Lab rats don’t get much leisure time (tf)

I think we Americans love to get distracted. By anything. Dead celebrities. Unlikely sports heroes. Viral YouTube videos of some crazy lunatic emptying an automatic weapon clip into his daughter’s laptop. It doesn’t take much really. Once we get home at night and lock all the doors, it’s time to shut the real world out. The real world can really suck, especially when it doesn’t pay well and you have to spend the majority of your day with imbeciles who make more than you do.

This is one of the reasons that telemarketing phone calls at night can send us into a homicidal frenzy. It’s a rude, crude, sneaky way for the real world to slither into our bunkers after-hours. Like the Blob making its way into that diner. I’m as liberal as they come, but I’d still support the death penalty (or the rack) for anyone who calls me without my consent and tries to sell me something. Just how many times do I have to enter my phone # into that bogus government “do not call” list anyway? I swear the more I try to get them to stop calling me, the more they call me. I’ve told them I’m dead. I’ve told them I’m an illegal immigrant. I’ve told them I was a 7th Day Adventist and attempted to convert them. I’ve told them they were calling a working meth lab in danger of exploding. Nothing works. These people are like flies.

Time away from work should not be interrupted by anybody. Of course nothing interrupts our time away from work more than our jobs themselves, which thanks to wretched technology are never more than a few clicks away. There’s really no 9-5 with weekends off and 2 weeks vacation anymore. “Vacations” increasingly mean doing your job from an overpriced hotel room at night, or responding to insipid company emails while desperately trying to find your 10-year-old in the surf. We do these things because in the back of our minds we know that if we just shut down for 2 weeks, eventually somebody else will figure out what needs to be done and start doing it, thus reminding the company just how unimportant we really are. In other words, we’re extremely replaceable, and there really is a long line of people standing outside ready willing and able to take our job.

The worst situation to be in as an employee is to feel lucky to have your job.

If you feel that way….you’re like a lab rat.

Lab rats don’t get much leisure time.

But still, we do the best we can. Which is why we like to lose ourselves in somebody else’s triumph or tragedy. It takes our mind off of the serious stuff that’s gonna wear us down and kill us before our mortgages are paid off.

So follow that Whitney Houston funeral procession and speculate as to what drug/booze cocktail she concocted as they lower her into the ground. Root on Jeremy Lin as he finally gives NYC residents a reason not to boo the Knicks. Feel bad for Phil Mickelson that he didn’t win a golf tournament he commuted to for 4 days via his private plane. At least we don’t have it that bad eh? It all seems to matter so much……but only for the time we’re watching. When we turn away to actually live our lives, we forget, which is the same as saying we really don’t give a fiddler’s fart.

Which is as it should be.

Distractions are just that. But we need them. They both keep us grounded, and keep us thinking that maybe….just maybe…we too can be famous enough to drown in the bathtub and in the process wipe a Syrian civil war with potential vast domestic complications off the nation’s front pages…..or hit a 3 pointer at the buzzer with well over 1 billion countrymen cheering us on. Or even just get 15 minutes of YouTube fame.

When mundane distractions aren’t enough, that’s when the trouble starts. That’s when the drink and the pharmaceuticals and the dirty needles start. We want to be distracted all the time. At the expense of doing what needs to be done to earn those few hours on the couch that get interrupted by telemarketers.

Everything worthwhile must be earned. If it’s free, there’s a catch.

–Tom Flannery

~ by admin on February 20, 2012.

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