Competition. Even as babies, we’re compared to others–who walked first, whose first word was bigger. From the moment we pop into this world we’re tossed into a society that’s bent on forcing competition down its member’s throats.
We get older, it gets worse. First, it’s grades. A ‘C’ is considered ‘average,’ yet god forbid anyone earns just average marks. Average is just not good enough. Even ‘above average’ won’t get you too far. In my high school, there were thirty people with a straight ‘A’ average. Still, the system managed to break their accomplishments down into an ordered list of best to worst. How that can even be possible? Ranking perfect scores so just one person gets to be ‘the smartest,’ is beyond me.
Then comes college. In this day, you have to go in order to be considered worthwhile by society. “What college are you going to?” is the favored question of aunts and uncles everywhere. Nosy neighbors inquire about your plans after school, and if you dare to speak the unspeakable, “I’m not going to college,” they either shake their heads and moan about what a mistake you’re making, or they subject you to a twenty-minute lecture about, “Getting ahead in this world.”
Has anyone stopped to think just how fucking stupid it all is? To push yourself beyond the limits of desire or ability in order to get that extra ten, twenty, or thirty thousand dollars a year? What, exactly will that get you? A bigger house? Better car? Nicer clothes? More attractive spouse? The keys to the door hiding the secrets of the universe?
And, we’re right back to that phenomena we were subjected to in infancy; sorting out who among the throngs of people out there is the very best.
Society never stops to think some of us aren’t ready to be its bitch. Maybe we never will be. I can’t think of a fate worse than having to wear high heels and a tan business suit. I can’t imagine sitting in front of a computer hitting keys all day while my view of this world I’m supposed to be living in is blocked by a five-foot wall of partitioned blandness. I can’t stomach the idea of playing nice with people I loathe in order to get ahead, whoring myself out spiritually (or even physically) so I can get just that much closer to the slightly bigger cubicle in the slightly more prestigious corner of the office.
Because of my aversion to the corporate/consumer/drone lifestyle, I am one of society’s fallen children. I have been ‘left behind.’ I am to be pitied, or maybe scorned–which is mostly all right, since I pity and scorn them. The problem is, it’s several hundred million to one. The pressure comes from all sides; parents, government, do-gooders. They want me to join them–as if becoming part of the collective will somehow validate their own submission. They can’t just leave me alone; they have to preach the gospel of ‘responsible adulthood.’ They have to convert me in order to save themselves.
Another log for the fire.
I’m finding out as I get older, some of my friends are collapsing under the pressure. Ricketts just caved a few months ago. He shaved off the remains of his mohawk, rolled down the sleeves of his white, button-up shirt so his ink wouldn’t show, and applied for a job as a customer service representative. The lure of money, the siren song of things, pulled him in, made him want to be one of them. Now he has a car of his own, an apartment of his own, and is buried by more debt than he can possibly climb out from under when making only thirty grand a year. But, he’s got a girl and they’re getting serious. He has to show he’s a good provider. A man’s man.
More than a C-average.
I understand there has to be some sort of compromise. Money is needed to survive. We can’t just take a sling out into the forest and come back with dinner. Our hunt is the job. Our kill is our paycheck.
But, do we have to lose so much of who we are in order to get it?
I’ll soon be twenty-three. Mom keeps saying, “Resonance, you can’t fight your future forever.” But, I think I can. Fighting is what I’ve been doing my entire life. No reason to change that, now.