Guest Column: Melting Wax





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This is my resignation. I am forfeiting. No longer can I pretend to be able to predict and manage my future. I have acquiesced to the pressures of indeterminacy and success management. Instead I am banking on happenstance and accident. This way everything will be left a surprise.

I've never been paid more than $8.00 an hour in my entire life. How can I ever expect to be paid something that eventually adds up to $60,000 a year? Do I have any skills that are worth being paid for? No. So what can I expect? I guess I'll just have to pretend.

My father is a corporate lawyer. He does his job decently and is paid well for it. I guess that means he has a career.

In a short story Damon Knight laments the public's demand for false bravado and falsified self-confidence. In this Aesimov Fable, he makes literal a crowd's preference for an inauthentic swagger and gusto over the sensitively tepid and timid. Perhaps it is under this guise we go about demanding our six-figure salaries.

Not a single person I know has done anything with their post-collegiate lives. I think they all do something, maybe paperwork. Maybe court filing, or maybe data-entry. Who knows really?

All that I see is their exhaustion and their unwillingness to really consider anything beyond "What can I do now to forget about my job but at the same time won't prevent me from waking up at 6am to take the BART back to work in the morning?"

But perhaps these kids aren't the examples that I should be looking for. Certainly they aren't the success stories that Berkeley totes as the wonderful fulfilling careers people could be living in the rainbow world of post-graduation.

My best friend, a 2001 graduate, is currently living with his parents. He doesn't have a job. He is not trying to get a job. Instead, he spends his time working on theories to rationalize his paralysis. His "efforts" are currently absorbed by a concept in progress that asserts that he doesn't need to get up out of bed in the morning. I'm sure his argument will be at least well phrased, since he did major in rhetoric. The only problem is that he is too lazy to even commit the half-baked idea to paper.

I wish everyone I knew were super-successful. You know: producers, editors, curators, celebrities, bestsellers, architects, etc. I don't even so much care for my own success; as long as I had those contacts.

Instead, the networking I've done in college has produced a motley crew of crazies and underachievers reveling in the fact that they are unemployable and uninterested in the peanut-shells of pennies that the world has to offer.

The advertised icons of success are the visionaries, the geniuses, the gifted, the celebrity, and the Strokes. In other words, the talented Tenenbaums with their paradigm -shift-inspiring commercial revolutions are today's heroes. Unfortunately, the requirements for such success are arbitrary, "it-factors" bestowed upon those born under the Bright Star; nothing we ordinary boys can work for.

But who really cares about the work anyway since instead of the practice we are sold its effects. We focus on the fashion show strip tease parade. We sit stagnant waiting for the blessing, and with our idle hands cultivate only the dehabilitating symbols of the unbridled success. We pretend to be these selected few, and fetishize the star-studded accoutrements. We curate the etiquette of blasť that only the glamorous can afford.

Consequentially, the insubstantial are best at faking unaffected. Effectively propogating the retrospective poster child for this decadent age: the drowned Icarus who only fabricates the details of wings never made and the sun never seen.

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