Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Life Isn't Too Short

It's too fragile.

I had a nice visit with my oldest brother, Jess, on the phone this weekend. He had the flu last week, and he still wasn't 100%. But he's always had such a positive attitude, possibly to match my negative one.

I told him that if our dad were alive today, he'd be ashamed of me. I hate my job, I don't respect the people I work for and with, and I work in an unforgivably despicable industry.

Jess said, "No, he wouldn't be ashamed of you. He'd be frustrated with you. But he wouldn't be ashamed of you. I'm sure of it."

I suppose I frustrated dad plenty while he still breathed. It's a shame I have to do it to him in death. I hope Jess is right.

I do wonder sometimes, often, actually, if folks who had terrible parents whom they didn't like are batter off in the end. I think in some respects they are.

I guess my advice to you young parents out there is this (yes, I've said this before): Make your kids hate you; they'll be more consolable in the end.


twif said...

hey, i work for an insurance company too!

anyway, you only frustrate people if they care for and value you. all in all, not a terrible thing.

artandsoul said...

Ha! I was going to say "at least everything you have isn't spoils from the insurance industry like ours" and then I see twif used the word "too" -- so, there we are.

I have no words of wisdom for reconciling the cognitive dissonance. I have plenty of excuses not the least of which is "I don't do the actual work, HE does, so does it still count against me?" but I think the answer is yes. At least that's how it feels.

So I think to balance it I have the garden, the compost, the recycle bins, I take the cloth bags into all the stores, I donate a crap-ton of money to charity. I volunteer most of the live-long day.

I don't think I"m able to balance out the industry, but I do hope I'm reducing my Insurance Footprint on the world.

I agree with twif ... and your brother sounds very wise, as older brothers ought.

Keifus said...

Hey, I'm a military contractor. Not one of those guys, but the good ole DoD certainly butters my bread (with guns, to mix a metaphor)

But those people are worse off in the beginning, I'm pretty sure, and it's hard to catch up once you're heading the wrong way, what with first-order processes and exponential growth and whatnot.

artandsoul said...

So, Keifus, not to hijack this thread or anything but do you have some kind of hazing ritual for your new employees that includes nakedness, drunkness and picture-taking-for-posterity-and-internet-fun?

bright said...


omfg that is the most technically retarded advice you've ever written.


Keifus said...

No Art, I am not those guys, I angle for small-potatoes research contracts (many of which are not even inherently evil, but you wish someone else had their hand on the cash spigot). Our hazing is more like the standard corporate demoralization and introduction of young hires to the depressing realities of salaries vs opportunity costs vs costs of living in the B-grade professional fields.

artandsoul said...

"standard corporate demoralization" is pretty bad but it doesn't make headlines on Huffington Post.

But that you can still use the word "research" in your job description seems (to my mind, anyway) to offer some hope.

But I have a bias toward education, research, analysis and creativity. Damned elitist that I am. Also one of the reasons working in a real garden helps me be a better person.

switters said...

twif: not insurance. it's worse than that, if you can believe it. though i'd like to talk to you some more about running away from myself while at the same time running towards my self.

art: I'm not looking to change the world or even make a difference. I'm simply looking to live a life that actually has some small meaning. You've already found it. Enjoy every minute.

Keifus: I suspect, as you told me this summer, you will be remembered very well. Just a hunch.

bright: Ow. What are your sister's current views on chickens, hog holding stations, and 10-month-long winters?

The ball is rolling, though rather pathetically slowly at this point. Let's see where it ends up.

Schmutzie said...

I'll bet the first BLT of the season in Titonka will be the benchmark for all BLTs to follow. I know you already provide your own L&T, but I can't imagine B ever getting fresher than that.

switters said...

Smut: For the record, I took your Dan post at face value. Yeah, cut a hole in the back of your house for a fireplace. Need a wooden spoon? Carve one out of the piece of scrap lumber lying there. Hungry? Dress that ram and have yourself some spicy ram stew. But you're almost out of hot sauce.

Courage, conviction, possibility, transitoriness. Nothing need be permanent because nothing ever can be. There's great freedom in that, isn't there?

Schmutzie said...

Yes there is my friend. Great freedom.

One line from the Proenneke thing that I find particularly profound..."I think I'll be able to last through an Alaskan winter, but the real question is can I handle my own company for a year?" Dude had it figured out.

artandsoul said...

"looking to live a life that actually has some small meaning" - a worthy goal, and I wish the best for you.