Rendered Fat Content



Ugo Mulas: James Rosenquist, New York (1964)
"I inhabit a perfect market featuring infinite supply and no demand."

I have been gainfully unemployed for so long that I no longer remember the sensation of 'having a job.' I have my work, of course. Who doesn't? But an actual job? I might have become functionally unemployable. I do not know why. It just seems that at some point, there was no demand for whatever I did. Nobody ever said anything about it. No dissatisfied customer ever protested my performance. I was just no longer working. Not retired. Not laid off. Not so much out of work, but more like employment abandoned me, leaving me to pursue my own work. When a form asks for my employer, I write in 'Self,' though I'm not actually my employer. My work employs me, but not because it pays me for my time. My work employs me because it holds my attention. Maybe next time I encounter that question on a form, I'll fill in 'my work' and see what happens.

I took a survey this week and encountered all of my questionnaire pet peeves.
First of all, it was not clear to me why 'they' asked me to complete the survey. It's purpose wasn't clear. I knew the author and I thought that completing the form might be a nice thing to do for her. The survey asked after my race, gender, even what I identify as, using language I was unfamiliar with. I figured that I couldn't possibly be something I couldn't recognize. I tried to leave a blank response to one question, but the survey design wouldn't allow that. I understand that the survey designer wanted an answer to that question, but coercing a response when a respondent doesn't have an answer poisons the results. I responded 'other' to one question because I couldn't comprehend the choices given. A pop-up box asked me to clarify my response but I couldn't think of a word or short phrase to describe what I thought she wanted. At the end, the survey asked me to identify myself, so I did, though I suspect that by doing that I'll probably look like an incomplete idiot to my friend who designed the survey. I almost never agree to take surveys because they always turn out this way. I understand that surveys are a primary means for coming to know something, but the data they produce seems tainted by how surveys ask questions.

For being unemployable, I'm remarkably productive. I'm always up to something, often more than one thing, and I'm usually producing something. I don't take days off, though I do occasionally experience an
OffDay. I feel as though I'm a surprisingly dedicated unemployable. I am not a Hard Worker, though, and this feels sinful. The ideal citizen is a hard working one, one who sacrifices his time to support his family, is underpaid but still dedicated. He's grateful to even have a job. He might or might not have a career. He is treated like a child by his employer. He's told what to do and he does that. Sometimes he tells others what to do and he gets paid for that. He saves the money he's paid for his future. One day, he hopes to retire and become unemployed, perhaps unemployable. He might imagine that unemployable will prove to be more enjoyable than working, but he'll still be working then. There is no not working, only work, some pays, some doesn't.

I have been thinking about publishing again. The notion keeps returning. If I was able to publish my work, would I be employed? The huge challenge for me has always been the survey, for publishers always have a questionnaire they expect prospective authors to fill out. Like with all surveys, some of the questions seem fundamentally unanswerable. Some seem presumptuous. Who did you write this work for? Well, for myself, of course. It represented my work. Does that response make me sound self-obsessed? What other works most resembles yours? That's unanswerable because it presumes infinite knowledge. How would anyone truthfully respond to that kind of question? I inhabit a perfect market featuring infinite supply and no demand. Such a market is perpetually satisfied. It needs no product, it just receives it. It pays nothing for the product it never demanded. It deals exclusively in free goods, freely traded, freely supplied, freely given, freely taken. It adds nothing to the GDP. It seems like it's already Woiken' to me.


And with that curious ramble, the final Friday of this summer arrives. This summer of HomeMaking will next shift into something different. I do not yet know what. I took a tumble yesterday while working in my Pop-up Paint Shoppe. I tripped over a bucket I hadn't noticed and went sprawling onto one knee, my palms, and my cheek, knocking off my glasses and leaving road rash. I felt like an acolyte whacked my his master to demonstrate enlightenment. I usually live allegorically, but it seemed as though The Gods might have found a less dramatic way to remind me that Fall's coming, that this long and productive Summer's finally ending. I thought, as I picked myself up and surveyed the damage, that this is how eras end. Older folks break a hip. It's always an accident. Not all prove recoverable.

I began my writing week contrasting how I approach work with how our painter and finish carpenter approach theirs in
UnderDoing. "I consequently learned how to exhaust myself and finish feeling as though I had not contributed quite enough."

I spoke of eras ending as I reported on a season-ending
FirstRain. "Eras represent cruising speed conditions, where we might experience optimums. They never last forever."

I made a public admission that I feel afraid almost all the time in
'FraidSo. "Courage might be practiced like art making and HomeMaking, with fear inside the armor and not left behind. Us HomeMakers and dragon slayers acknowledge our fears and engage anyway."

I catalogued my emerging technique for refurbishing doors in
Dooring. "As with all subjects of higher learning, the above description fails to describe anything important about Dooring. Dooring's a relationship, not a technique or an insight."

My most popular posting of this period caught The Muse and I refusing to act our age, clambering up
MonkeyBars and walking a plank. "We relish every opportunity to act in ways that proper comportment might consider foolish."

I reported about an experience where my flooring supplier resorted to The Two Week Ploy in
CodeTalkin'. "Project People live in a world of essentially causeless effects which must interact with worlds which presume the presence of a Newtonian cause for every observed effect, one where anyone unable to provide crisp explanations seems at least untrustworthy and hopefully indictable."

I watched my mind wander off while I was prepping another door front for painting and decided to write about
Mindering. "It might be that we all need the head space to engage in apparently mindless Mindering or we fall ill with distraction-borne conditions. Perhaps depression or Republicanism results from failing to hear our own stories spoken to us in our own still, small voices."

And so this summer ends, or almost does. I suspect that I will remember this time as an era once its past. I will warmly recall how you tuned in and followed while I attempted a Grand Refurbishment, HomeMaking or something very much like it. Are we home yet? Thanks for watching!

©2021 by David A. Schmaltz - all rights reserved

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