Matthew Paris :: Xiccarph :: View topic - Government Work
Government Work
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Matthew Paris
 

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Post Sun Nov 23, 2003 10:00 pm - Government Work
I know all of you are proud to have passed our generic test for government work. I also am aware you feel totally unqualified as I do for any of the diverse and almost bizarrely various jobs youíve applied for.
Let me tell you as a veteran: mo matter what you do or donít do incompetently youíll be right at home working for us. Iím not ever competent myself at this speech as you can probably tell; In fact I think my fly is open. Excuse me. It isnít open. I wonder why I thought it was. You may ponder why I think it isnít. I guess there are those who think it is and those who think it isnít. What the truth is, nobody knows.
Where was I? Ah yes, here I am giving this series of awards and presentations to you, Itís all plastic, worth nothing. Also I have nothing to say; I can't remember what I wanted to tell you if I had hoped to communicate anything, I do know I left my computerized speech in a latrine or a sewer somewhere or perhaps I never wrote it at all; I roll in the gutter sometimes and things fall out of my pockets. Donít we all!
As usual Iíve completely lost any sense of what I wanted to tell you; if I werenít working in a long and hardly exemplary career for our government Iíd probably hang myself out of shame at my performance here. Ah, yes, Iíd begun but not finished congratulating you on your success. If I hang myself with a government rope itíll probably break. Then Iíd be back here with a rope burn on my beck next week. Iíll just continue my speech and hope my fly is or is not open. If it is, whatís the difference. If yours is, who cares either? Not me. Not you.
I donít worry about success in my career; you shouldnít worry about yourís either. We have as you may have surmised very low standards here. Some wags say we have none at all. Iím sure as Americans youíre used to that sort of slander; itís not true. We do not for example hire the dead. Nor for that matter do the dead hire us.
Even if youíre alive, nobody expects anybody to do much of anything anymore the dead canít do or not do, nobody I know anyway. If I can really say honestly or even dishonestly that I know anybody at all, none of them can do much of anything. Sometimes I donít even know myself or what I can do myself. Itís built into a general tolerance for our own incompetence you and I may be afflicted with.
These days even lovers can't be bothered trying to make you happy. Itís too much trouble. If they felt charitable and wanted to stop our misery, they wouldnít know how to do it. Thatís because in matters of intimacy when even indifference fails us, we can always count on the triviality of the accident of our life in a dead world along with our own ineptitude and stupidity. Nobody is responsible for a natural atrocity. We arenít any worse than a season of bad weather? If we are, whatís the difference?
Youíll like government work; no matter what you do, your peers and bosses may die but the checks never stop. When youíre on the pad from someplace and the whole world is winking at your clumsiness, your goofy imbecility, you donít ever try to be too good at anything. People might notice you. You could make enemies. Nobody ever hates furniture like people.
I never met a soul in government work who liked to see anybody in their view working too hard or too fast. Why should they? Why should You? The checks are the same, the health benefits donít change at all even though the HMOs of course never pay off; the pension doesnít get bigger if youíre a nice guy. We know that; I hope you understand that.
Youíre lucky youíll work for an agency that nobody has ever heard of, that doesn't exist beyond paying you a salary and giving you a place to get out of the rain, in which you can only go on strike by going to work.
Iím going to start you the way you want or should want to treat other people in government. Iím going to giving you the minimum wage and less, then lie to you, promise you what I will never give you, force you to steal the pencils in a rage, put everything you can find in the office reach into your pocket, have a spree with agency credit cards that canít be traced back to you.
More importantly Iíve already taken half your wallets, watches and even your toe rings. Iím an expert pickpocket. Most governments are; they hire people like me who are adapt at pickpocketing as they are. They call it taxes. I probably get have most of your wallets already.
I may have all of your watches before youíre out of here. If youíve got ankle bracelets you might catch me casually knocking some dust off your cuffs. Iím not going to tell you what the government tells you. Iím not helping anybody. Iíve not servicing anybody. In fact Iím completely indifferent to everybody. If I steal from you itís for me.
Iíve learnt a lot from the government about invisible crime. Iíve slept with people and theyíve never even noticed it. Thatís how quick I am with my hands and feet and other things besides governments donít have. What Iíve got you donít want to know about and Iím not taking about genitalia. People like me donít need bodyguards or a lawyer. The whole world does all it can to protect themselves from us. Sometimes they succeed.
Anyway, half the time I work surreptitiously for the army; the rest of it is labor for the school system and the law. If you think about it you know Iíve been there. I go everywhere where people need help.
