THE COMMON SCHMUCK
I didn’t know it, but my eyes were blinking rapidly as I entered a state of REM, that state of sleep where you dream your dreams. Mine, wouldn’t you know it, mimicked my real life, a life I had screwed up royally time after time. Finally my eyes opened a slit and moved toward the red LED of the bedside clock shining brightly, too brightly. It must still be the middle of the night. Yet when my senses cleared, I was aware it was morning; the unbroken grayness at the window told me it was going to be another crummy day of clouds, and God forbid, more rain. Maybe I’ll just close my eyes for a couple minutes more. Perhaps when I awaken again, it’ll start out better. I’ll feel more rested, the sun will be shining through my window, I’ll be anxious to jump out of bed and prepare myself for another day of commerce in a job that I would enjoy even if they didn’t pay me a cent. I would be working in a career, not a job, a career that I had chosen and trained for through college and postgraduate school. A job I was good at. No, not good at, but excelled at. A job where I was recognized for what I knew and contributed. Oh yeah. Dream on chump. Dive back into those REM’s, because that’s the only place that will ever happen.
I dragged myself out of my uncomfortable bed, (purchased used at a second-hand store) glanced at the wrinkled mess and thought for a moment about making it. But then using the uncluttered brain I was given at birth, a brain that has stayed pretty much empty and unencumbered by serious gray matter thus far in my life, rejected the idea as busywork without reason, muttering to myself, “Nobody is going to see it,” the classic answer of the single or divorced man.
Yeah, I had botched that also. I once had a wife, a very nice wife as it were, a wife I wore out mentally after what she described as five long years of baby-sitting a grown-up walking migraine. My constant complaining, my constant harping on life’s inequities and my position at the short end of the stick finally drove her muttering, and shaking her head, back to her kith and kin, seeking relief and rehabilitation with ‘normal people’, she yelled as she exited my life.
As I sat at my Formica kitchen table set, one of the three pieces of furniture left to me, I poured milk into my cereal bowl. “Is that milk sour?” I muttered to the empty room. A habit I seemed to have developed recently, talking to my surroundings. I didn’t have time anyway to finish eating my corn flakes, the last box of my Post ten selections. I quickly snatched at my bowl, too quickly, and the milk sloshed out baptizing half of my tie collection. “RATS,” I exclaimed saving the bluer language for those jerks on the beltway. After quickly exchanging my foul smelling, sour milk anointed tie for the only tie I had left, a red Christmas novelty tie featuring the Grinch in various Christmassy poses, I headed for the old junker and the beltway.
Arriving at work. WORK-that place that occupies most of a persons day, at least eight hours on the job; an hour getting ready to go to and traveling there; another hour going in reverse back to home; and if you are lucky eight hours of sleep. Let’s see, that’s eighteen hours, which leaves six hours to do whatever you really want to do. So it is fairly obvious since we spend so much time working and in work related activities we really should love, or at least, like what we do.
Most of us I'm sure do not end up in jobs of choice, but in jobs we fall into by circumstance of good, or bad luck, however it works out. The truly happy worker is the person who knows, has always known, what he/she wanted to do with their lives, and prepares for that profession in college and maybe postgraduate work. Or there is another group who I think enjoys what they do, and that is the entrepreneur, that person whose success is solely a result of his talents and drive. Either group of people is happy in their work because subsequently they are in charge of their own destinies.
But now, back to Mr. Schmuck.
I no more than got in the door when an office memo was shoved in my face. A sales meeting would be taking place at nine o’clock; your attendance will be required. “Oh my God, not another one of the most boring time-fillers created by the midget brains in the home office”, I exclaimed to anyone within hearing distance. Why those guys in the home office make that big money yet bore us with this stuff is beyond me, I thought. Don’t they have any idea what we need to succeed in the field? Well we’re the backbone of this company and we’ll survive and prosper despite those bozos.
Well now that they’ve wasted most of my best selling time with their blabberings, I might as well head for home, I deserve the rest anyway after what they’ve just put me through. Anyway if I get on the beltway now it won’t be quite as busy and I can get home sooner to..do what? I don’t know but I deserve the extra time-off anyway.
Thus ends the workday for our common schmuck.
“I wonder if I should change my sheets? I think it’s been two weeks since I have, or is it three weeks?” I mutter to myself, and then decide to put it off a little longer, because actually who’s going to see them anyway?
© jim kittelberger 2006