Off the keyboard of William Hunter Duncan
First Published @ Off the Grid in Minneapolis, May 27, 2013
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It’s Sunday night, a holiday night, the night before Memorial Day, here in America. I’m home alone, as I often am, buzzed up, not as high as I would like to be, and otherwise wondering about my existence. Point-of-fact, I am somewhat exhausted, working overtime now at my uber garden center job, also gardening here sufficient to prep the growing of half the food I intend on eating this year and early next, and remodeling this house in preparation to show, to see what this new housing bubble is made of, LOL; and otherwise not eating much of late, for about ten days until recently, because in the bill paying and puffing and drinking I didn’t otherwise manage my finances properly to account for food. 🙂 Luckily, I had a cabinet full of beans and rice I bought in anticipation of hungry times, which one can only eat so much of, and every day leads otherwise to another reason to be alone much of the day, lol.
Here is a snippet of the last week of “official” work at uber garden center: Wednesday, at the end of a five day work spell, I built a hanging flower basket rack, sufficient to hold about 200 baskets, outside in the rain, which rack the managers took a picture of and sent to “the President of the Company,” ie CEO (which rack you get to see when I am done working @ uber garden center :); after which I filled the stalls of the bagged garden consumables with the forklift in the rain for several hours, and then assembled half a dozen wheelbarrows until wee 3:30 am Thursday; worked Saturday eight hours making $80, while helping to sell a store record $133,XXX.XX in the garden center, while manually moving, lifting or pulling or pushing an estimated 10 tons of materials – $80 and not $60, because I said finally, earlier in the week, I am EXEMPT from your motherfucking taxes, motherfucker!; will work 3pm-12 Monday-Wed, yes, Memorial Day, apparently in remembrance of a time when I didn’t have to work so damn hard barely to get by 🙂
Well, in fact, I am getting along just fine 🙂 But I have been thinking a lot about that wage, and how that $10/hr, “which doesn’t sound like much but is good by retail standards,” does not go near as far it seems to me, as the $7.25/hr, working for different uber retail outlet in 1991, which was considered retail enlightened then. Full time at current retail outlet pays my mortgage, which is about the same as any modest 1-bedroom apartment in this city. That’s it. No utilities, no food, no booze. Back in 1991, I could make rent (living in a house communally), and drive and drink and puff as much as I wanted. I could rent communally in this city for maybe $400. Phone, food, booze and bud? Driving is out of the question (which is fine, as I haven’t owned a vehicle now in 7 years), and drinking is budgeted. Which isn’t all bad except I can’t plant cannabis in my garden because of self-same/similar uber fascists running corporate/gov/police-state America, which grinds, even more than the specific $475 those fascist fucksticks in city gov thieved from me recently, with their uber efficient bureaucratic/private enterprise quasi cartel, banana republic-esque money syphon. LOL. fucksticks.
Anyway, where was I? Right, working life. @ $10/hr, that means I would have to work approximately 70hrs a week, for the right to live in this house alone, to grow half the food I eat, to bicycle everywhere I go. And I work harder for that $10/hr than any job I have ever had, with the possible exception of the year or two I spent commercial roofing @ $5.75/hr (1992-94), which income only made sense ’cause I was young and dumb and I lived with my parents. Federal minimum wage meanwhile is $7.25 and the minimum wage for Minnesota is $6.15. If you think the 40hr/wk rule is enforced in any real way, then you make probably in excess of $15/hr, and probably considerably more, or you make less and are on the gov dole. Republicans calling themselves in this context, the party of family values, when so many parents are both working, and multiple jobs, is like saying my family is sacred but yours can burn in hell. And Dems, whores to the corporate/finance/military State, who never apparently met a tax or a fine or a fee that didn’t sprout from the very bosom of the ineffable, inestimable, holy and all-tenses goddess of gov – and you think I can afford HEALTH CARE?!?!?!?!?
Which I guess the solution is to live communally, which if I do because I am not Mexican or Somali or Hmong but a middle-class white boy (raised) then that makes me a Communist!? Which as far as I can tell both Communists and Capitalists can go fuckaduck, LOL, the excellent managers of human affairs they both so apparently are. LOL…
Oh right, Memorial Day. In remembrance of those who have died in America’s many wars, to build on and maintain our hegemony. With respect to all those who have died, all those who believe they serve. What do you serve? Consumerism? The Financial/Corporate/Military State? “State’s rights” in an age when all States are pitted against each other, in the courting of corporate entities that excel at transforming the resources of the earth into poison and garbage, depressing wages, expanding costs, centralizing wealth? Perhaps you serve the money managers, who are the power behind all war, the secret power of every State. You serve yourself and your family to what end, in a world so ravaged by self-interest?
Perhaps this Memorial Day might be better served by imagining the earth, when it gave abundantly. When every human born was cherished as a necessary and sacred part. When every part, every aspect, was known to be part of a whole.