So coffee nation was sparsely attended this morning due to the dreaded plague of JOBS, a new syndrome that is breaking up all sorts of unproductive groupings of aimless men who cling like plaque onto the arteries of our post industrial society. Fortunately the few, the humble, and the marginally employed remain to push the tip of the spear back into the belly of the machine beast. It’s time to face facts: full employment threatens the very platform of the coffee nation. Full employment would take our Rockstar Wannabe off the corner chair and launch him on the road to fame and profit. And we would be left with an empty chair and a tube of sunblock, his old cabbie hat, and maybe some scratched up germy sunglasses, raptured by full employment. Just another statistic. Why? Our loss can’t be weighed against the gain of countless nursing home residents who will rhythmlessly nod along to his alternative rock songs. His brand of sit-down comedy will be wasted on folks who retired from real work. They won’t get the nuances of his pauses and set ups like when he plays to a sophisticated audience of truly purposeless folks such as the Summit Nationhood. It’s a thing of tragic beauty when he reads the libretto to a song in search of a melody. The song runs about 2 minutes 33 seconds, but Mark’s intro to it can last 40 minutes. It’s genius, really. By the time he launches the song, the audience is so exasperated with the intro that any follow up tune must be mesmerizing. After each show when he says, “I killed them”, it will be a literal fact.
And the new guy, Gary. He’s just begun to taste the intoxicating liquor of pointless dialogue and the hypnotic hollowness of empty time spent trapped in a dimly lit but fully caffeinated back room. I worry that he is going to go out and find meaning and/or purpose and then we’ll never see him again. Like the Silver Back, Tim. Once he got back in the world of JOBS, he was lost to the Brotherhood of Navel Exploration and our important research. “How many coffee beans can you push into your navel without one popping back out? Can roasted coffee beans be used as deodorant and possibly for birth control?” These are the critical questions that Coffee Nation is investigating with the speed of a bowling ball in mud and the laser focus of a snake shedding its skin. Is Gary going out next? I shudder to think of yet another empty speechless chair at the round table. He seems to have a grasp of the slippery concept that is the Nation. That awful decision is his alone to make. (Drum roll, please. Cue up The Who, “Who Are You?”)
If he has to go out, perhaps he can go with Mark (Don’t call me Jagger) and get the residents up on treadmills and step machines in sync with Mark’s thrashing surf rock licks. I believe there is precedent in the New Testament where Paul went out with a helper named Mark, Jon Mark, but that did not end well nor did it end in a nursing home. Anyway, Gary could be the Encourager and the Manager and bill Medicare for each “concert” of rejuvenation. In fact, the entire Nation could lead a revival or “rejuven” in the original Latin, which translates, “to act like a juvenile”. Perhaps in our unemployed enthusiasmastic rage against the machine we can make a few bucks and join the likes of Kosmo Kramer in the pantheon of the Magnificent Marginals.
But wait, with the Egginator coming on line with his occupational therapy stuff, he could also lead finger dip exercises (Work it, Louise) and bill Medicare Part B for ancilliary services. Plus, he has a youthful credibility that the rest of us lack. What I mean is that the rest of us look shady. Steve can run billing and fabricate invoices. I can procure contracts and contract procurements under separate funding streams. DJ will cover security. Chuck can provide horse therapy services and pony rides for the grandkids. We will be a wonderful symphony of industriousness! No, wait. What am I doing? I almost hopped on the rat wheel of do, do, more, more. Blog reader, why didn’t you stop me earlier as I reached for that third rail of employment? I narrowly averted a calamity of calamarious proportions.