Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Life and So On and So Forth: Go-Getters and the Canadian Dream

We are a generation of young adults.

More so than ever before we are categorized thusly. None more so than we, are willing to compromise and to conform. To become that which is necessary.

We live out our lives in a linear fashion. Paycheck to paycheck existence, we’re lost, disillusioned, and blind. We grow up slowly, trying to orient ourselves in a chaotic and lonely universe, and we’re given no guidance.

There was never a lesson plan on the meaning of life. We’ve racked our brains so vehemently of the concept that now we’re convinced that the answer is not within our grasp any longer. And so we no longer seek; content to sit idly by and hope that it will fall in our laps sometime during our lives, as if it were lying in wait for us. This is the first question we stop asking, and the first in a world of questions that we will not, care not, or dare not to ask.

I lost my innocence long ago, but I remember my youth fondly. I was a straightforward boy – na├»ve dreams and playground forays. I had my basketball and girls; classes and avoiding classes, mocking authority and being punished. School dances, hands on hips, so innocent, still curious, still eyes filled with the light of wonder.

Somewhere along the road we’re provided with the answers to that wonder: Commerce, faith, degrees and jobs; marriage, mortgage, life. Quietly and convincingly, the media defines success in monetary terms. We drool over Miatas and MTV cribs, always silently and sometimes unknowingly we’re weeping that our fantasies go unfulfilled. We, the unsuspecting and uncaring generation of children raised by children, a race born out of war, slavery, hate, greed and death.

History is written in bloodshed and afterbirth – No other two forces progress it more.

All the while we’ve been lied to. Disney told us we’d have grand romances and perfect lives filled with fantasy and adventure. Oh what a wonder was consciousness, and oh so sublime was life, that we could live here in Canada and make for ourselves whatever we wanted. But through no malicious means and no intentional course, no deep rooted conspiracy except inevitability, we were driven into our position. Sit down, Mr. Switzer, and pay attention. This is your life.

Welcome to the institution of your future. Your curriculum consists of the ancient lineage of memetics forged in thousands of years of conformity. You’ll be an agent of commerce, an industrial force; you’ll be a productive member - you’ll contribute, become one with the swarm, or you’ll be alone, freezing to death in a cubby hole on the side of the road, a sign saying god bless, and rasping please could you spare some change for a cup of vodka. Asking if they’d like a poem for a dollar.

You there, Capitalism, I want my inspiration back.

And God said, “Let there be work ethic.” And it was so.

Decision time, Mr. Switzer. You’re eighteen. Not yet old enough to drink, but old enough to pick a degree that will determine the entire course of your life from here to your dying day. Eigteen is the prescient number. The number of the oracle: you. You’re a self-fulfilling prophet. You are meant to do what you arbitrarily decide as a wistful and ignorant youth.

Get a piece of paper go and prove that you’re a go-getter.

Way to go, you got your degree, now go get a job; and now it’s gotten harder but you’re gunning for that promotion, precluding a promotion, subsequently you’re making all the money you ever wanted. Now go get yourself a woman. A female. If females were fruit loops, and Toucan Sam were God, would he say to follow your nose? Now go get a child, and get another one too. Now feed it, identify with it vicariously and watch it grow, love it, like some grotesque mirror-image chia pet. Now kneel before it, and wish it well, for it is half of you, and now you’ve done your due genetic diligence, your tugging imperative for the human species.

Paint a fence; paint a picture if it’s not too late. Build a shed, write a book if there’s time. Fix the pipes, but don’t flush your dreams, if there’s any left.

Clap Clap Clap. You’re wondering what all the congratulations are about, you just followed the path of least resistance. Congratulations, Mr. Switzer, you’ve earned the gift basket called life, and all you had to do was stand in line and look like everyone else. A cookie from God, an MTV dream, an inevitability and a foregone conclusion. A fair trade, that light in your eyes, that wonder, your innocence. And all you had to do was stop asking why.