It rained last night. A soothing rain A cleansing rain, yet, when I walked down the street I saw cigarette butts, broken bottles and the detritus of humanity. My sojourn brought to my memories of a time when the streets were always clean. Streets that rose up to meet my feet or the wheels of my bicycle. Now, however, the streets are just filled with the filth of humanity. Filled with the unwanted and discarded waste of daily life.
As I make my way down the street filled with the discarded and unthoughtful wasted merchandise of American life, I can’t help but think of a time not too many decades ago when daily street sweepers removed the unthoughtful waste of humanity. A time when eager men were rewarded with jobs that helped them pay the bills, put their kids in good schools and a decent meal on their table when they got home from a hard day at work.
A time when men and women would keep the shades and curtains open on their windows. When people took a certified interest in who their neighbors were and how the children of the neighborhood were raised.
Any infraction of common welfare was recorded and dispersed to either the parents or the friends of the parents so that the offenders would be punished accordingly. I had my more than fair share of punishment for actions that were committed without parental supervision. That is to say, I was a juvenile delinquent and suffered the consequences of my actions. Looking back now, hindsight being twenty-twenty, I got off easy.
Still, my wasted youth does not forgive what I’ve observed over the past few years.
I remember when I first moved to my current city, a city that has a proud and historical heritage yet still has secrets to hide. The city was dirty. Filled with drug dealers, hookers, panhandlers and grifters. In an attempt to preserve the integrity of my adopted home I took a position within the judiciary system. It was a failed attempt.
Sure, we cleaned the streets up, yes we moved the grifters out of the city limits but we did not manage to tear down the network that allowed the offensive scoundrels of humanity to operate. The plague, the disease, the broken bits of internal politics were still in place. Men and women who made countless dollars off of the lawbreakers and hoodlums of our society were still in place.
Our efforts only made them, the movers and shakers, change the tact of business. They started to use the laws of the land and recite “for the betterment of the people” of our fair city as the end cause for the justification of their rules. When the observations of the people questioned the actions of the elected, the elected changed their tact. They blamed the ones who held office before them for the inequality and did their best to cover their own actions.
Today, many years later, I still watch with interest. I have never given anyone who has held office my voice, my vote or my favor.
This city, a city in which I’ve come to adopt has become a second home, a primary home for me. A place where I can hang my hat, purchase a house, develop a career and build a life. Yet, I can’t help but think there is something broken.
Over all the years I’ve been here, I look upon the current events, the past events and what will be the future events and think, “It will get better.” Especially when I know it won’t.
How can things get better? When graft, nepotism and the total lack of ingenuity is rewarded with higher positions, higher salaries and with no expectations of a discernable and viable production of work or effort?
How can one, one who is a cog in a larger machine, define himself, define herself or even wholly believe that what they are doing, what they are manufacturing, what they are contributing, make an ounce of difference in a world whose sole purpose is to gain favor? Favor that they can trade for another favor or a person in a position who can grant them favor?
It is almost incomprehensible.
I, and many like me, who fix, repair, and troubleshoot the problems of daily life are tasked with a workload that should spread over a dozen able bodied men and women. Yet here we are, overworked, over taxed and under rewarded for our endeavors, making the plasma of youth renew its energy while we can barely stand, walk and convey ourselves from one point to the next.
We continue simply because we breathe. We fix things because that is what fills us with a sense of satisfaction. We show up early, we leave late and we do what we do because it satisfies within us a need of controlling our environment. We like to be able to look at a problem and know its solution before anyone else can even comprehend the issue that caused the problem in the first place.
Our reward comes from the support, be it financial or metaphysical, of the people who hold the purse strings. We get the parts we need to fix the problems that we’ve been tasked with fixing. We continue our journey through the naysayers, the sycophants and the fence sitters. We have no choice.
We are the producers who bring the small things to your life that you have no idea are part of your life. We bring you small things, the inconsequential things, the items that you take for granted. When we are gone, and I pray to God that we leave soon, you will realize what sort of comfort, what sort of appeasement and what sort of comfort we give you.
If we leave, you will have no other choice but to try and fill our shoes. Shoes, you have taken for granted, shoes you’ve looked down upon and shoes that make your daily lives easier.
We are John Galt, we are Tyler Durden, We are the cogs in the machine you take for granted. Beware of us. We hold more power than you realize.
Have a great week.