know lady, you wouldn't be living alone if you were more flexible and less demanding." Or, "you shouldn't be eating donuts with an ass that big."

I showered and now I'm ready for bed. Less than two hours after arriving home from work I'm ready to sleep. Then more work for 6-10 hours.

Every day it's the same thing. The only differences between the days is that on weekend mornings there is very little traffic. I can cross Route 9 without even looking on Sundays. Also on Saturdays you see a lot of people parked near rivers, bikers, picnicers, and other folks engaged in leisure. I get paid on Fridays, but my paycheck hardly affects my spending--it goes straight in the bank. Even if my account had a one-with-six-zeros of savings, I'd still bank my whole check. I buy groceries and vitamins often. I rarely buy anything else except clothes every once in a while.

That's pretty much the sum of my life. I had ten days off between March and April. When you get older, life slows down. You do the same shit in repetition. I eat ravioli six days a week. I have a system for cooking and and eating them, then cleaning up after. I use the same bowl. Not because I have anxiety about other bowls, but because it's the best for the job. I don't have friends. I have virtually no family except my father who I see about once every two weeks. I have no religion. I don't believe any of this has any meaning. I'm just trying to get through life. I intend to destroy myself when I turn fifty, not because I believe in destruction or that it has any meaning at all. Nor do I revel in the anti-meaning of an arbitrary date. I used to relish that irony however. Now the only reason I will die on the eighth of May, 2028 is because I've resolved to do so. When you resolve to go to work in the morning you really don't need any reasons. You just go without thinking about it because you've resolved to. Of course you could come up with some fairly easily--need to go work so I can get paid, keep my job, etc. You could think of a million reasons not to go. On your first day of work, you need to tell yourself, "I gotta get to work early and on-time because this is a new job and I need money, want to make a good impression." But after a few years, you don't need to pep-talk yourself every morning. Well I've pondered the destruction of my 50 year old body literally for three years now--and one could argue, I've pondered it since I was 14 (when I first became enamored with the poem) just on a subconscious level. That I love the words so intensely proves that I understand their meaning viscerally. I don't relish the comedy of a chosen, acceptedly meaningless date. I've learned to envision my life as ending at 50 by rote.

I went to elementary school with this kid. I think his article is fantastic, it encompasses my sentiments exactly. I don't know how he figures he's from Puerto Rico when he grew up in Amherst.

reprinted from here
Pat Tillman is not a hero: He got what was coming to him

By Rene Gonzalez
April 28, 2004

When the death of Pat Tillman occurred, I turned to my friend who was watching the news with me and said, "How much you want to bet they start talking about him as a 'hero' in about two hours?" Of course, my friend did not want to make that bet. He'd lose. In this self-critical incapable nation, nothing but a knee-jerk "He's a hero" response is to be expected.

I've been mystified at the absolute nonsense of being in "awe" of Tillman's "sacrifice" that has been the American response. Mystified, but not surprised. True, it's not everyday that you forgo a $3.6 million contract for joining the military. And, not just the regular army, but the elite Army Rangers. You know he was a real Rambo, who wanted to be in the "real" thick of things. I could tell he was that type of macho guy, from his scowling, beefy face on the CNN pictures. Well, he got his wish. Even Rambo got shot in the third movie, but in real life, you die as a result of being shot. They should call Pat Tillman's army life "Rambo 4: Rambo Attempts to Strike Back at His Former Rambo 3 Taliban Friends, and Gets Killed."

But, does that make him a hero? I guess it's a matter of perspective. For people in the United States, who seem to be unable to admit the stupidity of both the Afghanistan and Iraqi wars, such a trade-off in life standards (if not expectancy) is nothing short of heroic. Obviously, the man must be made of "stronger stuff" to have had decided to "serve" his country rather than take from it. It's the old JFK exhortation to citizen service to the nation, and it seems to strike an emotional chord. So, it's understandable why Americans automatically knee-jerk into hero worship.

However, in my neighborhood in Puerto Rico, Tillman would have been called a "pendejo," an idiot. Tillman, in the absurd belief that he was defending or serving his all-powerful country from a seventh-rate, Third World nation devastated by the previous conflicts it had endured, decided to give up a comfortable life to place himself in a combat situation that cost him his life. This was not "Ramon or Tyrone," who joined the military out of financial necessity, or to have a chance at education. This was a "G.I. Joe" guy who got what was coming to him. That was not heroism, it was prophetic idiocy.

