Forum / Matt Paust doesn't wanna work.

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    Smiley McGrouchpants
    Oct 03, 08:44pm

    .

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    Mathew Paust
    Oct 09, 12:00am

    I don't know anybody who wantsta work, Grouchy. Do you?

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    Chris Okum
    Oct 09, 05:57pm

    I certainly don't. I hate - HATE - my fucking job. Been sitting in this chair for over 15 years, doing the same thing day after day after day after day. What a waste of a life. I tell my kids: find a job you want, or else a job will find you, and the odds are that you won't want it.

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    David Ackley
    Oct 09, 07:27pm

    Congratulations, Chris. At least you're sensible enough to hate it and not let it kill all feeling. Pity the poor bastards who let their jobs become their life and find retirement leaves them empty of all purpose, and it turns out, of self.

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    Chris Okum
    Oct 09, 07:38pm

    I won't let my job become my life, which is why I'm not very good at my job. Much to my supervisor's consternation. I do my job just well enough to keep it. I'm an underachiever.

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    Mathew Paust
    Oct 09, 10:03pm

    I watch the parade of cars and trucks speed by my apt. every morning going one way, and back again late afternoon. For a while I had the impression everyone in this frantic scramble hated the jobs they were rushing to, and probly most of them do. I imagine them putting on their work face as they careen down the highway, and then peeling it off as they head for home. I live on Social Security, which many Facebook friends whine has them on the ropes staring poverty eye to eye. Other than the incremental physical disintegration that comes with aging, I am happier now in retirement than I can remember ever having been employed.

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    Chris Okum
    Oct 09, 10:08pm

    Entropy is a motherfucker, Mat. Couldn't agree more.

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    Mathew Paust
    Oct 09, 10:52pm

    Yet the concept seems to energize some writers, altho we haven't heard from Pynchon in a while. At least I haven't.

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    Chris Okum
    Oct 09, 10:58pm

    Pynchon's toast, Mat. Entropy finally proved him right.

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    Mathew Paust
    Oct 09, 11:13pm

    Ya think? I keep hoping, way back in my chest of implausible hopes, he's got one last brilliant, big-ass, gobsmacking blast to give us. Shit, he's only 82!

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    Chris Okum
    Oct 09, 11:34pm

    I would hold out my hopes for DeLillo instead of Pynchon. DeLillo's got a late-style thing going on that is incredible. Pynchon's always shooting for the moon, and DeLillo just keeps churning out these slim, 200 page novels that are simply like nothing else ever written by an American. You read Omega Point or Zero K? Phenomenal.

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    Mathew Paust
    Oct 10, 12:08am

    Have not read a single word of DeLillo's. Have for some reason, probly pathological, avoided him like jock itch. I did read Franzen, and was unkind to him in my review (letting Michiko Kakutani do the heavy lifting, of course), so maybe it was the proximity of DeLillo's rise with Franzen's that poisoned the well. Similar reason, I suspect, for avoiding Wallace, altho I did read an overlong, overwritten takedown he did for Esquire about a week on a cruise ship. Struck me as Gonzo without the insouciance. Then again, maybe I'm just warped with age.

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    Chris Okum
    Oct 10, 12:26am

    If you've avoided DeLillo for this long no need for you to catch up now.

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    Mathew Paust
    Oct 10, 06:08pm

    Reverse psychology! Where should I start?

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    Chris Okum
    Oct 10, 06:25pm

    Start with Mao II. Or Libra.

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    Mathew Paust
    Oct 10, 10:44pm

    Thanks

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    James Lloyd Davis
    Oct 17, 10:21pm

    I had the best job in the world, building ships... pr like the old Miller commercial, "Carving a ship out of a mountain of steel..." I would have been happy to spend the rest of my life building ships, but the Koreans, the Japanese, the Chinese... hell, even the Germans work cheaper than we do, so the shipyards in the USA kind of went bust, so... there it is.

    DeLillo is the king.

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    David Ackley
    Oct 18, 09:10pm

    It's interesting, not to say telling, I think, that there isn't a lot of good writing in any form in this country about work, especially about the industrial work that James Lloyd Davis did. As Faulkner noted it's the only thing that you can do for eight hours a day, so you'd think it would be a subject if only for hatred and calumny. Anybody ever read Harvey Swados? He's one of the few that took it up to decent effect. Studs Terkel tried the oral history route with some success, but I don't know if you could quite qualify that as writing since it lacks any critical stance and is more like recording. There might be reasons, but the ones I can hypothesize sound like excuses and work's absence from representation in American Fiction is finally puzzling.

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    David Ackley
    Oct 18, 09:13pm

    I might except, especially in showing what could be done, the paintworks section of INVISIBLE MAN, which is illuminating and rich with the contradictions the subject could offer up.

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    Chris Okum
    Oct 18, 11:08pm

    I think Melville - with Bartelby - gave us the first and last word regarding work. At least for me, he did, and it's because he was forced through circumstance to do something he was not fit to do, and which went against every fiber of his being. The man who wrote Moby Dick and The Confidence Man and Pierre,; or, The Ambiguities should not have been working in an office for a living. It must have killed him on a daily basis. That he was eventually rediscovered and is now widely considered one of - if not the - greatest writers in America's history is cold comfort. He died believing he was a failure. He died believing he was nothing more than a working schlub. "I'd prefer not to" is written on the whiteboard over my desk here at work.

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    David Ackley
    Oct 19, 02:05pm

    I agree with you completely about Bartleby which had the same effect on me every time I read it, and the main reason why I kept re-assigning it.
    If it were the last word, which it may well be, you have to ask yourself how anyone could keep working after it? The answer is of course that except for the wealthy there's no alternative. Thus the term "wage slave," which, for whatever consolation it is, describes just about everybody.

    But I think your description of how Melville allegorized his own sometimes miserable condition is exactly right, and founds his passion and eloquence in his own experience. Not only in the misery of his stifling confinement in the customs house and its bureacratic imperatives, but before that in what Peter Linebaugh calls the "proletariat of the seas," the laboring seamen on merchant ships, the navy, whalers etc.

    " I prefer not to," can be construed as a great socially muted outcry of the revolution of refusal. I try to imagine a world where everyone all at once, having had enough, put down their implements, folded their arms and said,"I prefer not to." I take it you've seen "Office Space."

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