Commonplace

“He was face to face with the true meaning of work, hadibut.  As in, had he but realized.  Work was invented to take care of drudgery, hadibut.  It wasn’t that work was drudgery, like everybody thought.  No, life was the drudgery: there was a certain irreducible majority of time that was going to be sheer hellish drudgery, doowaddy.  As in do what he would.  God himself hadn’t been able to weed it out, doowaddy.  Heaven was just earth without the kapok.  Heaven was Eternal, but only for a few hours.  Then it was over, God’s day off was over, and here was the shitpile of creation again, earth again, time to start over, Day One: Work.

    “Work was invented to channel drudgery, to put all the shit in the same place and keep it away from the fun stuff.  To give us something tangible to blame the boredom on.  That’s why the people you work with are idiots and shitheads, so you can go home and live with nice people.  Though a lot of people don’t understand the principle and so live with idiots and shitheads at home, too.

    “People who don’t work run the risk of having disorder run rampant and flood over its levees and stink up their whole lives.  That was Roger’s situation exactly.

    “Or maybe not exactly.  Maybe there was one other element, one thing more that work took care of that Roger was missing.  You could take a more positive view of work.  You could say that work is what connects us to the rest of the world.  Because work is the way we marry the world, pretty much.  For better or worse, work is most of how we enter the earth aside from our families.  And a novelist who doesn’t have work, whose time is his own to spend as he wishes—why he or she may find his or her writing getting more and more ingrown, less and less connected to how most people spend most of their time.”

—Jack Butler, Jujitsu for Christ (1986)

About Walter Biggins

Walter Biggins is a writer based in Athens, GA. His work has been published in RogerEbert.com, Bookslut, The Comics Journal, Salon, The Baseball Chronicle, Jackson Free Press, and Valley Voices: A Literary Review. Follow him on Twitter (@walter_biggins), and check out his bimonthly newsletter (https://tinyletter.com/Walter_Biggins).
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One Response to Commonplace

  1. La Bella says:

    i second that emotion.
    how appropriate. must borrow the book after you get finished! you laugh regularly as you read.
    after that passage, i’m convinced i need to find out why!

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