Walking every midnight to dawn drifting through the cool breeze these shoes keep moving forward even though the depth of the darkness drags my soul down into the nearby gutter. At twenty-three with a rattling in my chest covered in a tattered dirty shirt that my minimum-wage part-time job cannot replace I’m the product of this upside down society. Scrounging up enough money to eat is my pitiless fixation. This obsession is never interrupted by dreaming about luxuries like clean neat clothing. When we congregate, my rag wearing class just sits for short stints staring out at nothing. In the all-night fast food restaurants we are the ghosts, the unseen. For our own sanity, the shred that we have left, we never contrast our plight. We just rest our throbbing legs. Never do we see each other as we really look – rags and all – it just does not matter anymore when your destiny is sealed, the shock has long since passed. The late night fat slingers can sympathize with our plight because they typically share the same dark streets. There just is not a decent wage to be had anywhere in a world racing towards cheap labor oblivion.
Isolated is the only word that adequately describes the plight of the working poor. No one really gives a damn. Most are absolutely certain that they would never find themselves on these mean streets fused to a hopeless existence. What hurts are all the young faces like mine that I meet on this endless expanse of broken pavement. Wrinkled alcoholics and the assorted insane left to act out their deviant behavior out in the open are now the exception. An entire generation is being swallowed alive out here – we are the new tenants of this mean existence.
Let me clarify. This is not just an isolated blight of a fresh generation. Ours may be the lowest level of hell endured daily but the subterranean economy has many bloodshot staring eyes. Dirty hands competing with the layers of caked grime found on scarecrow bodies that could be doing so much more, hang listlessly. Minds that have firing neurons exploring new paths of creativity must suffice to contemplate where the next meal will be found. Some of us even have a four-year university education not utilized by employers who would rather whine about all the jobs that go unfilled than give us a chance.
That’s it, I just figured it out. We now live in world that wants a sure thing. Not just that occasional guarantee but the holy grail of assurances. On a stagnant blue planet hurtling year after year around an ordinary star the constant relentless motion has dulled our senses. Never knowing if we are headed up or down but certain that our passage along this celestial trail will not be altered maybe the dauntless confidence of the Human Resources department is justified. They unswervingly waste months searching for the perfect candidates, all the while leaving many positions unfilled.
There really is no need to worry the grind is unrelenting it is iterative like many of our beehive like processes.
Just the other day I met John Whitmore who has been on the street for going on three years. Holding his cardboard sign that said; “I’m homeless. Please let me work. Maybe this is not a feasible request?” Johnny had taken his daily trek over to the poultry processor, assorted businesses that could use an Accountant but would rather wait for that white-knight with ten years of experience. Graduating from the state-university with a B.S. in Accounting this Whitmore, the first in his family to finish college is worse off than his slaving siblings each of them holding down three part-time jobs. He was either overeducated, did not have enough experience, smelled like shit, or had breath that reeked of the scraps he picked from the garbage.
Reality stinks. There is nothing pretty about the hardcore tragedy that is unfolding beneath the glitter of the billionaires roost. While the rich are accumulating obscene profits from investments in a stock market riding high on giddy self-confidence our young people have been sliding further than their working stiff compatriots into obscurity and personal oblivion. It is truly a two-tier economy that relegates the majority of this world’s citizens to a life of meaningless toil. In the fragrant plush carpeted halls of the princely crowd we are just a passing thought. Why should they endeavor to unfurl the façade that they live behind? It is far easier to believe that times are great. This is the mother lode of labor-slave gushers.
Tomorrow Johnny will get up and make his rounds calling on the stone-cold automatons inhabiting the HR offices. Meanwhile, I’ll shuffle down the street….
CEO Howard Long called Jenny in HR. “Jenny how many more rejects will we have to log before we can justify the hiring of those foreign visa candidates?”
Jenny blurbs out some HR gibberish that is only comprehensible to the anointed crowd.
Howard replies, “Jenny, tie these bums down tight to the corporate ship so that we own them lock-stock-and-barrel for the duration of their ‘stay’ in our corporate dungeon. We need them cheap and very, very compliant.”