Saturday, September 15, 2012

Slack's Back!

We the working peeps always have to adjust to conditions on the ground, as they happen. The “news" doesn’t always match up with real life. Here’s some old “news" from my neighborhood: many good jobs disappeared. Some folks ain’t working 'cause there ain’t work. Others found crap work and live check to check.

But, ya know, even in so-called good times, at good jobs, hardly anyone “gets ahead" in life without sacrificing all slack time and therefore their sanity. Make more, spend more. Work your butt off, or do as little as possible, and end up with nothing. No fault of governments or gods, just Life. So, why bother?

Why bother indeed? The simplest adjustment to broken dreams and mass unemployment is Slack. Voluntary Poverty. Drop Out. Give Up. Who Cares?

This attitude removes all stress at once. Relax and commit to Slack. It’s not always easy; unsteady oft unsafe part-time low-wage toil, no medicine, no more full purse or “eating out.” Working Slackers must learn the delicate work/slack balance and do just enough to keep the job. No worries, the bonus is the extra slacking at home now.

Home Slack means avoiding housework, cooking, laundry, and “yard work.” If you don’t like filth, ease into it slowly, naturally: first day, your clothes don’t smell awful yet, the house ain’t too messy, and your kitchen ‘strike’ is like a new diet. Stick with it! By the time the house is piled with refuse, reeking of armpit, sour pudding, and pets, on your ninth day of peanut butter sandwiches, you will hardly notice.

The payoff is well worth it. Hours of slack time, to dream, read, play, sing, hang out, love, think, pray, dance, and fondle yourself. None of these cost a penny. Slack parenting is better too; “quality time beats quantity time” has always been a guilt-reducing lie for too-busy parents.

Our Cavepeople ancestors worked about 25 hours a week, say anthropologists; that sounds about right. If you can’t afford to quit working, you prob’ly have too many bills and doodads. Dump your car, phone, and everything else you think you need which our ancestors didn’t for 90,000 years. Scam a free room from a relative or friend in return for housework or babysitting. Eat whatever comes along, or not at all; hunger ain’t as bad as folks make it out to be. When you get hurt or sick, you’ll either get well or not. Pain is only pain. Death is part of life. Your funeral costs ain’t your problem once dead, and you’ll never have to work again! Eternal Slack!

If you lose your job, be grateful. The ladder of success is leaning on a crumbling wall anyway. Lower your sights, forget about goals, just relax and be happy with whatever you got left even if it ain’t much. Volunteer somewhere if yr bored at home or hungry. (Service organizations and churches always serve snacks!)

If you haven’t lost your job, quit, or ask for a demotion. We can have everything we want, right now; all we have to do is quit wanting so much. Anyone happy with what they have has entered the only heaven we will ever know.

The Slack Life is a good life once you settle in. No more running around, beating yourself up in endless circles. No more crap worship, no fussing with worthless stuff. More time with the people you love, doing what you want to do, whenever you want, free!

So why wait? Commit to Slack now, and forever live in peace!

A proposal: Nationwide Slack Days. Starting now, every worker take one bogus sick day per month, to do nothing. No dues to pay, no club to join, just call in sick. No official date: if we all pick different days, the Owners may never catch on.


   “Bonnie’s heart sank when she considered the horror of the lives that most men led, trapped for nine ten hours a day in the slave gangs of traffic, the uniformed peonage—suit and tie and digital wristwatch—of the office galleys, the nerve-wracking drudgery of the on-going never-ceasing destruction and reconstruction, backhoes, front-end loaders, jackhammers, wrecking balls, freight trucks, nailguns, concrete culverts, asbestos insulation, I-beams, hardware, software, application forms, medical claim forms, auto insurance forms, income tax forms, garbage, mud, dust, sludge, whole monoclines of paper and anticlines of carbon (press hard) and synclines of silent despair. The world of “jobs.”
 “...And not only the men. Progress proceeds. Now the women too, driven by need or madness or by simple greed, were plunging into the same nightmare world, unsexed by unisex, becoming office-persons, waitpersons, chairpersons, cowpersons, truck driverpersons, coal minerpersons,  machine-gunnerpersons. With their children abandoned all day five days a week in pink and blue Day-Glo Tee-Vee Jailhouse Kiddie Kare storage centers. That is, if the women were lucky enough to be able to afford it. Those mothers, that is, who had their “jobs.” The cruelty of it sickened her.”

     --Edward Abbey, from Hayduke Lives!




The fight for the right to party is real, people! And critical:
If you can’t party, what good is freedom of speech n stuff?


