Thoreau was Right
Am I happy? It doesn’t matter, it’s not relevant, I accept my fate. Thoreau was right, the mass of men really do lead lives of quiet desperation. thinking on this has made me angry. and in the reading, those who wish to vilify me for the thought would suggest that my anger is proof therefore of my failure to engage, to fit in. of course they would say that, from their position of boredom.
and then there’s the company, the corporation for whom you provide labour so that you can eek out whatever existence it deems for you so that you can tell your children you are providing for them, and tell them when they are old enough to know, that you fought hard for your corporation to maximise their profits and provide a desk for you to show up each morning and slave for them, what vision, to plonk yourself and save your favourite cup for the next day and joke with your fellows about what a joy it is to do whatever it is you do. for what other purpose is there but to provide for your children? the question, I’m sure you see as a rhetorical one but it’s not, it starts out that way but then morphs into an easement of mediocre predictability, or more respectability because that’s what we are after isn’t it. yes, its respectability. so that we can say that at the end of our lives we were respected for towing the line, for not offending, for leading a life of quiet desperation.
we want to tell our friends that we are friends despite them, that their looking on in bemusement bothers me but i can understand. that if they really took the time to sit for a while and listen, not judge, don’t bother, too much to ask isn’t it. you have other problems, issues that i will never understand so best that i not say a word. The mass of men leading lives that slowly drip and ease their way into provincial pragmatism, and that is the key isn’t it, to be pragmatic, which is to be practical, which is to be sensible, which is to be reliable, which is to not rock the boat, which is to be gainfully employed and play Golf and drive a sensible car packed with luminous accessories to make us proud.
the renovation, so that we can expand our block if not expand our mind and turn up again for the work that has been prepared for us, continuing on, watching the weekend and peering in through into celebrity so that we may get a glimpse of the other side of desperation and perhaps prove Thoreau wrong but of course he’s not wrong. he was right all those years ago and he’s still right now and who is going to disprove it. not you with your mild expectations and vivid late night imaginings and call the travel agent so that we can show you alright but be back for the commencement of the new financial year, or the files that can’t wait or the machine that hungers for your love and check in with the office prior to boarding and check in with the office as you embark. be sure it’s not inconvenient, not disrupting the work flow, the companies profits because how you contribute to it, they rely so heavily upon your application, those profits and in which you share so lavishly.
the dinner time conversation of how the value of what you have because you invested wisely and bought at the right time because others didn’t, making you smart, and how you are now worth much more but need to do some catching up on the weekend and won’t be around to see the kids whom this is all for. they understand, the children, they see it in your eyes, the desperation, the confusion, the boredom, the getting ready, the rush, the discounted purchase price and the tie and shirt and cheap shoes that can get away with anything all the while they are under the desk.
and how you want to tell all the no-goods who rely on you to piss off – yes it’s a phrase that races around the edges of your mouth, bouncing off your palate, waiting for its turn to unleash against the lazy while you remain ever vigilant but intellectually dispossessed and deprived of air because whilst you do not crave you know that is what you need because you dare not crave, it warrants attention this craving and you have not the means to satisfy it. you are boring but cannot bring yourself to entertain its rightful explanation as you wallow in reliability and respectability and fulfil Thoreau in all his literary subterfuge.
I accept my fate and of course you lodge your return in remembrance of me, tucked away in the bottom drawer of your reliable memory, rightly you come to the conclusion you do, and conclusions are all you can come to, it’s the respectable and the reliable who are appointed to be the arbiters with your applications and your speeches disguised as polemic ciphers of your own desperation, to want to not be where you are, to be not doing what you do, just so that the quiet of tedium can be usurped by something more glorious – failure.
continue on then, improve your golf game, buy up the items from page four through eight of the catalogue and snigger about those whose failures you despise and condescend to never be in a position to experience. you will never be ravaged, you will never fear desolation because you have ploughed your field, wise, careful and sensibly dressed, keeping everything at bay, except your own quiet desperation.
a dolly shot of wild humanity, you noticed it, I noticed also that you noticed and thereafter made sure you raked the dead leaves from the driveway because guests are coming for lunch and even if they do not come you have done your bit. my, haven’t you done your bit and left the dirty ground and the desperation behind, seeking not to destroy but build up unless those who would come to destroy what you have built, not by invasion, would scare you into something, or out of something, that you do not want to be moved from because this is what you have earned. yes, you’ve done your bit, you’ve had your say because everyone deserves their say, the people build and continue to build the buildings so that you can have your say, and on and on but no one listens but should that stop you because you’ve got a right, you’ve earned it when others haven’t paid the price, you have, because that is what you’ve got on the wall, along with the plates, the prints of far off places and eulogies to the stares of indifference that you’ve assuaged with your efforts.
sleep in peace under the rug of the new purchase and laundered, pressed for the morning which must be ready, your peaks and shaves and freshly minted memories of sallied wit and stories of those you’ve left behind. sleep enough to engage for the next day but not too much so as to dream of other things, to testify upon your desperation but cannot be proved because you belong, to dream of Thoreau trudging through the mud and cold and dwelling on your attitude, the slumgullion of ever so progressed middle class satisfaction.