The Army of Losers

That’s a song. From Die Toten Hosen (The Dead Pants, a German punk band). A song about losers, about the fight against time. It’s a leftist song, about the fight against the “Fließband”. Against Ford. “Fließband”, what is that? The assembly line, the ultimate inhumanity. I thank Christ I never had to work on an assembly line.
On the other hand, my first job was as a baker in an organic bakery, with cool people and a loose atmosphere, but even there we were trying to make a sort of assembly line. We tried as best we could to make things efficient, make the beautiful, eatable things we produced (and they were delicious, I can assure you), as best we could. In the end it was about making money, but making money with somethng useful.
So that’s the thing, making money by producing things that other people need and want. That’s all well and good, and there’s nothing wrong with making those processes as efficient as they can possibly be. We wanted to produce what we made in the best way possible. Sure, it was about profit too, oh yeah, that’s the zest, that’s what makes it interesting.
The problem is when people who don’t care about making things that people need or want take control of these processes, people who are not interested in anything except their own profit. They don’t care about quality, they don’t care about use, they don’t care about anything except profit. They will fuck you in the ass if they can, and if they can’t, they’ll send their henchman to beat the living shit out of you. And if that doesn’t work, or if you’re in a country where the government acts like they don’t want that shit, they’ll send their lawyers to do it for them. How is an average person to deal with that? Well, honestly, they can’t, and that is why this society can not go on in its present form. There is no way that this system can go on. It can exist in a certain atmosphere for a certain time, but it is not truly viable.
The question is, how is the army of losers going to react? They will react, you can be sure of that. At some point the pressure will become to high, and they will react. Put pressure on things and they will explode at some point, that’s simple physics. It applies to society the same as it applies to material. Well, you might say, Hellstrøm, you jerk, you’re wrong. Society is not physics. Ooha. Well, I can simply laugh at that.
Why? Because society is physics. Society is algorithms, isn’t it? That’s what they are telling us these days. It’s all math. Yeah, baby, statistics, I can tell you what you will probably do. In all likelihood you will. You can’t help it. You’re on the assembly line of life, and you will do what is expected of you.
But, and any statistical expert will confirm this, there are statistical swings. It’s not all about the middle line. Every honest statistic should take that in to account, but they don’t. They’re all on the middle line, betting on it, the stupid motherfuckers, hoping for it, even though they know it isn’t true. Gamblers. It’s the human condition, we’re all gamblers.
We all know what happens to gamblers. They win, or they lose. But these gamblers are betting with our whole society. I’ll leave it to you to think about the consequences.
Yeah, flaming trees line the streets. Singing the Higgs-Boson blues. The army of losers are lining those streets too. They are probably (seen statistically) the ones who set the trees an fire. Totally surprising! No algorithm predicted it.
Don’t cry just because we’re in for interesting times. That’s life. Ah well, wotthehell, cry if you must, then at least Cry Tough, from Alton Ellis & The Flames.
Happy New Year.

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Thank God for Reason

Did you ever have the feeling you would choke on the poignancy of it all? Like your life is so fucking full of meaning and emotion and you want to rip the hair from your skull because you just can’t take it? And the only thing that prevents you from doing so is your cursed reason? Thank God for it, because otherwise everyone would ask you, next day at work, what the hell happened to your head. And no one will believe you when you say it got caught in a harvest-machine.
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Shadows . . .

. . . as if the shadows themselves where concrete, and threw shadows of their own, a multiplicity of shadows that threaten to crowd my mind in to insanity. So, if I whine in my sleep and you see my legs moving, you know now what I am dreaming of. I’m not a dog chasing a fox . . . The fox is chasing me, it’s a huge, unholy shadow with fangs the size of daggers. I haven’t the guts to face it, though I know that if I turn around it will simply fade away. It’s my own damned shadow I’m running from. It’s me.
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Yikes!

I’m never going in to a natural shallow pool of water again. You’re thinking: what’s he got this time? What neurotic, crazy idea has presented itself to his addled mind, resulting in this silly resolution? It’s Humboldt, the crazy bastard, it’s the eels, man, electric fucking eels! They’re gonna get me! I’m not even goin’ near the edge, now that I know they can jump the fuck out if they want to. Shocking.
Thanks to Why Evolution is True for giving me real nightmares.
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The Power of a Child

All the hordes of promises you have made dance around you, needling you. Laughing you out. Though you consider yourself a man of your word, there is no way you can fulfill them all. Circumstances prevent you. That’s your bitter fate. The woman you loved above all, the woman you promised everything, in your heart, has turned away because you couldn’t fulfill them.
You’re ready to kill yourself. You even know how. It’s easy. Just go to the red light district, get the nearest whore, allow yourself to get connected to the pimp, who certainly knows someone who can sell you a pistol and ammunition. Costly, but worth it.
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A fucking gun. Your uncle, the gentlest man in the world you ever knew, taught you how to use them. He allowed you to load a 22-calibre rifle and do target practice with it; fourteen years young, you were. You saw him shoot a rattle-snake that was lying on the hood of his pickup with a pistol. Afterwards he took it apart, cleaned it, and put it back together. The pistol, not the snake. You barbecued the snake. So you know what you are about, you have a good memory. Why would I want to do this, you ask yourself, once again. Because life has no meaning for you anymore. Without that woman, it simply doesn’t matter.
You are drunk. You know you are drunk. You know that when you are drunk your feelings take the upper hand. But on the lower hand, in vino veritas, you say to yourself. Why shouldn’t you live what you feel? Or die what you feel.
And then, in the middle of the fucking night, as you sit on your balcony –smoking your second or maybe third to last cigarette, you think– a family passes by on the sidewalk below. The child in the buggy they are shoving before them is saying “papa”. Papa, papa, papa it sings, so happy, so innocent. You feel an instant glow in your heart.
So much for killing yourself, you romantic jerk, you reflect.
The power of a child.

