Mickey Z. — World News Trust
October 10, 2021
“Boredom is the conviction that you can't change the shriek of unused capacities.” (Saul Bellow)
A couple of years ago, while riding the Q101 bus during the morning rush hour, I found it interesting and kinda fun to watch the driver interact with his regular passengers. For many urban dwellers, this is the closest we come to experiencing community. However, one exchange really stood out. A weary man, maybe in his mid-60s, labored his way up the steps and onto the bus. The driver remarked with a chuckle: “Two more days.” These simple words seemed to make the tired man — along with a few other worn-out commuters — nod and smile with hope.
You see, it was Wednesday and these folks were essentially wishing away the next 48 hours of their meager time on earth so they could have permission to do what they “really” want to do on “the weekend.” As for what they do with such “free” time, I’ll get to that in a moment. Let’s first consider how intensely and relentlessly we’re all conditioned.
“That’s life” and “You can’t win ‘em all” and “Take the good with the bad” and “Hey, it could always be worse” — we endlessly settle for less pain instead of demanding more pleasure. “It’s always been like this,” I’m told, ad nauseam. “You can’t fight City Hall” and “Besides, it’s never gonna change.”
After a while, if you’re not vigilant, it all starts to sink in and far too many of us willingly embrace mediocrity — even boredom — while ignoring or endorsing avoidable atrocities. Our humanity and our capacity for critical thought are relentlessly pounded out of us. No wonder it’s so damn easy to not only get us to buy into this culture… but also to convince us to defend it with our very lives.
As the Situationists used to say: “The real state secret is the misery of everyday life.” Which brings me back to the concept of “free time.”
Before I was banned from gyms for practicing bodily sovereignty, I worked in a variety of health clubs for much of my adult life. While exercise crazes and workout fashions came and went, one disturbing trend endured: Each and every day, I’d witness some of my fellow humans spending hours wandering the premises. Sure, they’d do some semblance of a half-assed workout but mostly, they’d talk or people watch or yak on their cell phones or drink coffee. Most frequently, however, they stare at one of the dozens of televisions that are an unavoidable presence in all health (sic) establishments.
I’d sometimes point out such a person to a co-worker or client. The most common reaction I’d get was: “Hey, they’ve got nothing better to do.” Combine this familiar outlook with the “two more days” concept I mentioned above and it’s pretty damn depressing. How many of us toil at unfulfilling jobs, wishing away the “work week” so we can have “free time” only to discover that we’ve got “nothing better to do”? Again, as the Situationists used to say: “The real state secret is the misery of everyday life.”
“One of the good things about everything being so fucked up — about the culture being so ubiquitously destructive — is that no matter where you look, no matter what your gifts, no matter where your heart lies, there’s good and desperately important work to be done.” (Derrick Jensen)
I’d like to remind those who regularly wish away “two more days” that during those 48 hours: There was always something better to do. There is NO reason to allow yourself to be so bored that sitting on your ass in a segregated gym watching Sportscenter highlights seems like an acceptable option. You may need me to tell you this right now but you certainly don’t need me (or anyone) to tell you what to do. Snap out of it, get busy, and make today count.
It’s time to reinvent everyday life — steal it back from corporate propagandists and reintroduce the joy of living. We can provoke dramatic changes simply by refusing to submit to the societal formula we’re presented with. Sometimes, all it takes is thoughtful introspection to liberate oneself from the seductive, profit-motivated web and move into the realm of freethinking and individuality.
Breaking away from the omnipresent corporate message of “work, consume, and obey authority without question” can be our way of challenging the status quo to create a society in which industrial pirates, murderous politicians, and vacuous celebrities are no longer the ideal we strive for. No longer should we allow Hollywood, Madison Avenue, the government, or Corporate America to define our needs. We know how we feel. Now it’s time to act on it.
Until the laws are changed or the power runs out, Mickey Z. can be found here. He is also the founder of Helping Homeless Women - NYC, offering direct relief to women on New York City streets. To help him grow this project, CLICK HERE and donate right now. And please spread the word!
(The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of World News Trust.)