Thursday, September 12, 2013

The Art of Language.. and Murder

Disclaimer: These are dark, comedic thoughts I have on a daily basis. I am a writer and an artist, and I have a very dry sense of humor. I express my feelings through art. I am in no way promoting or glorifying murder. Murder is bad. I don't like murder. Okay? No murder here.

"So, what do you do?"
How come every time I go to a social event, I am asked this question first? Why is it even on the list of popular questions to open a conversation with? It's usually in the top three, and it's annoying as hell.

When I am asked, "What do you do?", I automatically interpret that I'm being asked, "How much money do you make and how do you make it?" in a more summarized and polite manner. This is not really a polite question. It's personal and can get very complicated depending on who you're talking to. It's also an assumption that everyone's on the same page in the manner that we're cooperating citizens of society. What if you're talking to an assassin? How do you know the guy petting the puppy dog at the party isn't a hired killer? How do you know I'm not a sociopathic, sick freak who makes her money selling bulimic porn? Maybe I don't want you to know how much I'm worth or how I obtain the money that I have.
Of course I shouldn't assume that is the question. "What do you do?" could mean something else.. like "What are your favorite things to do?" But if it was, wouldn't the person ask, "What do you like to do?" Or even, "What are you interested in?" And if it just means, "What do you do, but not make money at?" Aren't they eventually going to tell me I should try to make money at this thing that I do?

So back to square one.. If "What do you do?" does indeed mean "What are you worth, and what is your career path?", then I am kind of insulted. Number one: this is a very popular question, so that tells me many, many people are interested in the answer. And that means the majority of people are focused on status and wealth, thus tossing their souls into the nearest trash bin and becoming empty headed zombies. We are now surrounded by scary zombies. Number two: it implies that you are what you do for a living. And if this is the case, does that mean that someone over 40 and working at Kentucky Fried Chicken is a worthless, uneducated human being? Maybe they have a bachelor's degree in Environmental Biology, yet they're stuck in the most economically depressed place in Kentucky taking care of their sick mother? And if we all decide it does make them a loser, then we begin to judge people and create stereotypes based on financial status and employment decisions. An accountant becomes a conservative, financially stable bore, and a filmmaker becomes a self-absorbed, over-privileged jerk. Every insurance salesman is now a malicious, inhumane asshole, and people who make natural, chemical free lotions are unshaven, stinky hippies. When you think about it, we're very mean and impulsively judgmental. 

I have been guilty of doing this myself, and I should work on changing my obscene behavior. It has made me a classist. I regularly feel disgust when meeting privileged or wealthy people, because I assume they're selfish and have ulterior motives. I don't want to feel this way, because it just makes me a repressed killer who hasn't crossed a boundary yet. What if this tension bursts one day and I become a serial murderer of wealthy people? I already have an intoxicating fantasy of being at a fancy Hollywood party, in a pool, shooting screaming people until blood fills the water and then doing sexual things while I watch the horror. That can't be normal.

This question is never going to go away though, so the next best thing to do is to answer it in another manner. "What do you do?" "I talk to spiritual entities", I might say. Because I do. Or "I occasionally steal copper pipes out of abandoned buildings when I need some extra cash." Because that is something I have done several times before. So I'm answering the question correctly. I'm not doing it to shock anyone. I'm doing it because I don't really want to talk about my finances or the fact that I don't give two shits about a job. And I don't really want to murder people in a pool.

This is the only question I find ridiculous. I can handle all the other small talk questions; "Are you single?", "How long have you lived here?" and so on. Those are fine. Not intrusive, not rude. But that horrible "What do you do?" makes me feel like thick legged spiders are jumping and crawling all over me. This is because it forces me to view the person asking in a completely new way. I see wires coming out of their morphing and balding head that's half machine, half human. They change into a cyborg from Star Trek right in front of my eyes. They blend with that giant mob of moving meat and metal that shares all its thoughts. It's creepy.