[ this end up ]

Loose Stiffs

In Non-fiction, Writing on February 6, 2011 at 1 am

They gave us all similarly marketable skills and a lesser number of jobs requiring those skills and in the resulting donnybrook those with wild confidence and bravado won out.

In the selling of self, color me the shy eyed hooker, losing the John to a multiplicity of brave catcalls and kissy faces.

We losers, we slowest scurrying rats, are left to toil in sullied corners. Here we sulk with our virtuous, though non-fungible, humility.

The current of work may vary but it’s all the same stream, really. Everyone’s furiously fighting against the grain of vanishing time. Somewhere in these metaphoric waters, like salmon, we’ll all spawn and die. We too share the salmon’s changing of shape and color and rigorous male aggression during the run. Unlike the fish we will never return to the place of our birth, however much we’d like to.

Is tomorrow’s workday the catawampus hiding under you bed? Its tendrils ensnaring your first padded steps towards a wailing alarm?

It’s often mine.

I don’t resent those who’ve staked a claim. No, I’ve learned this: Opportunity doesn’t come knocking, you’ve got to knock and knock and knock until it answers, if it answers at all. I got scared at the first doorstep and said, hell, no one’s even home. I never even knocked. Not once.

Job skills: Extreme wimpiness and a tendency to avoid confrontation.

It’s not that I’m not dreaming big. I’ve thought-up many tales of grandeur and accomplishment. I’ve envisioned seers who see what I can sow and seat me in a plush position that I then execute excellently. I’ve lived the life of Reilly, singing like hotel-keeper Reilly all I’ll do when finally upon my great wealth. Reilly says it best: “New York would be swimming in wine, a hundred a day will be very small pay, when the White House and Capitol are mine

This is but a game, with players and fans and I’ve overpaid for beer and would rather read the program.

I’m okay with it. Being a fan.

I’m okay with working for little fanfare and smaller paychecks. Okay with perfunctory punching in and punching out. I’’ll continue to avoid fractiousness and friction. The rigid play the game, the flexible sit and watch. On the bleachers we wonder if our day will come. It won’t. There’s no loose way to be a working stiff.

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  1. Hi, Eric. I clicked through from Althouse. I subscribed to your blog. Here is why: “Opportunity doesn’t come knocking, you’ve got to knock and knock and knock until it answers, if it answers at all. I got scared at the first doorstep and said, hell, no one’s even home. I never even knocked. Not once.”

    I made the mistake of knocking on the door of the biggest dog in the universe when I was 27, got rejected, and never quite got it back together. Like you, I’m diffident, modest, and shy. While time flies by.

    If you’re still choosing a writing book to buy through Althouse, I’d go with the 2011 WM. Mainly because I’m thrilled to know there still *is* a market for writers.

    Good luck to you.

    Liz

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