Everyone needs to work. Get born. Have school. Enter the marketplace of ideas. Nothing else matters. Abandon interests, values, beliefs. Acquire a shovel and carve deep into the earth. Ignore the screams of your superiors and body. Eight hours must be spent in toil daily. It is the price we pay for dignity. Purge the joys of community from your mind. Feel entitled to cigarette breaks. Use these as something to anticipate aside from satisfactory bowel movements and a 21st McNugget in your box of 20. Tell people how hard you work in a tone peppered with condescension and mistrust. Admit to missed lunch breaks, unpaid overtime, and do so relentlessly. Remind others of your contributions to society and use this as your opportunity to treat them poorly.
Have a wife and children. Meet a woman at a function. If she does not respond, move to the next. Watch popular television shows in order to have a common point of reference. Your window of time to operate in is narrow at best. By week two, assure she is marriage material. The clock is ticking and your time is money. Ask her subtle questions like, "What would your ideal wedding dress look like?" or "Will you marry me at a ceremony I have already planned for June?" If she will not relent, trade months of wages for a rock and hand it to her next to a fountain or sunset-adjacent fountain. Doing so will show her you possess the values of a working man. Now, put in hundreds of extra hours over the next several months to afford a showy wedding that will be remembered by all. Ice sculptures and living statues will assure your friends and family that your budget is such that you can afford to spend so much, especially if you cannot. Control your weeping at the reception as a stranger finishes his third glass of 300-dollar champagne. If anyone asks, you are crying over the beauty of your wife. Do this even if she is not beautiful. Low lighting will sell this lie.
Purchase a house far bigger than necessary. This will keep you working. Breed. Name your boy Steven. Name your daughter Jessica. Tell yourself you are suffering to give them a better life than you, but instill the same values so they take your identical actions 30 years later. The cycle can never cease. After birth, send them away to be taken care of by strangers in a group setting. Mother may be tempted to look after them herself, but being left in a cold institution unconcerned with their needs will give your children a chance to quickly acclimate themselves to adult life. Do not worry -- you will see them briefly at dinner, at which point you can remind them of your grocery purchases and force them to perform menial tasks to pay you tribute. In the chance that mother has left, let only the sound of scraping silverware be heard, with the silent implication that the situation would be different sans children.
At times you will be forced to stop working for upwards of two weeks at a time. Do not panic. Drive. If appropriate, include the woman and children as cargo. Find a city with the same restaurants as your own; do not stray into the unfamiliar. Drive. Use this time to air your greviances. Remind all that you are the provider with alarming regularity. Yank on a crying child's arm in public. Think of the sweet release the ditch shovel or office chair will soon bring you. Repeat this pattern for forty years. If serious issues arise, feign slumber or back pain. Render yourself unintelligible with alcohol.
Enter your death bed. Roll and regret. Roll and regret. Watch your children bitterly shun each other over piles of garbage accumulating in your unkempt house. Distance yourself from the concept of death with daytime television. Find yourself in an empty room, with the only human contact being the occassional changing of tubes. Slip away, with the firm knowledge that dignity has been achieved. Get shoved into an oven and placed in a closet to be forgotten under musty sheets.
Happy 68th Birthday Dad!
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TOTAL WRECK - crazy-eyed hound is covered in cobwebs, has a vespiary on back, graffiti on side and savage thirst for boat fuel. Frankly, I'm in over my head. He's in room 115 at Motel 6, yours free. 555-2851
Yes, it's the perfect form for surviving a car crash. But it's also the perfect form for so much more, like surviving the trauma of reading any news headline in 2016.
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