People Are Fed Up

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People these days are fed up. They are fed up with being pushed around, lied to by mediocre stuffed suits, and told to stand in a long line full of morons. They are fed up with the drudgery of their lives and the feudal bosses who tell them things like, “don’t pour that fudge into that sink” or “you were 210 minutes late,” or “I’m giving you a small raise.” In short, they are fed up.

You climb the corporate ladder for 5.5 grueling months, only to reach the vice presidency and then be taken out by a young upstart with chiseled good looks, a chiseled jawline, and a very expensive chisel. Who is this chisel man? How did he get here? And how can I stop him? You can’t stop him. He’s just that good.

If you can’t win the game, opt out. Tell the system that you won’t abide its “laws” and its “rules.” Rules are for prisoners, soldiers, rich business owners, and people who accomplish things by adopting sound work habits. Aka: Suckers!

Don’t be a sucker. Run into the nearest forest, without thought or preparation, and scream at the pine trees and the birds. Fight the nearest river; thrash it with your limbs. When hunger, cold, and sickness overtake you, opt out of these too. Tell hunger and sickness that you won’t “play that sick game” and that you won’t “be a party to this system.” Opt out.

When the park rangers drag your hypothermic body into an ambulance that you didn’t even request and can’t even pay for, ask, “who’s the sucker now?” Actually ask the park ranger that very question. Look deep into her big, park ranger brown eyes and ask, “Who’s the sucker, ranger Jill?” When she doesn’t answer, point out that’s it’s not a rhetorical question and ask, ask again.

If you don’t want to opt out, then you have only one other option: Change the rules. All your life, you’ve played The Man’s Chess Game. Well, you’re going to keep playing, but this time on your own terms. With your best innocent voice, say, “I have an idea, let’s play checkers, but instead of checkers pieces, I’ll let you have Battleships.” Your opponent will instantly agree because they are greedy and wants those battleships. But then, as soon as the game starts, you will turn the tables, physically, so that their battleships are now yours. Checkmate.

There’s a principle behind this all, whether you can see it or not: If you want to break free, you must be underhanded to the extreme. You must be willing to practice subterfuge, espionage, and tradecraft. To practice these things, you must first look these words up in an actual dictionary. You will find that subterfuge means “deceit,” espionage means “spying,” and tradecraft means “the techniques of espionage.” Fine, but what is deception, ultimately? It is just another word for chicanery. And this is what you must ultimately master: chicanery.

The master chicaner is the one who holds the keys in one hand and the cards in the other. The keys unlock the door to the puppeteer’s palace, and the cards are all kings and jokers. That is who you must become: the master chicaner, always palming a silver dagger in a velvet glove.

Through your chicanery, you will rise through the ranks of the powerful. A new world will open to you. Doors that were previously locked to you will be unbolted, then opened just a crack. It will be a sight to behold. Behind those doors, there will be millionaires, billionaires, and renowned sybarites, all drinking from rich chocolate fountains and relaxing on pillows made from the finest Persian fabrics.

You will rejoice. Then a horrifying thought will occur to you. “What about the poor?” you will ask. But then you will laugh and dismiss this thought. Then the real horrifying thought will come to you: How are you supposed to drink from these chocolate fountains without making a mess and staining your clothes? There are no utensils or napkins anywhere. Only then will you notice that these rich sybarites are gurgling from the chocolate fountains like beasts, staining their clothes and the fine Persian pillows. This can’t be! You will still be fed up.

You will notice another closed door, an even nicer closed door, one made from rich Brazilian mahogany. You will hammer it with your fists, cursing Zeus himself to deny you whatever milk and honey, and hopefully napkins, lie behind this new door. And when you open it, at last, you will find another flawed world—no good beverages in this one—and another closed door, and another world, and another closed door, and another world. All this travel, just to find pleasant company, a hot spread, and suitable napkins. And yet your door-opening abilities remain cursed by that Midas touch. It’s enough to make a person fed up.


Fed up guy pic courtesy of Gratisography.

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Written by

Alex Baia is a humor writer and contributor to McSweeney’s and Slackjaw. He lives in Austin, TX.