A commie bastard’s guide to navigating workplace treachery.
Greetings, comrade! Pull up a seat and stay for a while, won’t you? I know it can be taxing promulgating the ideals of Marx and Weber to the bootlicking masses—wage slaves, eerily content under the crushing weight of a capitalist leviathan, easily placated by mantras of picking themselves up by the bootstraps (boy, we communists sure enjoy a strangely boot-centric lexicon, don’t we?) Well, fear not! Vegan Dogfood is a safe space for all proles to commiserate.
We, like you, would like nothing more than to overthrow a system that perpetually invents ever-changing constructs meant to devalue your ideas and commodify your labor. Also, like you, we’ll still be clocking in for our awful day jobs tomorrow and paying off our cars. But hey, just because nobody’s occupying this or that anymore doesn’t mean we have to take it all lying down! Throughout this article you will find a list of malicious workplace situations and their corresponding defenses for that next time you find yourself on the business end of your place of business.
We are living in the Golden Age of TV. That is, if you’re some cornball who actually talks like that. Yes, while every hour long tragicomedy that graces the silver screen isn’t necessarily the life-changing mega event that people might have you believe, television as a whole is just a lot better than it was last decade. You guys do remember when TV used to just suck, right? It got so bad that we started to grade shows on a curve—hence, Lost.
We seem to have the opposite problem now though. Because each new show that comes out has a writer attached who used to work on Breaking Bad, we just assume it’s going to be worth watching for a whole eighty hours of our lives. It’s kind of like how an artist would get recognized by the Louvre for one painting and then, whatever he’d throw together next, museums would just exhibit that shit anyway, even if it was a literal toilet.
The trend of binge-watching doesn’t seem to be helping much either. Think about it. Instead of having a week in between each installment to ruminate on whether or not that thing you just watched had any actual value, you are presented with the instant gratification of the next episode with no time to assess the show’s merits. Well, not until Netflix reminds you of your crippling ennui, of course. And so, much like Netflix, when it comes to these five shows I have to ask: Are you STILL watching??
Author’s note: to fully represent all of the malicious inner workings of these shopping-oriented house parties, I interviewed several women who’ve attended them as guests. Their anonymous testimonials are referenced throughout this article.
Connie breathes down your neck as you scan the pages of her kid’s holiday gift catalog. In your periphery, two other coworkers scurry off to eat lunch in their cars. A cold sweat envelops you now as you wonder… have popcorn tins always been this expensive? Even the tea light candle thing is like fifteen bucks—damn!
We’ve all been in this situation in one way or another. You’re either the one being detained in the break room, forced to buy gross toffy or you’re one of the Connies of the world, enslaved by an overwhelming pressure to out-parent everyone else in the booster club. Both people in this situation are dealing with impossible, irreconcilable guilt:
Connie could not take the catalog to work, leaving it up to callous chance (and her neighborhood’s generosity) as to whether or not her kids can raise enough money for band camp.
You could not buy the working class mother of four’s $20 friendship bracelet assortment and just keep on being a douchebag your whole life.
One thing though is clear — someone is exiting this transaction as the sucker. What a shitty, exploitative business model, right? What other shopping experience has so many interwoven expectations and potentially hurt feelings?
What if I told you there is an even more insidious sales tactic that makes school fundraisers seem as innocent as a lemonade stand?
“So where you from man?” He asked. He wore a flat bill hat that rested on his head at an impossible angle. Not quite 45 degrees and slanted to point upward, leaving the impression that it wasn’t adjusted purposefully, but it was, and any human who has ever worn a hat knew it. He was addressing a man with the same exact demeanor as himself. Slightly hunched to a point, to purposefully exude a carefree and relaxed nature. But, like the other guy’s hat, it was all show. Made to seem at nature with its environment but decidedly not at the same time.
“You know, I’m from Cleveland and shit man… You know. Around.”
“Word, word. Me too.” Said the first guy. He was all chin and all angles. They made geometry into conversation and I had to admire that. All juxtaposed into cool stances like a Picasso piece. Proto-Cubism in motion. It was at this point that they started to shuffle around each other awkwardly, hands stuffed in pockets, chin nods thrown at each other like rice at a wedding. Before long one asked the inevitable question; “So, like, where from around Cleveland?” The other guy reluctantly named a suburb to much the delight of his adversary. “No shit! I’m from-!” He lists another Cleveland suburb. It doesn’t matter which. I watch the whole shame dance as it unfolds. We’re all outside a bar in suburban Columbus, Ohio. I’m smoking a cigarette and I haven’t said a goddamn word.
As a 26-year-old gay guy living in this day and age, hook-up apps are not only THE way to go but almost an unspoken necessity, as they make every fear about actual interaction and flirtation simple (if not slightly reprehensible). Obviously I do in fact have a Grindr account, and have probably deleted and re-downloaded the app several thousand times. And yet, day after gay day, I continue validating its presence on my phone as the most practical way for me to navigate the Columbus gay scene.
“Is this the real life? Is this just fantasy?” Well, the answer is yes. To even begin to process the definition of reality — “the state or quality of having existence or substance” — we must first ascertain what exactly is meant by “existence”. Google, tells us that existence is “the fact or state of living or having objective reality.” So the simple definition of reality and existence tells us that they are essentially the same thing. To be real is to exist and to exist is to be real. So how do we determine reality?
Labor Day is over but if you’re like us then you‘re probably desperate to squeeze as much summer out of the next few weeks as possible, before September ends and all of Twitter makes the same bad Green Day joke. That means BBQs, camping, and of course backyard games! Cornhole, though relatively uncool, has occupied the top spot of outdoor activities ever since lawn darts were made (probably rightfully) illegal. A close second would be bocce ball, but is somehow even less cool and infinitely more expensive. I recently heard of a game called kubb, which is a Viking Age leisure activity (cool) played with wooden blocks and various lengths of rope. However, much like disc golf (thoroughly non-cool) the vast majority of kubb players are balding men named ‘Mike’ and therefore can also never be considered cool.
As you casually wear that Superman shirt, do you know his backstory? Can you name any of the writers and artists that brought it to life? What of the ancient Els on Krypton? None of that “On my planet it means hope” crap either. See, a real nerd can’t just go home after watching the latest DC movie flop, lick their wounds and re-watch The Wire for the sixth time. Actual nerds turn to things like the Smallville podcast or obsessing through the Superman wiki—lest we torment our friends and coworkers with all the fan theories and canon discrepancies that we physically can’t hold back. Meanwhile, non-nerds have the benefit of catching a few episodes of Doctor Who and grabbing a Funko Pop doll, instead of agonizing over the Face of Bo’s timeline or if the Silurians have the same makeup in each iteration. Nerds wield the responsibility of having an encyclopedic knowledge of the inane—that comes up in no normal daily conversation—which is why we overflow with excitement when someone indulges our discussions about which Comic Book universe is better or which season marked the decline of The Simpsons. This culture has gotten to enjoy the fruits of our laborious tending while we watch our passions rot into oblivion. It’s fine to like stuff that’s cool but it’s become far too easy to claim the nerd struggle as your own just by transiently consuming various “nerd” things. Things like: