John R. Hall
Sometime back about 25 years ago, my better half set up a single email account, for her use and mine, on a cyber-entity known as msn. As a matter of policy, I always counted on her to take care of any problems we had with the internet or the laptop, for it saved me from being fully forced into the twenty-first century and the computer age. Then a year ago, life dealt me a swift kick in the groin, and the lady who always took such good care of me breathed her last breath as she lay by my side. Like a fart in the breeze, a forty year long emotional/spiritual/physical relationship gone. As a result, and along with nearly losing my will to live another day, I'm now locked out of my email account because I can't come up with the password, my printer and computer are no longer on speaking terms, and, having no written record of email contacts, I've been forced to abandon my only connection to a worldwide circle of pen-pals and fellow cadres in the ongoing, uphill battle for truth and justice.
Desperate and distraught, I drove 250 miles roundtrip from Tucson to the Microsoft Store in Scottsdale, in an attempt to retrieve email@example.com. But in spite of presenting a death certificate and a weathered marriage license, there was apparently nothing that could be done. So, with the help of a pimple-faced adolescent Microsoft employee, my new email connection to the world is still on the inane cyber-entity known as msn. This Bill Gatesian creation called msn is loaded to overflowing with all the latest celebrity gossip, pseudo-political, left/right, demopublican intrigue, CIA-approved commie-bashing "news", and titillating, obscene, hardcore Wall Street and banking industry sales tactics. My laptop goes there automatically when I fire it up, always has, and I really don't know of any other way to access the internet and my email account.
Since I'm a dissident and proudly disobedient American citizen, and have no television or radio in the house to inform and indoctrinate, I generally wade swiftly through the shit pile of information which Bill Gates and U.S. intelligence agencies have determined we need to see, before accessing my email account. Mostly morbid curiosity compels me to take a look at what fills the minds of my neighbors here in the beast's belly. A couple months ago, as I casually scanned the latest riveting news about Kardashians, Aniston, Trump, Pelosi, Winfrey, JLo, Tiger, Rodman, and all the subhuman and evil commie activity in Russia, China, Iran, Syria, North Korea, Cuba, and Venezuela, I realized that I was being stalked and seduced by sexual predators. Sultry, seductive, glamorous young women tempting me to sell my soul for promise of a sweet taste of their youth, vitality, and deliciousness. Girl-women more alluring than any of my wildest dreams.
They were nearly all whitish-skinned, 19 or 20ish, blonde, brunette, or redheaded, and beautiful enough to make even a 71 year-old testosterone-deficient heterosexual man cry. Between their perfect white fingers they fondled atypical, titillating sex toys. Toys which would fit in no known human orifices, but which seemed to hold the key to the gates (Gates?) of heaven, if only I would succumb to their magnetic charms. They were the 72 virgin brides of capitalist martyrdom, and their promise of eternal blissful and multiple orgasms would come with a price.
But these harlots of the banking industry have been unable to break my iron will. Little do they know that I rode in their rodeo 35 years ago, and learned my lesson well. Credit card debt peonage is the glue that binds noses to the grindstone, keeping wage-slaves picking the cotton and tobacco, and shining 'ol massa's shoes. Succumbing to the seduction of Empire's virgin brides means wearing hip designer labels, owning the latest, biggest, best smartphone, flat screen, and SUV, and keeping up with the Joneses while losing the last vestiges of human freedom and dignity. When the clothes are out of style, the technology obsolete, and the SUV sits in the yard with a blown engine, the crippling debt remains, and workin' for the man has no conceivable end.
From their corporate cages all domesticated sentient beings await their turns to become martyrs to capitalism. Cows, pigs, sheep, turkeys, and chickens moo, oink, bleat, gobble, and cackle their way to the meat grinders. Credit card zombified humanoids, distracted beyond all hope by shiny objects and virgins fondling credit cards, spend like drunken sailors, then toil like slaves, under the threatening whip of bankruptcy, hunger, and homelessness, calloused hands digging their own early earthly graves.
"We now live in a nation where doctors destroy health, lawyers destroy justice, universities destroy knowledge, governments destroy freedom, the press destroys information, religion destroys morals, and our banks destroy the economy." says Chris Hedges. And the entire system has seemingly destroyed the ability of the whole population to imagine anything beyond their debt peonage. To imagine a world without the crippling confinement of borders and walls, and a world where government works for the common good rather than collective enslavement. To dream of street corners free of desperate legions of unwashed castaways holding cardboard signs. To envision a future other than inevitable capitalist martyrdom upon the Holy Alter of Wall Street.
"FURTHER", or at other times "FURTHUR" announced the destination sign on the front of Ken Kesey's day glow psychedelic bus, back more than a half century ago, as the Merry Pranksters opened more than a few minds in the hills of central California, and then across the nation. Kesey understood that lack of imagination was the common enemy of all mankind. That humans, like the livestock which sustained them, embraced their captivity, and dared not even dream of living any other way than under the supervision, protection, and care of the overlords of capitalism who would harvest their toil, then bury them. You're either on the bus or off the bus, Kesey and the Pranksters would say. It had little to do with the actual bus, and everything to do with a group consciousness that embraced the energy, freedom, and beauty inherent in every human being at birth, then extracted and destroyed by a system designed to convert their energy into a resource to be harvested.
Gotta go catch a bus. Goin' my way?