Huila swallowed. It made her feel terribly sad. “Will I like being dead?” she asked.
Teresita opened her eyes.

“Did you enjoy being alive?”

Huila thought about it.

“Yes,” she said.

“Then,” Teresita said, “you will enjoy your death.”

   --from The Hummingbird’s Daughter by Luis Alberto Urrea, p.337


Redjones said...

Cheap...It would seem we moved from Nihilism to fatalism. You've got your "shit colored glasses"on again. The majority of humans have been working poor throughout history. I would recommend your readers find thier happy spot within themselves, as apposed to allowing exterior circumstances define who they are, or how content they will be. No one can take away our freedom to walk with compassion and Love, or our freedom to be content under unfortunate circumstances. I definetly would agree that doing less is helpful, although I don't think voluntarily living in filth and mooching off loved ones and friends would be helpful.

Jeffrey Jones said...

Dearest Red,
I wrote it bad or you read it bad or both, but I think we agree.

Paragraph six, all the awesome things we get to do once off the treadmill.

Paragraph eight, be grateful, relax, be happy.

Nine, be content with what you have.

Ten, the people you love are all that matters, freedom is essential.

The bogus sick day illustrates how much power we have anytime we choose, as a species.

(The Ed Abbey section is how I really feel about our “workaday world.")

That we should fight for our rights and have fun.

The book scene is a younger medicine woman, bidding farewell to her mentor. I thought it a nice little mini-poem about living a good life.

More Fun, Less Crap: my basic initial premise.

For the record, no one should do what I suggest, or take anything I say seriously, ever. Read the Buddhist scripture at the end of “Giggling in Disbelief”.
Picture me with a smart-ass leer as I cobble this crap together. I want to question some of our culture’s basic assumptions, turn them on their head, present other possibilities.

That being said, this is not the Sunshine and Lollipops blog. This is the “We’re Screwed But We Will Survive and Laugh” blog. I’m tired of trying to feel good about evil stuff, everything is great but it’s not. I’m trying to talk about the things everyone is trying to avoid, I’m surprised it doesn’t piss everyone off!

Thank you reading and for giving enough of a shit to write! I think I’ll be at your house soon so I’ll be needing a few square feet of back yard for a tent.

J. “Cheap MoFo” Jones

Jeffrey Jones said...

Unless you don't want me to mooch....

Redjones said...

I have a great tent house. Jen will also be here.

I see and appreciate the truths intertwined. I apologize for not saying so.

In contrast to your style, the mormons can take a message as simple as "tell your kids you love them" and turn it into a super gay fruit fest.

I get tired of being dragged through the crap. I know a little about whats wrong. I know on a very deep level, our problems are inseperably linked to our lifestyle.

I try not to let the fact that everything is askew dictate my moods. The art, in my opinion is to navigate without letting the actions of other people determine our course of action. The fact is, an enormously huge majority of the people inhabiting this planet are living in peace. This, however is not being reported, because it doesn't sell like bombs and guns and blood.


Jeffrey Jones said...

[Redjones also replied @ my e-mail:]

To: "biznatin"
Sent: Tuesday, September 18, 2012 7:16:21 AM
Subject: Blog

Sorry Jeff,
I don't mean to seem combative, angry or stupid. When I reread my posts, im all three. There are so many people out there throwing opinions around. I am amazed at our (humans) ability and willingness to anounce whats wrong, yet offer no real solutions. Everyone wants to blame something or someone for thier situations. Is anyone really willing to make the sacrifices needed to invoke real change?
When we talk about fiction vs nonfiction, it amazes me that the same set of facts on any subject can be studied by multiple authors, and completely different conclusions can be drawn, and argued convincingly.

Enough about that.[...]


[Cheap Response:]
A few more thoughts, Red, sorry about taking so long.

Re: your last blog comment: I agree we shouldn’t let events dictate our moods, but how is this possible? At some point we have to, as humans, get angry and stay angry, otherwise we keep getting screwed. You don’t have to let events ruin your life, but you have to respond--either meditate/medicate yourself into acceptance, or take action.

Whether the majority of humans on the planet live in peace is debatable--define “peace." Why does the U.S. have troops in most of their countries? Most humans are far too busy trying to survive; it’s not peace, it’s resignation, apathy, government-enforced helplessness.

As for the guns and bombs and blood--I don’t see any of that being reported on any television network. No war footage is permitted, not even footage of our own dead, sacrificed for oil and covered with a flag. What I see on television is diversion, hyper-consumerism, feel-good bullshit, and outright lies.

Re: your e-mail: No sweat about being combative, angry, or stupid; I am routinely all three as well, which is why I prefer writing--I can edit.