The Right Choice

You know, I’ve made so many right choices in my life, and so many wrong, and in the end it hardly seemed to matter. Some of the very best choices I’ve made led to hell. It seemed like the right thing to do at the time, though. And there were times when I thought I was being foolish, irresponsible, maybe even just plain crazy, but I just couldn’t help myself, I had to do it… and in the end it led to wonderful things. And all of that, just the other way around.
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Christ, how am I to find my way like that? No fucking system, just probabilities, possibilities… it’s enough to drive a man insane. Especially a man like me, an organized, systematic type who sees flaws in the system and wants to correct them. Correct it, for Christ’s sake, make it whole, make it make sense. As if I could correct the vagaries of life, as if life was a bloody fucking workflow. As if I could force it to be like it should.
Perhaps all that is normal, and most people just accept it and go on without a further thought. No pattern, no system, inherently flawed. Perhaps I am a stupid sick fuck because I think about it. Nevertheless I am still trying to understand it all.
It’s as if I had heard of the perfect poem in which lie all the answers I’ve been looking for. I’d always known that this poem must exist, and I climbed the hermit’s mountain to read it, only to find that some asshole has killed him and torn it to pieces. There they lie, flecked with blood, and I frantically collect them as they blow away in the wind, crying the while, because this can’t possibly be… God, the injustice of it! Blowing away in the wind! No!
What’s left is a collection of gibberish. little bits of paper with one or two words on them. Even if I manage to piece some of them together, they are incomplete. Even if I spend my entire life on it, I will never be able to make sense of it. I sit here, moving the pieces around, combining, rearranging, again and again, trying to find the right way, until I feel like dashing my head against the wall.
And all the while I have the sneaking suspicion that I am on a fool’s errand. That bastard inner voice is telling me that the man who killed the hermit was on the same mission as I am. Another crazy idiot looking for the answer. I just know that the hermit told him there is none. I just know that is why he killed him and tore it all to pieces, and that, in the end, the laugh is on me.
Gimme a drink.

Some Days Are Like That

The teenage years are long gone, but nevertheless your girlfriend, the woman you love above all, tells you is she ending the relationship by sending you an SMS to that effect. Nothing personal, right?
Then, crying, before you even have the chance to get miserably drunk, you spill your first glass of wine in a simple mishap, splashing it all over the table and wall. Of course, you are living in a furnished room, so neither the table nor the wall belong to you. You spend the next half an hour desperately trying to clean it up, thinking of the bill the landlord is going to present to you after he has had everything renovated. But of course there is no way to get red wine out of wallpaper, and it seems the table was never properly oiled… the stains will remain forever.
In the process of cleaning, or rather trying to clean, shortly before giving up, you tear a fingernail off on the corner of the table. You watch the blood oozing out, cursing in pain –I can’t fucking believe this!– knowing for sure that the wound will infect itself in the next days no matter how well you take care of it.
Fuck it, you say too yourself, I’ve got to get out of here. You go down to find that some fool has parked so close to the car that you can’t get in. So you have to crawl in from the passenger side, so angry that your coordination is affected. First you step in the deep puddle there, soaking your foot completely, then you slip and bang your head on the gear stick, allowing a beautiful welt to blossom across your brow.
By now you are barely in control of your rage… you are so furious that you’ve almost forgotten the sorrow that is weighing your heart down like a ton of bricks. Almost. She… she…! With a sigh that lies somewhere between relief and deadly misery you settle down in to the driver’s seat at last.
After having missed gears a couple of times, causing horrible grinding noises that make passers-by look at you curiously –how embarrassing, as if you hadn’t been driving a stick-shift for the last twenty years, for Christ’s sake– you back out of the parking space somewhat abruptly, grazing the car parked next to you. Not the car that was parked too close, which you were conscientiously trying to avoid, but of course the car on the other side. And you’re driving the car of your ex-father-in-law, a cantankerous old fellow who will simply freak when he sees the scratches on his car, the car your ex-wife kindly allowed you to use without his knowledge while he is away on vacation… this thought is stopped abruptly by you grinding the car in to the big rock behind you, the one that is so hard to avoid because it is just a bit too low for you to see it in the rear and side mirrors. The one you’ve watched others crashing in to from your balcony time and again, laughing and swearing it will never happen to you. Unconsciously you are also cursing the circumstances which force you to rely on the kindness of your ex-wife.
Motherfucker! you scream, slamming your hands against the steering wheel again and again until the bandaid comes off and the blood from your finger drips on to your new pants, which had somehow remained unscathed up to this point. Startled, you jerk your hand to the side, causing little droplets of blood to spray all over the passenger seat.
It’s then that the landlord drives up in his Porsche convertible and parks in the spot you’ve just vacated, giving you a quizzical glance as he goes by. You’re reluctantly thinking about getting out and telling him of your little mishap with the wine when your cell-phone buzzes again. It’s another SMS… And it serves you right, you lazy bastard! she writes.
You get the picture? Some days are like that.
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