To Better the Bread
In a previous life I had been an oven salesman in Omaha spending my livid, blank days doling out shiny appliances and extended warranties to unsuspecting innocents who believed all their dreams would come true if they just had a beautiful new stove. But it wasn’t just stoves I sold. I peddled refrigerators, washers and dryers, microwaves, vacuums, dishwashers, and on and on and on. You get the picture. To sum it up in two words: Home Appliances.
And the customers weren’t all unsuspecting innocents, most of them were assholes who thought they knew more about appliances than I did. Fucking electrical conspiracy theorists, because you know, everything is a conspiracy. I did my best to take advantage of those fools and I was rewarded for it by the Prophets of Profit, the ones who ate bloodied birthday cakes in corporate board rooms with fancy tables and cushy chairs and big glass windows that looked out upon the steam and the pain of any American city.
But the masses, anyways. I could lump them all into one big… Lump. It’s ding-a-ling city everyday as I wait for them so elegantly on the highly polished tile floor of Snow White tattoos, her upper lip bruise, winter gown torn all asunder. There I am, taking my cool lean position against a $7,000 stainless-steel refrigerator that talks to you, makes your grocery list, and shows you pictures of your wife screwing the milkman when you’re out at work. You won’t need any milk today, Todd, that base has already been covered, and covered quite well… But you may need a fresh mop for the dirtiness that got spilled on the floor.
Ha. Back to the shopping, bopping zombies. The gullible pea pods consuming and consuming and consuming more. Petty transient beings filling their castles with multi-functional plastics and metals and glass so they can wake up every day, put a pot on the stove to boil some water and feel as if they had finally arrived at Shangri-La… And I brought it all to them. I was the deliverer of kind goods to make their lives simple and fulfilled. That was me. Dressed in crumbly, cheap pants and a sterile polo shirt with my name on a little plastic rectangle pinned to my breastplate; just another retail machine in a huge army of retail machines, the Profit Prayer Warriors, doing the dirty deeds of the corporate cyclopsos who looked down upon us from the mighty throne of the control room in the fortress of fortune knitting together greed and broken souls with pairs of very pointed and bloodied needles.
So yes, I sold ovens and other things in Omaha. That’s in Nebraska. Flat. Corn. Wrapped tightly around the finger of Mr. Mighty Capitalism and taking the bus home every night, breathing out the cold from my lungs I wondered why I was so miserable within the confines of my own existence. Wasn’t it obvious? I sold ovens and other things in Omaha.
I wasted my life on that shit, the precious time allotted to me on Earth, off and on for roughly seven years. In between I worked various odd jobs like cleaning buildings, or washing cars, or shoveling out driveways in the winter. As you can surely understand I grew weary of the lifestyle, and it became obvious to me that I needed a change and needed it quickly before I fell dead like a red wasp smacked with the thorny branch of a rose bush and then stepped on.
One night, in my basement apartment on the evil end of Omaha, I was studying a map of New Mexico. That’s in the United States. And you will probably find it hard to believe, but some people don’t know that. There’s a lot of idiots out there.
New Mexico, USA, the Land of Enchantment. I had been to the state before on mini-vacations and the place always struck me as so out of the norm. Almost un-American, but in a very good way. New Mexico, the land where you can breathe and stretch your wings and get lost for days on end without any sign of human scathings and scratchings. New Mexico. Wide open, blue, red, golden, big. New Mexico. A gaping gap of landscape chiseled by one of God’s angry, yet beautifully creative claws. I can smell the juniper now in the scent memories I have. The pinon, the pine, the dust, the cactus, the brackish water, that gut-wrenching sun like Halloween harvest mallow, the blazing white-hot eye of space god number one beating its flaming lashes down upon the hard, ruddy ground.
The topography of that wild place is so varied. Dips and hollows of ever-changing highs and lows. Hills and valleys. Forests and desolation. One big city and some historical markers, but mostly tiny villages where the ancestors of the land have carved out existences for hundreds of years. Generation to generation. The same land, the same way of life, but always with the threat of the new man encroaching ever further upon their homesteads all too willing to plop down another 20-gas-pump convenience store for the white wealthy zooming through in their hopped-up roadsters. Crawling like ants down from the big cities they come to spill over the beautiful wasteland, to spill out their green dough and suck up all the empty spaces just to fill those empty spaces with things that really do leave a person empty. Those Eartheaters of the Metropolis. Those bastards who carry credit cards in holsters and smile at you with their professionally polished teeth and wave the national urchins away from the side of their freshly waxed roving machines. Blah! No sensibility and no sense of history or genealogy or anthropology. Build more and build it big and the happy white roadsters will come to buy and buy and buy. Sell and smile little clerkie. Smile and sell.
I packed up my life, waved goodbye to the grinding ways of Omaha – and its headstrong appliance culture – and headed West, because like Jim Morrison said: The West is the best.