There are plenty of folks offering plenty of real and workable solutions to world problems. The problem is the merchant and ruling classes, who refuse to allow them to be heard, let alone implemented. Some people are willing to make the sacrifices involved, and I think the majority would, if asked intelligently and politely. But no one is allowed to even suggest real solutions in the major media, unless it is to belittle them.

As for fiction versus non-fiction; sorting it out simply involves reading and thinking. In confusing scenarios, common sense helps too. In my case there are journalists whom I have followed for decades now, who have consistently been correct and truthful. Though Alexander Cockburn just passed away, his Counterpunch website carries on and is a great place to start. Another favorite is Robert Fisk, who has been covering the Middle East most of his life.

Instead of forever blowing smoke up our own asses, trying to make ourselves feel good without reason, I think we need to accept the fact that we’re screwed, and take it from there. No need to walk around boo-hoo-ing, but no need to pretend the sun is shining during a thunderstorm either.

My blog is about keeping your chin up and carrying on no matter how screwed. The rulers can’t take away our laughter, our love, our music, our secrets. No matter how bad off, we can decide to be happy anyway. Which is, I think, your point as well.

Thanks again for writing. I expect people to argue with me, especially when I reject the accepted cultural narrative. History looks very different from the other end of the gun.

J. “Cheap-Ass” J.

Redjones said...

Jeff. You live in a beautiful home. Have food to eat. You have a great job, outstanding boys, and a loving wife.
Please explain how you can define yourself as screwed.

I'm going to the park with my son to play hoops this am. Because I can. Every city I have lived in I have had this freedom. I'm not close to being wealthy, but have everything I need.

Choosing to become angry I will simply disagree with. People that are angry make poor decisions. Especially when done in groups.

If you are not seeing war, violence, and mayhem on the news, you are delusional. That is all that is in the news.

Living in peace is a personal choice. You have been living in a relatively small town, and working in a cement mine. (Any weekend riots in central az today?)
My employment has given me opportunity to develop thousands of relationships with people of all creeds, races, and class levels. This over the last 23 years, and in 4 states. Human beings are cool. Most are decent, caring individuals. An overwhelming majority live in peace. Living in peace starts with me, in my nieghborhood, at a grass root level. That to me is not complacency, but making a difference where possible. Most people just want to raise there families in peace. All the international humans I have met want the same thing.

I guess being athiest, there is no one to thank for what you have. Being thankful for the positive things in my life is one way I avoid letting other people control my emotions, or outside forces from determining my behaviour. This world can seem cold, dark and scary when you deny that part of your being.(more than normal, I would say)

Determining fiction from non fiction does involve reading and understanding. That being said, do you honestly believe that if everyone read what you have read, we would all be in agreement on the current state of affairs? There is way more to it. Attitude, education, self awareness, and personal experience all play a large part in forming opinions. I wont argue the truth of verifiable factual informaion. I will argue what conclusions should be drawn.

Few people I have met would be willing to make the sacrifices nessesary to mend our spoiled ways. We would have to do without our wisconsin cheeze, our pre cooked, pre packed, tv dinners and our 50 different kinds of peanut butter. No more cars.

So you suggest taking action. I agree, but Im not goin to play victim, or grab a gun, or get and stay angry. I'm going to be thankful for what I have, and try to live as simply and peacefully ss possible. Live with less, right o cheap one?

Jeffrey Jones said...

We still have a combination of bad writing and bad reading going on here. I am always grateful, I am one of the luckiest humans ever to live, thanks mostly to the good fortune of being born white in history’s Biggest Empire Ever. God or lack thereof has nothing to do with it. If I come off as ungrateful, I wrote it badly. Much of the rest of your last comment had me wondering who you were arguing with.

I wrote about a thousand words responding point by point, but never mind. Here’s the deal, I think:
A person can be grateful, and well off, and still be upset with worldwide economic, environmental, and civil injustice. These lead us to two issues every thinking world citizen has to consider: How Pissed Off Shall I Be? And, What Will I Do About It?

As you suggest, we determine the answers. Someone who is busy working 60 hours a week and raising kids might choose to ignore the evil in the world and concentrate on the task at hand. I know I did, for years, as best I could; raisin’ the brats is the most important task we breeders do. Now, another person, part-way laid off work, kids gone, and a head full of history, economics, politics, philosophy, and nonsense, might be more willing and able to be Really Pissed, and do whatever he or she could about it.

In my case, confronting and discussing issues of the day (and century) actually increases my happiness. It fascinates me, makes me feel like I’m doing something, even if I’m not really. (Someday I will get involved in local politics, do something useful rather than write silly bullshit.) If my bleeding-heart gig gets too heavy, I shut the book or computer and go watch football. But I gladly and freely choose not to ignore it.