You know, itís easier to help people when theyíre locked up. You never have to look for them anywhere. It saves you labor. Theyíre always where you want them, in the same place. .
It isnít the lack of simple expectations among any of you for a secure career doing nothing or taking up legal looting thatís going to make you confused working for us. Itís the paradoxes in the government point of view, often baffling to our employees in their first year with us, that might irk you. After a while youíll get used to it, like a constant cold that stays with you after death or a face that haunts you overtime you look into a mirror.
Hey, if you can't bear it, take a promotional exam and become one of our supervisors. You might keep on getting promoted because you can't stand the dumb things your bosses tell you and youíre tired of lying statistics you invent saying that work more miraculous than the metaphysics of any known religion is happening in your office, until you become the big boss. Then you get promoted again; you become the guy who tells the big boss what to do with a call to your go-fer.
Then youíll disappear altogether somewhere, anywhere, it doesnít matter. Maybe itís a California gated community with electric fences, slavering guard dogs and an internal shopping mall and satellite television; maybe it isnít. Only the biggest of the big bosses know.
Three things you have to remember one thing about life as well as government; maybe itís more than three, maybe itís less. Maybe itís more. I donít know.
In any case there are two kinds of people on this planet, or maybe five or seven, oneís on salary; then thereís the hapless suckers who work for free. Is that tow five or seven. Maybe itís beyond numbers altogether. On one side of an imaginary polyhedron thereís us.
On the other improbable realm of geometry there are slaves, lovers, intimates, revengers, family, martyrs and hobbyists. Once you know who you are, youíll be okay.
Secondly, you can't coast through government work and think you can handle anything one you solve it the first time. When you kill somebody not on salary or working for us itís murder. If you did it without thinking and are a moron besides itís manslaughter. You might even walk.
The first time itís free, right? When you collect our weekly checks itís a just war. It might be stifling rebellion. You donít get arrested; youíre given a medal.
The laws change every week, sometimes even faster; weíll tell you what they are but donít forget: yesterdayís crime is todayís government lottery. What provoked a sting operation a year ago might be what elects your president. Booze is legal now; coke and grass isnít.
Tobacco is semi-legal; only adults are allowed to kill themselves and each other with the sauce and the right certified leaf. We can drink; we can't make the booze ourselves; thatís a crime. If we drink and donít make the booze thatís being a good consumer. If we make the booze but donít drink it, I donít know what that is.
We still have a few octogenarians who remember Prohibition, the government busting bootleggers; they are still working for us now everything is the other away around. Theyíre still busting people, for what I can't say.
I think itís drinking Mexican mescal with worms in it. We donít like worms in our liquor here. Some people south of the Rio Grande donít think theyíre drinking liquor unless they can see that dead brown worm. Why that is, I donít know.
Government employees come to me every day and ask me: ďWhatís a crime lately?Ē I tell them guzzling, selling and importing booze from France is okay now; moonshining in the Carolinas is still no good. Some o them are still busting importers of French wine. They should retire. These oldsters get confused; they forget. Then they get incontinent and clear out the office.
Understand this: if you tax people to support the governmentís enemies itís something between bad manners and treason. If theyíre American divorced women and their little brats itís forcing louts and dead beat bums on the lam to pay alimony and child support: a just toll for allowing them even to live.
Donít forget by the way who the government enemies are. They change. These days it isnít Germany. It isnít Russia. It isnít Japan. Lately itís Arabs, not all Arabs, just some Arabs or most Arabs or maybe itís a few Arabs, donít ask me which ones. Tomorrow it might be me. It might also be you.
When you bomb out people all by yourself without a uniform or a weekly paycheck itís a crime; itís terrorism. When you do the same thing in a khaki costume paid for by the government and on the pad itís protecting people you never even know assisted, itís defending their right they never knew they had in the first pace to be free, whatever that means, wherever or whoever the hell they are, even if theyíre buried in a cemetery somewhere or imaginary.
Anyway sometimes even the best people need a war and a little mayhem to think it over. Itís been true about me. Iíve had my best ideas while getting bombed.
The third and last thing youíve got to remember or maybe itís the fourth is: weíre they only guys in town who legitimately print money. Donít forget! Sure, I know other people do; theyíre godamned counterfeiters. Weíre the real thing.
Our money is real. Even their real money isnít really real. Our counterfeit money is more real than any of the realist of their real money. We should arrest the whole world for counterfeiting. Most of them are counterfeiting humanity itself, don you think? If we run out of crimes here we might do it.
