overhaul / undertow

Wednesday, August 14, 2002

I have been really broke lately, and am now reduced to consolidating my last laundry quarters, buying gasoline, and using said gasoline to drive home to my folks' house, whereupon I will soulfully ask for just a few more pence to get me through til Friday, when I get paid. And they'll pretty much have to hand it over, as I will be out of gas after that drive with no other way of getting home. I feel guilty and even ashamed about this, but I have no options.

I had to go to the drugstore this morning, though, to buy Zantac. Yes. I could never be homeless: my health care needs are too costly. I was also out of toothpaste and had considered using baking soda, but that's just gross.

I got my generic zantac and then cruised the overwhelming toothpaste aisle. So many, many options, about twenty full feet of dental care, and all at six bucks a pop. I didn't have that kind of money.

And then I saw it: the eetiest-beetiest tube of toothpaste, as small as you can make 'em before they become travel size, and a handy two dollars and thirty five cents. So I got that.

Once home I opened the thing to find that about one-third of the toal length of the tube was taken up by a space-age, bizarro cap that somehow had been ingeniously designed to deliver a little star-shaped pattern of toothpaste, carefully keeping the blue gel separate from the white goo, and probably encapsulating the sum total of two years of hard labor from some unlucky first-year just-out-of-art-school product designer.

It was brilliant, but a waste of packaging of course (when did the western world embrace the belief that your white goo must be separated from your blue gel anyway?), and probably no one will ever think much of it.

Lately at my job I've felt a lot like that imagineered hapless product designer, laboring away at my little version of an ingenious bottle cap that no one will spend more than two seconds observing, never fully grasping the complex workings on the inside, and then having it tossed out and not thought of again.

I guess this is the way it goes when you work for someone else in a capacity such as my own, but you'll have to cut me some slack for feeling a bit let down--I was a teacher for quite some time, and that was way different. Then I was a molder of young minds, a planter of the seeds of ideas, nursing dreams into being for others. Now I'm just an...employee.

I have the desire that it be otherwise, someday. Soon.

Yeah yeah, me and everyone else who wants to get paid for doing what they love, independently.


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