The Unknown by Edgar Lee Masters

YE aspiring ones, listen to the story of the unknown
Who lies here with no stone to mark the place.
As a boy reckless and wanton,
Wandering with gun in hand through the forest
Near the mansion of Aaron Hatfield,
I shot a hawk perched on the top
Of a dead tree.
He fell with guttural cry
At my feet, his wing broken.
Then I put him in a cage
Where he lived many days cawing angrily at me
When I offered him food.
Daily I search the realms of Hades
For the soul of the hawk,
That I may offer him the friendship
Of one whom life wounded and caged.

Masters, Edgar Lee. Spoon River Anthology. New York: The Macmillan company, 1916; Bartleby.com

Susan G. NO MEN

I was somewhere – seemed like a corporate office. There was some kind of fund-raiser/awareness raiser about breast cancer. I popped my head in the room where this was taking place, while digging into my pocket to search for a few dollars to donate. I was met with immediate venomous resistance: “NO MEN IN HERE, GET OUT!” Shocked, I turned my head and saw that it was indeed a room full of women, exclusively.

I high-tailed it out of there, bewildered as to why they would limit their audience via sexual discrimination. I was now on an escalator, complaining bitterly about my experience and was told to keep my voice down, that the two women that run this program were right behind us. Angrily, I said, “good!” I turned around and said, “why the hell would you do prohibit men from trying to help!?” They gestured at me and said, “come, take a walk with us.”

Suddenly, I was walking outside with them, it was a woodsy area, pretty quiet and abandoned. They seemed to be having a civil conversation with me, when they suddenly grabbed me and a few other people joined them in restraining me. “Do you know how many cases of men being raped by women there are in this country? Not nearly enough…” I remember being restrained using pieces of white cloth – one of which was balled up and shoved into my mouth. I remember screaming and yelling “no” (as best as I could). One of the girls revealed a gigantic syringe. If this part weren’t horrifying, it would have been comical – at least the way it looked. “How would you like HPV?” My screams and futile protests grew louder and more rapid. The large needle was then being slowly lowered, just hovering above puncturing the left side of my pelvis.

This was the part where it transitioned to me watching this as a movie – in which the movie was now showing a wide angle shot of these woods, far away from the action. A very audible unrestrained scream sounded and echoed as the scene came to a close and so did my dream.

How Do I Know that My Life is Meaningless?

Humanity has evolved and progressed to this point. We now have money – which was a great idea. We have businesses. We have corporations. From this realm comes the very pinnacle of humanity, the peak in our evolution that we will never top – presentations. We now have presentations. Beyond that, we have software that makes these presentations, namely, Power Point and Keynote. Using these applications for their intended purpose is one thing, sure. It is, however, a slippery slope of which I am at the bottom.

keynoteslidesWhen one’s life is brought to the point of not using these applications to create or present, but instead, watching video tutorials about how to use this software to aid people that do create and present, it really puts things into perspective. I realize – none of this matters, at all. I wonder about the most successful, rich, powerful, or just plain happy people in the world, in the entire history of the world. Did they watch tutorials on how to use presentation software? Was this the puzzle piece that elevated them to the next level?

Watching a video tutorial where a guy changes the background color of a slide in a presentation while narrating his actions, effectively, makes me want to blow my fucking brains out. The very notion that these videos were authored is offensive enough; the part where I am (or anyone is) watching them is exponentially worse.

People present; let’s break this regression down from presenting to whatever the hell I’m doing. We have the apps, and if that isn’t bad enough, we have to learn how to use the apps, which can be so complex that people create tutorial videos on how to use them. The presenters aren’t watching them though, I am. I am learning these apps in order to keep the knowledge on standby for helping those that do present. Presenting is one thing, but learning a skill merely for the purpose of helping people that should have this skill, that’s a whole other ball of wax. I start to wonder, why people aren’t fired for lying on their résumé? If I’m so smart that I simply learn how to do someone else’s job so that I can help them do it, where and when did I go wrong?

One might say, “well you’re part of a global company and this helps you learn and grow.” This isn’t growing, this is chasing my tail in an endless rat maze. I can’t help but wonder, does the fact that I have a job (that some might tout as a career) make me a success? Do my mother and father think that I now amount to something? I can tell you this: maybe I’m my own worst critic, but after sitting here watching these tutorials, I am fairly certain that I have gotten nowhere in life and amount to nothing. I can take my certifications, my college degrees, and my pats on the back and stick ‘em. I’m not even a gear in the machine that I’m supposed to be raging against, I’m the grease slathered all over the gears.