If you donít believe me, if you think our money isnít real, take your money to a store; see what happens. They wonít arrest you; theyíll laugh at you and your cutsy pink and cerise little bills. Take our money to them with the green ink and the old guys with the beards on them they will feed you, make love to you and maybe give you a new pair of shoes.
People like to say government work is easier than corporate labor; it isnít. Itís slower. A business will do anything to make a quick profit. Thatís a little too hasty for us. You donít have to think much to run a corporation, You and your people will steal, kill and lie for a single extra buck. You will tell God and the devil to drop dead if you can turn it into nickel more than your currently have.
Thatís easy enough; itís also okay. Anybody can understand it. It hurts a few people. Whatís the alternative, Communism?
We in the government are different; we try to steal, then go bankrupt and lose as money as possible. When we can't spend enough of it on agencies nobody needs, on people who are good for nothing, on causes that donít exist, on curing diseases and remedy dilemmas that are imaginary or all the perception of lunatics, we sell Treasury Bonds to Arabs and Martians and go into debt, then take all our paper loans and stick them in a big fire near Disneyland in occupied Florida. You can see the flames from miles away; it scares the alligators.
We make money in a million ways. Literally, we make it from trees and ink. Just as you are a source of dung no master what you eat, we can always make more money. Naturally we have contempt for money; you would too if you could put something on Earth like an army of cockroaches.
Of course money to us is just yesterdayís silly promises youíve heard from a fat old streetwalker. You can think of money as we do: a bit of fantastical vapor that looks like paper. Itís just one more ordinary illusion we churn out here among many; we are more magicians than anything else.
Believe me, youíll like it here. If you can't find the bosses, itís why we hired all of you as assistants. We want to start you out on this job right. Put your hands in your pockets. Do you like the feeling of emptiness? Iíve already walked off with your wallets, some of your watches. Hey, thatís my job!
Now I want to abscond with some of your it, about thirty years of it. Then Iíll exile you to a Florida shuffleboard court to wrinkle and die in the sun. Deal?
Furthermore I want you to go out there and do the same to as many people as you can in volume on the street. Not just strangers, your relatives, your mistress, your intimates, even your dog. Just put your hands on their pockets, slip a few fingers over their wrists and pull. They may not even notice. If they do, so what? We not only make money, we make judges and appoint police. Donít ask where they came from. I donít want to know where you started out. You donít want to guess about my origins or plans for retirement either. It might makes us all a little uncomfortable.
If itís a dog, walk off with its chow, tell it youíre giving it to the poor dogs in Tasmania when it barks. Then kick it a few times. One is seduction, the other force. You do whatever works. If youíre a little more cunning tell human beings why they need to give you a salary to walk off with their wallets and watches for their own good; see what happens. Maybe nothing will happen. Thatís okay too.
Sometimes some of the rubes will believe you and will hand you their underwear and their shoes too. Hey, could it be easier?
If you get caught running a hustle or two on the side, donítí worry. Whoís going to be the judge? Yeah, youíre right: me, you, the government. If not us, somebody like us: a legion of hacks and clowns from a clubhouse somewhere in the boondocks who once used to go for watery coffee for people you donít want to know about.
I might be the right judge for you; you arenít any better than I amí you might be worse. Many times Iíve been a judge of judges myself. Believe me, I was ultimately bribable. Everybody is. Give a dollar to the dead and theyíll do nothing for you. Thatís what the dead do best, isnít it? Otherwise they wouldnít be dead.
A last word: I know you arenít going to like your job. When you think of quitting look at the alternative. You could go to a Caribbean Island and live off mangos for a month. Weíll find you there, give you lain to start a big mango farm, give you a salary, health benefits and a pension. You could do the same thing here without mangos, doing nothing, or maybe if you get bored, stealing a little, just to keep your hand in the cosmic racket, so to speak.
Donít you think God is running some kind of invisible hustle? I do. What or who else could be running a crooked Creation like this?
People sneak into rockets every day to escape us. Believe me, if you take off to the stars and think youíve vanished in a corner of the ether weíll find you. Weíll be looking at you from our space stations through very expensive telescopes. When we catch you weíre going to put you to work either making money or losing money. Maybe youíll do both simultaneously. I did once.
Where the hell are you going to go to anyway? Weíre talking to God and the devil; weíre working out a contract with heaven and hell to make sure donít lose any of our fancy health benefits even if youíre immortal.
You might as well hang on to your government job, stay here with us, go to one of our offices, be one of the boys, relax and work for a living.
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