24 April 2008

Conform or die

Since I have been remiss in adding material to this blog here is the third poast today to compensate for recent lack of activity.

My posts of late have focused on my failed life and its ramifications. I say all this not to whine but to warn young people that you have to get your act together early on, or you will end up a broken old man largely hated by everyone.

'Fitting into' society, for all my verbal scorn therein, is critical. You ain't gonna find a well-paying job if you scare people or otherwise put off hiring managers in any way.

You will also lose the respect of your family and peers. My families' attitudes towards me are daily reminders of how lack of discipline and moral character can destroy a life.

I have yet to meet any of my sisters-in-law, nieces, or nephews. My brothers are afraid of permitting me to physically approach their family members, or even be in the same room with them. I do not hold this against them. They are only doing what they feel they must do to protect their families.

They have made it clear that they want me completely and fully out of their lives, with no role for me therein.

It is their decision to make and I respect that. After all, I have given them good reason in their minds for their course of action.

As for my friends...well, if I had any, I suppose they would have abandoned me long ago. As it is I am such an unappealing and nonconformist person that peers of my social group never saw fit to treat me any other way except with extreme violence and malevolence.

What were my sins?

Nothing criminal, I assure you. Namely my faults have merely been those things related to not fitting in.

I was never a very talkative or social person as a youth. This is the root of my issues. If you are not social in American society, and you keep to yourself and are shy and quiet (particularly if you are male), this is worse than murder, rape, or pillage. You are the equivalent of the terrorists. You make people uneasy around you, for some mysterious reason, as if you were the next Cho Seung-Hui. That is the definition of terrorism, no? People naturally come to hate you, and wish for your early death - and yes, I have been told on more occasions than I can count that the world would be a MUCH better place if I were dead. Could they be right? Perhaps.

I have never harbored homicidal tendencies such as afflicted the aforementioned Cho, but no matter - act "autistic" (for lack of a better word), and you are instantly tagged as a potential mass murderer (or at least a disruptive, unproductive force in society suited for the welfare line), and universally shunned and brought to a very low level in society despite any talents or achievements you may have to your name, or your real desire to work and be productive and contribute something of value to this world.

As a youth I had few friends, preferring books and learning over active play. In the community where I grew up, this is a no-no for a male. In order to prove your manhood, you must act macho and have interests in sports and such things. Regrettably my proclivities were otherwise, and I was too stupid to change my behavior to suit despite numerous warnings that there would be negative ramifications in the future.

When I went off to college, my community essentially cut me off. Education was a thing for upper class people who had time and money to spare. I should have been hustling for work, helping to support my parents.

I did work the entire time while in college, and I dutifully turned over my meager paycheck to my father every week. But time in class takes away from time when I could have been working, and I never heard the end of it.

You say, "But attending college certainly improved your life. If you had conformed to what your parents wanted from you, you would be a whole lot worse off today."

Surely, you jest.

I really wasn't suited for college. Professors always asked me what I was doing there. Fellow students shunned me. I handled the coursework well enough. Again, though, not fitting in did me in. Too much time studying and working; too little time getting to know other people and building relationships, which is so crucial to getting ahead in life.

In fairness I don't believe those other people wanted much to do with me anyway. They were too 'cool' and 'hip' for an unsophisticated trailer trash dumbass like me, I guess.

I have mentioned before in this blog that a college degree is merely a credential - an important credential for dickhead employers, but symbolic nevertheless. You don't learn anything in school that you wouldn't learn better and more efficiently on the job.

And it doesn't assure you of employment. A college degree does not say "One Degree, Good for a Job" - not even a diploma in a technical field such as I received. (Believe me, I did not make the mistake of graduating with a liberal arts major which would have positively ensured a future as a burger flipper.) In my case I faced many years of minimum wage employment after graduation. This of course did little to impress my family, or convince them of the relative value of a college diploma.

Not fitting in again. What hiring manager looking to fill skilled positions would take a risk on a shy loner from the trailer park, when there are dozens of Type A personality assholes with the same resume, looking for the same type of work?

What I should have done was take a few courses at the local vo-tech college after high school graduation, learned a skilled trade, and entered a portion of the workforce where positions are going begging due to lack of trained workers. (Shit, even the governor wants to do something about this very problem.)

I would probably be making double what I earn today, and I might even have the respect of my family and co-workers.

What I have now is a family that wants nothing to do with me, a reasonably well paying job of which I have no doubt could easily disappear tomorrow at the whim of my boss, co-workers and managers who think I am under-qualified and incompetent even for the easy and mindless GOVERNMENT WORK which I currently perform, and a community which has disowned me since I have 'rejected' its values, despite the fact that I am likely doing economically better than all the men remaining there put together.

I don't fit in there since I chose the professional white collar world; I don't fit in there either since I can just never escape the taint and disgrace of growing up amongst trailer trash. Not that I advertise it, but it always seems to find its way through somehow, and not because I have a habit of chimping out. I don't fit in anywhere else since I prefer to keep to myself and live a quiet life devoid of high drama and frequent trips to drinking establishments.

The only place I have found even a marginal degree of acceptance is the Black ghetto. In the 'hood people are too busy with their personal troubles, or trapped in their own addled mindlessness, to care much about anyone else, particularly some interloper screwball White man - so they just go ahead and leave you alone. So here I am.

If there is one good thing that can be said about the ghetto, then that is it.

I guess I should have conformed to what society wanted of me. Of course I believe in individuality and being yourself. Always have. But what has it gotten me, other than poverty, alienation, loneliness, and certain early death? Being true to yourself may work for the privileged - but if you belong to the grim working middle, you had better listen to your betters or else. Because, quite frankly, the people in power and their hangers-on couldn't give a flivering fuck if you live or die. In fact, your death only benefits them, for that means one less potential social burden. So they would rather see you dead anyhow. Such is the dark economic calculus of our bureaucratized age.