Saturday, March 25, 2023

It's Not the Salary, It's the Perks


I had a lot of fun working in the factory.  My conservative buddy made a LOT of money selling blood machines and later other things that I don't understand or keep up with.  He was the one, though, who told me, "Don't ask about the salary, ask about the perks."  I never made much money working at the factory, of course.  I've been a charity case most of my life.  But I think the factory was more fun than selling blood machines.  

I don't know how I stumbled across this clip, but I sent it around to friends just to piss them off.  This is every guy's idea of what it is like to teach in a college.  It might have been at one time.  You wouldn't want to work there now.  My friends from the factory all hate it and are surveying their exit options.  One of my good friends just outright quit.  She couldn't do it anymore.  Another is meeting with financial advisors to find a way out.  Others are keeping their noses clean or up the asses of fascist administrators in an effort to get out of the classroom.  They tell me everything changed when I left.  It isn't fun anymore.  I like to think that it is the vacuum I left when I retired, but it is a lot more than that.  I did have a give a shit nonchalance, though, that made things fun.  Two days ago I got a "newsletter" from a union leader berating their members for not living up to the legacy I and my college roommate/co-worker left.  It was nice in some ways, but probably half the new kids are asking. . . "Who?"  

Now where do I ply my talents?  Oh, sure, I've changed the lives of some gymroids for better or worse, and it's fun to have some sort of meaningless input, but long ago and far away, I was not simply looking up the skirts of flirty women but helping people make better futures.  

I helped this girl get a $100,000 scholarship from the U.S. Government.  I wrote the recommendation letter and had to be interviewed by the Secret Service before she received it.  Her story is a crazy one which I would be remiss to tell here, but she wrote me in the last year to tell me she has just published her first novel.  

Now I am called a Shaman and have people eating mushrooms and wanting me to get them poppy juice.  How the wicked have fallen. 

Of course, I have the blog where my insouciance is felt far and wee (a little cummings reference for you kids to make sure you are reading for class).  Wait. . . what?!?

Again, I just fell upon these clips and they kind of hit home.  Good times, bad times. . . you know?  

Duchovny does have English degrees from Princeton and Yale and worked on but never completed his doctoral dissertation.  Contemporary lit.  Beckett was his interest.  You know, though, you are not allowed to watch Hank Moody now.  Those were the bad old days before, you know. . . . 

I'm still attracted to the flawed character.  Here's a story I used to tell my students the first day of class. 

There was a little boy on summer break from school.  June was fun.  There was that giant sense of release and freedom from the toil of the school year.  July was getting hot and the days were longer and sometimes things got boring.  August was worse, and much of the time the boy would hang around the house.  One day his mother said, "Honey, here's $20.  Go to the store and get me some eggs and milk, won't you."  And so the boy took the money and headed out into the blistering sun.  On his way, he saw his friend Bobby stealing pears from a neighbor's pear tree.  "What are you doing," growled Bobby.  "I've got $20, and I'm going to the store to get my mother some eggs and milk."  "Hold on," yelled Bobby, dropping from the tree. "I'll go with you."

So off the two went at a faster pace.  When they reached the store, the boy got the eggs and milk and took them to the counter.  "That'll be a dollar fifty," the cashier said.  He handed her the twenty dollar bill, and she passed him back the change.  Then, as fast as he could go, he ran home and gave his mother the groceries and the change.

The End.  

Of course the kids looked at me like I was an idiot, and I could see they were ready to fill out their drop slips.  

"What's wrong with this story?" I asked them.  "The boy was a good boy.  He did exactly what he was asked to do.  What did you want him to do, spend the money with that bad boy Bobby?  Of course you did.  That's what makes a story.  We're going to read a lot of stories where people do the wrong thing, make the wrong choice.  Sometimes it is painful.  If you ever ask me why we have to read such painful things, I will refer you back to the story of the little boy and the twenty dollar bill."

I'm a fan of the colorful life. . . except for the women I love, of course.  And therein lie the problems of the bad old days, I guess.  Men searching for women to save them.  The Hank Moody Story.  

It wasn't just that, of course.  Gay and lesbian literature are full of the same desires.  Read your Jean Rhys or your Christopher Isherwood.  We all want saving.  

Or at least an audience who loves us and will pick us up when we fall.  Good God, there is nothing like an audience.  You know the old saying. . . give an asshole a microphone.  

The kids at the factory don't like the audience any more.  They are not having fun.  It is a shame.  I guess Moody was prophetic.  People don't read.  They don't write.  They like to make TikTok posts and ten word reactions.  I like emojis, of course 🤟.  And I am sure I will like ChatGPT or one of its evolutionary equivalents.  I don't resist such things.  They are merely tools.  But I'm not really a fan of giving a monkey a typewriter to see if something will make sense.  It might make an interesting Instagram video, but we've all seen enough of those for a lifetime.  

Haven't we?

In conclusion. . . .  That's the freshman way of ending an essay.  Not allowed.  But, WTF was this all about?  Oh. . . you know. . . I once was happy but now am a fallen fellow living in a shallow land looking for something to save me.  It's a bad old story from the bad old days.  

But I'll tell you a true fact.  They are having a very difficult time trying to get people now to work in the factory.  

The salary was never good, but helping that student and others like her get a foot up in life. . . those were some pretty good perks.  I guess I pretty much miss that.  

No comments:

Post a Comment