Compassion is one of the human attributes that make us successful as a species. However, the very-rich don’t seem to have much, and the poor generally can’t do much with theirs. That leaves it up to the rest of us. One’s conscience must guide.

”Stewardship means, for most of us, find your place on the planet, dig in, and take responsibility from there--the tiresome but tangible work of school boards, county supervisors, local foresters--local politics. Even while holding in mind the largest scale of potential change. Get a sense of workable territory, learn about it, and start acting point by point.”
--Gary Snyder, from Turtle Island, 1975

”All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing”
--attributed to Edmund Burke, about 1770

Jeffrey Jones said...

RED'S REPLY to that last one at my personal e-mail account; what follows is excerpts, then my backtalk.

Sent: Tuesday, October 1, 2012 10:02:27 PM

Clarifications on my self rightious rant...
I dont think you are delusional. You should watch the news sometimes though, if you are going to comment about whats on. Im sure even the most radical events i see are but a tiny trickle of what is going on.

I do not feel or think my job is superior to anyone, but it does expose humans to me, in thier natural habitat. (Work)

You are right. As a race, on the current path, we're fucked. And most people dont have a clue.

I remain hopeful. I don't know any other way.

[Oct. 2 now] Its not your writing, it is I. I don't know why. When I re-read my responses, it is almost as bad as my early reactions to our religious differences way back when. I wish I could explain my defensive reactions.

When I re-read your responses and original posts, I really don't know who I'm arguing against iether….

I believe my tendencies toward being defensive may stem from living amongst the hill people. I became very tired of uneducated rush fans telling me how horrible everything is. Then the liberal folk (both of us) with thier devisive fingerpointing. Nobody wants to take responsibility for what is wrong. For example...
Our schoolteachers are poor. Our basketball players are rich. In our spare time, what are most people paying attention to? Education?...hell no. Kobe. If we dont take responsibility, things like this can't get fixed. There are life changing sacrifices to be made by all.

You mentioned there are people with real solutions. I'd love to hear them.

Talking about this crap is fun for me also, as long as I can stop being a bitch about it.
Tired now. Thanks for being so patient with me....

Jeffrey Jones said...

Your Redness:

Could your defensive reaction be to information that takes you out of your comfort zone?

No one can pretend not to know that our overconsumption of the world’s resources is destroying it and making international enemies. But between trying to make a living, raise kids, and have a little fun, no one has time to think about it, let alone do anything about it.

Our worship of money and things is sanctified by a thousand diversions, in case anyone has time to think. More folks on food stamps than ever. Bread and circuses for the masses.

I’d like to think that my silly blog made you uncomfortable because that is one of my goals, shock people into questioning their cultural assumptions. Like an old time newsman, “afflict the comfortable and comfort the afflicted.” The level and tone of your defensive anger is not surprising in a “Rush” world of bombastic gibberish.

(You can get away with being stupid if you are nice. You can get away with being an asshole if you are smart. But a stupid asshole has no redeeming quality. “Rush” has a right to say what he wants, but he isn’t having a dialogue, he is yelling intimidating stuff to silence dialogue.)

A civil back and forth of ideas is what the world needs, but it’s not happening much, certainly not in our country. There are many solutions, but few are heard, buried in the shouting and the circuses. One has to seek them out. Because nearly all involve slowing our massive overconsumption, no one in power wants them heard. Money is what matters. Celebrity excitement sells; teaching has been particularly demonized because the profession has one of the few remaining semi-functioning labor unions, which the Owners hate. (What nerve, workers wanting to have a say in their work!) (Same reason nurses and public servants are being attacked.)

At work, the people who get the angriest with me usually don’t know what they are talking about, and can’t defend any of their assumed beliefs. The conscious are glad to go back and forth because it’s so hard to find anyone with which to have an enlightened discussion. (Now such discussion is not allowed at work--that’ll help.)

Next time you are pissed off by something I wrote, stop a second and figure out which exact phrase or idea bothered you, and think about it. Keep in mind I say a lot of things just to provoke thought, and possibly disturb. Consider overall intent. The message of “Slack” is renunciation of the world, a tactic for inner peace older than the saints.

What you and I are doing with our electronics here is what everyone needs to be doing, talking stuff out. I appreciate that you consider my crap worth your attention. You will have to eat fewer of your words if you give them a day to digest. Also, don’t read me on the morning of a play day. Wait ‘til later, preferably after cracking and taking a few good slugs from a 40.