Tillman, probably acting out his nationalist-patriotic fantasies forged in years of exposure to Clint Eastwood and Rambo movies, decided to insert himself into a conflict he didn't need to insert himself into. It wasn't like he was defending the East coast from an invasion of a foreign power. THAT would have been heroic and laudable. What he did was make himself useful to a foreign invading army, and he paid for it. It's hard to say I have any sympathy for his death because I don't feel like his "service" was necessary. He wasn't defending me, nor was he defending the Afghani people. He was acting out his macho, patriotic crap and I guess someone with a bigger gun did him in.

Perhaps it's the old, dreamy American thought process that forces them to put sports greats and "larger than life" sacrificial lambs on the pedestal of heroism, no matter what they've done. After all, the American nation has no other role to play but to be the cheerleaders of the home team; a sad role to have to play during conflicts that suffer from severe legitimacy and credibility problems.

Matters are a little clearer for those living outside the American borders. Tillman got himself killed in a country other than his own without having been forced to go over to that country to kill its people. After all, whether we like them or not, the Taliban is more Afghani than we are. Their resistance is more legitimate than our invasion, regardless of the fact that our social values are probably more enlightened than theirs. For that, he shouldn't be hailed as a hero, he should be used as a poster boy for the dangerous consequences of too much "America is #1," frat boy, propaganda bull. It might just make a regular man irrationally drop $3.6 million to go fight in a conflict that was anything but "self-defense." The same could be said of the unusual belief of 50 percent of the American nation that thinks Saddam Hussein was behind Sept. 11. One must indeed stand in awe of the amazing success of the American propaganda machine. It works wonders.

Al-Qaeda won't be defeated in Afghanistan, even if we did kill all their operatives there. Only through careful and logical changing of the underlying conditions that allow for the ideology to foster will Al-Qaeda be defeated. Ask the Israelis if 50 years of blunt force have eradicated the Palestinian resistance. For that reason, Tillman's service, along with that of thousands of American soldiers, has been wrongly utilized. He did die in vain, because in the years to come, we will realize the irrationality of the War on Terror and the American reaction to Sept. 11. The sad part is that we won't realize it before we send more people like Pat Tillman over to their deaths.

Rene Gonzalez is a UMass graduate student.
Click on the link below to read a counterpoint column.


My writing output is inversely proportional to how much I work. I think you'll find this true for most blogs. One blog idee fixe goes something like this:

"My god, I'm sorry I haven't written anything in a while, but I've been so busy with work, school, my lowly children. John at work called me a dipshit today and it stressed me out so much that I just HAD to get it off my chest in the form of this blog. I know that you probably stopped checking this blog cuz there hasn't been much new material, but I still expect you to see this and be into it. After all the world revolves around me, right?"

Writing the above is my way of saying, "golly I haven't written anything in a while." When that's really not what I want to say. Most of my output for the calendar year '03 occurs during time I've had off to recover from surgery. Leisurely time spent drinking coffee, re-reading books in my personal canon and fucking myself.

The best writers won't be thwarted by grueling work schedules. The strongest people are balanced enough to carry on several complex interests wholly unrelated to work. A notch below are those who are completely focused and obsessed with their work. A notch below that are those who need "aids" to consistently do their work--alcoholics, potheads, pill poppers. A notch below are those who can't consistently work--those who "can't hold down a job." The weakest people are our friends who can't work at all--crazy, well medicated people with fibromyalgia and other phantom disorders.

For mental imagery, the top-to-bottom list looks like this:

Strongest : Balanced. Several competing interests.
Second : Obsessed. Work dominates life.
Third : Aided. People "just trying to get through the day." All drugs, even medications.
Fourth : Bad workers. Can't hold down a job or profession usually because drug use gets out of control.
Weakest : Crazy people. Normal people on disability. 400 pound blobs. People with various disorders which aren't immediately apparent. If they're not immediately apparent, they're probably nonexistent.

It's easy to move up and down on the ladder of life. You could quite easily go from someone who takes pride in their life outside of work to someone who watches their hobbies and interests slowly fade as their work takes up more and more of their time. Conversely someone who has seemingly mastered their job can add interests without much difficulty. The same goes for the rest of the spectrum.