Still Alive


To the disappointment and/or indifference of nearly a hundred percent of the human race, I haven’t hung myself. I’ve merely been very busy reaping the reward of a youth pissed away in dedication to the literary arts: I’ve been studying night and day to pass the training exams at a corporate restaurant, where decisions regarding my progress toward the right to wear a baseball cap and be tip-stiffed by subnormals who can’t properly read a menu are routinely made by people who are a. ten years my junior, and b. invariably more drunk from the night before than I am.

Yeah, last night I was held back a training stage (which means losing 4-5 days’ work, and probably being stuck with lousy shifts till I “prove myself,” i.e. forever) for hitting two incorrect buttons on a touch screen. I wanted to grab my youthful trainer’s collar and scream, “YOU WRITE A COMIC NOVEL THEN! GO ON! WRITE A FUCKING COMIC NOVEL IF I’M SO GODDAMNED INFERIOR!” But I couldn’t really grab his collar, since he was wearing a t-shirt, so I pretended to be a good sport. And to ignore the fact that the shift had kicked off with a lecture on how there was too much server error being committed by people who were already full servers. No punishment, mind you. No loss of income or status. But forĀ newbies (even when I’m not one, I detest and want to kill people who use that word), there’s no quarter. Typical humans: once you’re in, you’re in. If you aren’t inside the circle yet, show any weakness andĀ we will tear your throat out.

(Ah, well. At least, once I’m finished with training hell, I will be able to GO HOME ON MY OWN TIME AND DO WHAT I WANT. Fuck you, academia, fuck you still. I guess I’m not really mad at the young trainer; I’m still enraged by my former employer. I shouldn’t be starting over at this point in my life. The years these kids are giving to perfecting their table-waiting skills, I pissed away at a “liberal” newspaper where promotions and permanent careers as a journalist were only ever a real possibility for those to the manor born. So fuck you too, journalism; fuck you harder. I want to be the real thing anyway, not a professional cocktail-partier with a tape recorder.)

(Funny: up ’til this humiliation, I had been feeling the fine sensation of being back in the polis with all my heart. I hope the anger dies quickly. It was nice to feel well for a little while.)

Anyway. I’m working on a pair of articles on a 2005 Philip Larkin biography for FISTAGBLOG, but paying gigs take precedence at the moment: see the tale of my first day in retraining for the restaurant industry here.

Philip won’t disappoint you, the poor dead humiliated antinatalist bastard. If I ever catch up on my day humiliations. The trick is to pretend you’re watching a movie. The more stupid shit that happens to you, the funnier the movie becomes, yes? Ha ha.

Read Next: Ethics, Shmetics: This is Why I’m Not Going to Finish Grad School


  1. bronstein72

    Ms. Sterzinger,
    Your restraint is admirable.
    From what I can tell, the 21st-century economy of this lonely planet purports to be merit-based, or smartness-based, and then you get slapped down for not being enough of a MONKEY. No offense against monkeys, um, ahh, skip it.
    MOre to the point. Fuck the manner, and fuck the manor, and fuck the bonus.
    Just today, Fat Guy tried to get Jack Bronstein to determine, for the sake of everyone who cares, whether B Obama, who kind of BOUGHT the Presidency, is "better" than J Kennedy, who kind of STOLE the Presidency.
    But I digress.
    Congrats on the jobs.
    –Mr. Nemtusak the younger
    P.S. it's a better movie than "The Bush/Cheney years." So far.

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