Exploiting the proletariat via Marx’s era featured miners understanding death through a canary’s silence. A yellowed fowl dimming like sunlight glinting at their tunnel entry, another white light to follow, but in the illuminated backdrop of late stage capitalism everything shimmers artificially whether it’s the promises of credit and interest, or propaganda hung as bright as a fresh canary in a dark mine. We’re seeking the necessary combination of economic innovation to progress forward and generate a profit while attempting humane labor practices, however liberty is costly. To label myself a capitalist would be an elastic definition, a constant bounce of retorts stating, “No, no, no that’s not what the word means.” Thus to avoid confrontation I’ll state myself a quasi-communist (China eat your heart out). For whatever reason I’ve eked my way to upper management and to paraphrase Spider-Man with great power comes great responsibility. Most of the responsibilities are idiot proof. Bank deposits, disciplining employees, sales, yadda…yadda…but after my company decided to join the local Chamber of Commerce my responsibilities transformed. Suddenly I wasn’t a face behind a desk; I was a “young entrepreneur” representing our company to the local business community. To a quasi-communist this task tastes like vomit and rests in one’s stomach like rotten fruit; which might explain why when I attended my first Chamber meeting I found alcohol a necessary lubricant to ease the penetration of small talk into my cranium, standing in the reception hall felt like congregating outside the commons before school began. Cliques kept to their huddles gossiping about divorces, failed parenting tactics and the troubled teenagers that resulted and of course capitalist boasting about wallpaper and business cards. I cannot stress how important business cards are at these meetings; it’s like a Pokémon conference where everyone is high on meth trading Charizard for Pikachu over and over. I handed out card after card while fabricating laughter to stroke the egos of unfunny jesters (I am not kidding their jokes were terrible). When we were finally escorted to our tables I shuffled through the dining area and to recycle a metaphor choked on nostalgia as I searched for a table like a freshmen in a high school cafeteria. I couldn’t sit with the government officials they were too corrupt and important, couldn’t sit with the hotel owners they were too rich and important, couldn’t sit with the successful local business owners they were…well…you get the idea. I eventually settled at a table with people who worked in healthcare. The small talk fluttered and I got drunker and somehow the topic fluctuated to literature and I unleashed a slew of opinions on the modern state of books and writers. I recall stating,
“Sartre was great. He didn’t correspond in bullshit. I feel we bullshit too much. Why can’t small talk be more interesting?”
Resulting scowls greeted my drunken rant. I was then isolated from future discussions, perhaps labeled a snob or even greater insane. I did intrigue one person at the table, though. To save their reputation I won’t disclose who but we finalized our night with a promise to give each other business. Granted we were both the most intoxicated at the table and found this to be a bonding circumstance. Perhaps that’s what small talk provides, a social adhesive that bonds the absurd meanderings of everyday occurrence to a stranger’s throat, lips and ears. Whatever the purpose I am now one of them, I have become the everyday stranger, a young entrepreneur but inside my soul I’ll always remain…a quasi-communist.