Everyday Corporate America



I ask myself the same question everyday. Why are you doing this? Why spend your day in a little corporate cubicle like a cancer-study rat, writing your one line emails to co-workers and ordering CD’s from amazon.com? Why pretend you’re civilized? Why follow corporate protocol when you know it’s one step away from cult status?

I don’t have a great answers to those questions. That’s why I keep asking them. They’re like canker sores I can’t stop touching. But for some reason, I’m not totally unhappy with my life. I’m surviving. Sometimes I even forget I’m a cancer-study rat.

It has something to do with my 25-step ritual:
1. Wake up early
2. Drink some coffee
3. Take a shower
4. Shave
5. Iron one of three white oxfords given to me as a gift from Christmas from my dad. His attempt at preparing me for the starchy-shirt world.
6. If I’m lucky, eat a muffin (if not, I drink some “juice”)
7. Walk to the #1 local subway station
8. Fight with Chinese Grandmas who expect to sit down when I steal their seats
9. Fight with Chinese Grandmas who expect to sit down when I exit
10. Walk to 1200 4th avenue
11. Wait for the “35-55” elevator
12. Hum uncomfortably inside the elevator, pretend I’m not thinking of Robert Coover for fifty-five floors
13. Say good morning to all the stupid fuckers I work with as I enter my office (i.e. my cubicle with benefits)
14. Shuffle, bend, fold and randomly mark paperwork without actually reading any of it
15. Look up baseball stats, Russian Transvestite porn, dirtygurlz.com, laundrymat addresses and google the word “lint” before checking my account for Louis Farrakhan emails
16. Take a cigarette break (I don’t smoke, but it’s ten minutes and I’ll take it)
17. Send business faxes to my home, or to non-existent fax numbers, sometimes, for the hell of it, to my Dad’s office, who gets really confused
18. Doodle on a notepad, masquerading my grocery list as a supply list
19. Eat vending machine snacks (the Fritolays are the best deal but have the least taste—a classic junkfood conundrum)
20. Go to the bathroom and beat off
21. Go back to the rubic’s cube (aka my personal corporate office cubicle).
22. Shuffle more papers, fax my grocery list to my home fax, and then to my Dad
23. Make some phone calls, preferably to psychic hotlines without time limits
24. Email some coworkers about the stack of papers I haven’t read yet
25. Voilà, it’s time for lunch already

Sure this lifestyle gets old pretty quickly. And sure, I have my ambitions like every other college-educated entry-level corporate sellout here. But I have secret hobbies. And they keep sane.
For one thing, I love watching female mud wrestling. There’s nothing more beautiful than angry white trash babes in bikinis slopping around in a big pit of mud to the sound of “The William Tell Overture.” Makes you feel like you’re in a Benny Hill clip.

Another thing, I wear a garter belt and panties underneath my wool trousers. I don’t know why, something about it just feels right. It must be the lace rubbing against my stomach and dimpled buttocks. Maybe it’s the delicious feeling I get that I’m a lady in a suit, a white collar worker making covert, illegal and important business transactions in a hot boysenberry thong. Everyone here thinks I’m Marty the Baseball fanatic, Marty the lonely alcoholic, Marty the ex Marine, the meathead, the man’s man. If they only knew.

Still another hobby hidden in my sleeve is my love of urine. I drink it. Willingly. I know that might sound gross at first. But it’s not what you’d think. Urine is simply what happens to water when it’s lived a little. We’re so used to pristine water that we forget that purity is not a color, it’s a concept. And as far as urine is concerned, it’s far wiser than a glass of Evian. Its color reflects its experiences the way wrinkles display our age. It’s kinda tangy too, if you eat enough processed sugar, that is. It’s also heavily fortified. Metabolic waste? Oh, that’s just a technical title.

The only problem with slogging down the piss is that it’s tricky trying to slip a new glass past my colleagues. I love apple juice, I tell my colleauges, but no one seems convinced. I fear it has something to do with the fact that I always bring my own piss in this big Crate and Barrel glass, Saran Wrap covering the top with a rubber band. Another problem is that the glass is always a little warm too. I like my A.J. heated, I’d tell them before, but now they don’t listen to me when I ramble on about that. For all I know, everyone thinks A.J.’s the guy who pissed in my large Crate and Barrel glass. We all get along well enough, just the piss-in-a-glass thing that dampens the mood.

Someone will be telling a funny story, and the instant I bring out the good ole’ jug’o’pee, everyone stops talking. They just stare at me, right when I’m about to get my first taste. To say the least, it’s a little frustrating. Occasionally, I even have to play along, and pretend it’s apple juice. I’ll pretend to spill my drink (remember this trick, it will come in handy later). Damn, I’ll say, I guess I have to buy another apple juice from one of the park vendors, I shout out loud so they can hear me. The hard part isn’t the acting though. The hard part is that I have to drink apple juice afterwards. And it tastes terrible.
But every one of these little secrets pale in comparison to my greatest extracurricular activity. Without a doubt, the most important “secret” hobby of mine also happens to be the one I’m most passionate about. You see, I am a lint artist.

Sure, most people just throw away their dryer lint. But I actually do something artistic out of it. I create multicolor landscapes out of your Jockey’s. I’ve recreated the Sistine chapel, made several world atlases and constructed 1,000’s of impressionistic landscapes from my girlfriends’ Underoos. I even sent Minister Farrakhan a portrait of Malcolm X I did from black and white tube socks. Needless to say I never got a response from him. I guess he hasn’t forgiven Malcolm yet.
If you’re wondering why I date women and not costume designers (which I have by the way, and they wear nothing but black half the time), I’ll tell you. Women have the most colorful laundry. Hence, they make the best colors for my master works of art. That’s why I always pick the ones in bright pastels—it means they’re in touch with their inner bitch, they might consider mud wrestling with me and I can’t wait to do their laundry either.

They don’t have to know that my lust for them has more to do with their Laura Ashley pink grapefruit dress than what’s underneath it, but I make up for that with the enormous size of my penis (inflated with collagen for enormous woodies that rival hummers in size and mobility). As we lie there on the bed afterwards, holding each other, secretly I’m planning a way to spill something on my shirt so I’ll be forced to do laundry. And while I’m at it, why not throw some of your stuff in too, honey? I’ll suggest matter-of-factly. Ah yes, that trick again.

But in the end, my little secret genius doesn’t hurt my girlfriends. Actually it’s the topic of wine parties and chat rooms. “Did you see Marty’s lint mural of the five senses above the fireplace?” Women love men who understand art. They love men who understand women. And all their laundry is always clean too. As for me, with each new girlfriend I get the thing I want more than anything: the right colors, the right medium, to express a talent only God, in his munificence, hands down to his worthiest and most hopeless martyrs. I am called to duty by a higher source. Yes, I have a weakness for mud, urinalysis cups and cross-dressing. But only dryers and belly-buttons can give me what I really need, only they understand my affliction for experimental art in this age of corporate censorship and instant pay-offs.










Jackson Bliss calls Chicago and Southern Cali home, though he’s spent a great deal of time traveling through Europe and Africa, getting a global education, so to speak. Now he’s at the University of Notre Dame, working on his MFA thesis—a novel that explores double lives, the parameters of public art, flash mobs and multi-ethnic identities. Jackson has published work in The Bend, The Oberlin Review, The Voice, Right Hand Pointing and 3am Magazine. In his rare moments of free time, Jackson likes to volunteer, play the piano in the dark, speak French, dance to good hip-hop, ride the El for hours listening to his iPod, people watching and loitering at his favorite Thai restaurant in Chicago with his crew. Sometimes, he likes to sit and just let everything pass by.













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